I first encountered beeswax wrap at a farmer’s market in Australia last December. The bee farmer from Dorrigo had a stand selling honey and homemade beeswax wrap, and I was immediately sold by the idea of a cling wrap that is not plastic. It seemed like a novel idea at that point in time, but beeswax wrap has since become one of the must-haves in the kitchens of the eco-conscious. Apart from the downside that they are non-microwaveable, I absolutely adore them. They smell so yummy! On top of being environmentally friendly, do you know that they have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties to keep your food fresh for a longer time?
It’s hard to find prints that I really like though, so when I visited Tokyo last spring, I decided to hunt for some cloth in Nippori, famous as the city’s fabric town, to make the wraps myself. It turns out that beeswax wraps are really easy to make. In fact, as easy as 1-2-3!
Now, if you are not up for making beeswax wraps yourself, you can consider buying them from NewNorm.
What you need
100% cotton fabric
Beeswax mixed with jojoba oil and resin
(not very common in Singapore, but I got mine from Minimakers)
Pinking shear, baking paper, iron, knife/cheese grater
A search on Google will tell you a few different ways to make beeswax wraps. One of the most common ones is to bake them in the oven. That method appears a tad messy to me, so I decided to go with ironing, which seems much simpler and neater.
Step One: Cut fabric into desired shape and size
First off, cut your washed fabric into your desired shape and size. A pro tip: washing your fabric beforehand will ensure it’s clean and remove any unwanted impurities that have stained your cloth. You can customise it to the bowls or kitchenware that you use most by tracing the fabric against them. I personally find square-shaped wraps easier to work with than round ones, although both are equally popular shapes. With square wraps, you can fold them into sandwich wraps too, so it’s kind of multi-use.
One thing to note when making your beeswax wrap, is to pink the edge of your fabric such that it will not fray. Add a pinking shear into your sewing toolbox if you don’t have one, it’s a valuable addition and you will thank it later.
Step Two: Line fabric with beeswax mix
Once you have your fabric, you are ready to get your hands dirty! Pick up the beeswax bar and grate them into smaller pieces. Alternatively, you could chop the beeswax until fine, but that takes up a little more time and effort. Please note that your cheese grater and knife might get a little waxy after this. Wash with hot water after to remove the wax.
If you are using beeswax beads or pellets, good for you, you may skip this portion and go right into coating the cloth!
Sprinkle the beeswax onto the fabric you have cut out evenly. It does not necessarily have to cover the entire surface area, but as much as possible, keep them evenly spread out.
Step Three: Turn the heat up and start ironing!
Now, line your ironing board with a piece of baking paper, then lay the beeswax-covered fabric on top of it, before resting another piece of baking paper over it. Make sure that the baking papers are bigger than the fabric you are working on. Otherwise, if your iron glides over the beeswax, it will cause a mess.
When you are ready, simply turn up the heat of your iron and get ironing! I use the cotton setting.
From the center of the fabric, iron outwards and then go back and forth a few times. The heat melts the beeswax and the cotton fabric absorbs the wax immediately. The baking paper on top could turn a little more transparent with this, and you can sort of see how well you are ironing out the beeswax. As much as you can, spread the beeswax evenly to coat the whole fabric.
Once you have a good feeling about it, remove the top paper and check if you are happy with your wrap. Add more beeswax if you think it needs more. If you find that the beeswax was too much, put a second cloth over and repeat the ironing process with the baking paper to have the second cloth absorb the excess wax.
And you’re done!