Making your own re-usable food wraps with beeswax

This week, Jill Washburn, our Jill of All Trades, shows us how to make all-natural re-usable food wraps that can help you cut down on the amount of plastic wrap you use in your house.

You will need some cotton fabric, some beeswax, some parchment paper, an iron, and an ironing board. 

The cotton fabric can be from an old T-shirt, or it can be woven, like something you might use for a quilt. It just has to be 100% cotton. You can cut the fabric into whatever sizes or shapes that you prefer. Jill made one piece that was on the larger size, specifically to cover an especially large bowl she has that is difficult to cover.

Jill says, the wax has to be beeswax, not paraffin. Beeswax is edible, so it's safe to use around food. It is also naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal.  

You can find beeswax in bar form or in small pellets. If you buy the bars, you will then have to finely chop it or use a cheese grater to kind of shred it into small enough pieces. Jill chose the pellets to make the process easier.

Once you've assembled the materials and pre-heated your iron, the rest of the process is pretty simple and quick.  

Lay some parchment paper out on your ironing board and then place your fabric on top of it. Sprinkle your wax pieces across the fabric and cover with another piece of parchment paper. Then just iron the top of the stack.  

Jill found that using a, kind of, patting motion with your iron works best, initially. You'll be able to see the wax liquefying through the parchment paper. Once it does, you'll be able to move the iron around a bit to spread the wax across the entire piece.  

Jill says to make sure that you spread it all the way to the edges. If you peek at the fabric, it should all look like it is wet. You'll be able to tell if you missed some spots. Even when it dries, it will maintain that wet look.

Once you have the wax spread across the entire piece, you are done. You'll only have to iron one side. The heat drives the wax into the fabric, so there's no need to do the other side.  

If the wax is easily visible, you may have a little too much. Jill advises that you can always lay some brown paper or a paper towel over the fabric, replace the parchment paper and quickly iron again, so that the paper soaks up some of the excess wax. Then, peel back the top layer of parchment and let it cool for about a minute. You are done!

Jill uses wraps these to cover bowls or platters for the fridge, wrap sandwiches for lunchboxes, etc. They will last for many uses.

To clean the wraps, just wipe them with a damp cloth and then a dry one. If they are especially sloppy (from sauces or mayo or the like), you may prefer to wipe them with a soapy cloth, then rinse them and wipe dry. If they lose some of their wax over time, Jill says that you can just iron more wax into them by repeating the process above.


To watch Jill take you through the process, click on the video player above.