How To Make Beeswax Wrap For A Low-Waste Kitchen
Your zero-waste alternative to Ziploc bags
Beeswax is a versatile and naturally occurring material that’s easy to use for health and homemade products. As it goes for so many make-at-home projects, handcrafted beeswax wraps are a great introduction to making more of your own household items.
If you’re not familiar with beeswax wraps, they are a reusable alternative to single-use plastic. You can use them to preserve food, and, unlike plastic, they can be washed and reused, saving you money and your health, as they doesn’t contain the harmful hormone disruptor (BPA) that plastic does.
Even though it’s simple, making beeswax wraps isn’t a done-in-minutes kind of project. It takes patience, time, and effort to complete—but hey, that’s a good thing! Choosing to spend time working with your hands offers a break from screens and a chance to soak up the endless benefits that come from making something from scratch. In this case, you’ll get to roll up your sleeves and use leftover fabric to create a useful and sustainable product.
What You’ll Need
12-inch x 12-inch piece of old fabric or cloth—just big enough to fit a sandwich or wrap. Other versatile sizes include 8-inch x 8-inch and 6-inch x 6-inch. Use scraps that aren’t too worn out or too thick—about the thickness of a light dishtowel will do. For those who want to get creative and have fun with it, choose fabric with colors and patterns you love.
1.3-1.5 lbs of beeswax pastilles (or a solid block)
Baking pan (not a sheet!)
Kitchen scale for measuring the beeswax
Optional: gardening gloves, basting brush to spread the wax
How to Make Beeswax Wrap
Prep your space by covering the area with old newspapers, rags, or paper towels. Set the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit (250 degrees max), line a baking pan with parchment paper, and lay the fabric on top.
If you don’t have pastilles, you’ll have to grate your beeswax by hand—it will take about 15 to 20 minutes (as a bonus, you’ll feel the burn in those biceps!). Sprinkle half the beeswax evenly over one side and put it in the oven for five to seven minutes. After it has completely melted, take it out of the oven, flip the parchment paper over, and repeat the process, making sure to get the edges and corners.
After you’ve completed those steps, put on your gloves and carefully pick up the corners, allowing any excess wax to drip off. Turn it upside and do the same thing again, until it looks even.
Immediately hang it over a shower rod so the cloth can absorb the wax and dry out completely. While the wax may harden within 10 minutes, it’s a good idea to let it sit out overnight.
When you’re ready to use, with the heat of your hands, firmly press the beeswax and mold it over the surface you are covering so it holds. The layer of beeswax makes the cloth waterproof, but it will melt off in hot water. Only wash with lukewarm water and a gentle, botanical-based soap.
Use the beeswax wrap to keep fruits and veggies fresh, or in place of a plastic bag or wrap for sandwiches. Got leftovers? It can also fit over the rim of a bowl in place of cling wrap or foil.
After some time, the beeswax might start to become flakey—this is normal. Simply brush off any waxy remnants and continue to use them as desired.
Want to learn more about zero-waste living? Check out our guide for zero-waste household essentials.
Based in the beautiful city of Portland, Maine, Katherine Oakes Englishman is a writer and yoga teacher with a passion for empowering others to live a more conscious and connected life. She is a contributing writer for The Good Trade, Wayward Collective and pens articles on outdoor travel as the East Coast correspondent at Bearfoot Theory; Katherine is also the former web editor of Pure Green Magazine. Offline, you can find her on a yoga mat or in pursuit of adventure in the wilds of Maine and the neighboring White Mountains.