As a grad student, I have very little expendable income for things like presents around the holidays. This Christmas, I wanted to 1) give gifts that folks might actually use, 2) save money, and 3) go zero waste! Enter: homemade beeswax wraps. These are meant to replace anything you would normally use cling-wrap for (booo single use plastic). FYI -- in stores, three of these wraps will set you back $20 or more. You can make them yourself for about $1 each!
- 100% cotton fabric. I highly recommend going to check out your local thrift store's selection of sheets and shirts. I purchased all of my fabric at the thift store for $4, which provided me with material for about 35 wraps (!!). Aloha shirts are a great choice if you want unique patterns!
- Beeswax pellets. You can buy pellets online or at your local health foods/bulk store.
- Paint brush you don't care about. Gotta spread the wax somehow...
- Baking sheet. Know that it might get some wax on it, which you can always scrape off. But you could also make this your new crafting baking sheet!
- Aluminum foil
1. Cut your fabric! I made squares that were 8x8", 10x10", and 12x12". I made a few that were larger, but they seemed just too big. Unless you'll be covering a lot of big bowls, those first three will do you just fine. Some people recommend pinking shears, which will help prevent fraying.
2. Preheat your oven to 200F. If you have an electric stove, I also recommend turning on one of your large burners on low.
3. Lay a piece of aluminum foil on your baking sheet. Then place one of your cloth squares pattern side down on the sheet. Liberally sprinkle beeswax pellets across the entire thing. Don't skimp! For large pieces of fabric, I "accordion-folded" the fabric so it would fit on the sheet.
4. Put in the oven for about 5-10 min. Check regularly -- when the beeswax pellets are melted, pull the sheet out.
5. Spread the beeswax around using your paintbrush. This is where having an electric stove will help -- keeping the sheet on a burner turned on low will keep the beeswax melted while you work on spreading it.
6. Add more beeswax to areas that aren't completely covered (often the edges), or re-accordion fold the fabric if you're working with a large piece of fabric so that you can cover the entire thing. Repeat the process of melting and spreading.
7. When you're happy with your wrap square, carefully pick up the square with tongs. The beeswax will be just warm to the touch within just 5-10 seconds. You can then leave it on a flat surface for another 30 seconds to completely cool.
8. Check to make sure the beeswax has completely filled the fabric by holding up the square to the light. If you can see holes, you should add more wax.
9. Trim any loose threads or fix your edges if you need to.
10. Onto your next wrap! You can use the same aluminum foil sheet for as many wraps as you are making with no problems.
11. To use: Mold the wrap over the object you're covering and use your body heat to just slightly melt the wax so that it sticks to itself. To clean, hand wash with cool soapy water. They should last you for a long time!