Wax wraps are great. They help reduce plastic like cling film, ziplock bags and produce bags, they’re pretty simple to make and can be composted at the end of their useful life. So much winning! I usually refresh my wraps every 6 months and usually get about 12-18 months of use out of a wrap before it’s time to bid them farewell and feed them to the worms. You can tell when they’re getting close to death because they stop taking on the wax when you refresh them.
This batch of wraps are about a year old and you can see there are patches where the wax is starting to crack and flake, so I’m just refreshing this batch so that they work like new again! The only difference between making them from scratch and refreshing them is how much of the wax mixture you’ll need. The ingredients listed below will refresh 4-5 wraps or make one large wrap from scratch.
The ingredients are simple: beeswax, pine resin and jojoba oil. I will run out of beeswax soon so over the next year I’ll be transitioning to a vegan alternative using candalilla wax instead. I’ll create a separate post for the vegan ones when I start making them. For now, let’s focus on the beeswax version...
1 heaped tblsp beeswax
1 heaped tblsp pine resin
1 tsp jojoba oil
Other things you’ll need:
Cotton squares (or rectangles) - you can use pinking shears on the edges to reduce fraying
A saucepan to melt the wax in + one to use as a water bath
A baking tray
Some bench space for working
Some space for drying (either hanging or draping)
Melt all the ingredients together in a pan using a water bath. Worth noting: The resin takes longer to melt than the wax so be patient! I have sacrificed this old saucepan to the cause so it always has this mixture in it. The pan was already destroyed and the mixture is really hard to clean off!
Once melted turn off the heat and work quickly to brush the mixture onto your material - try to apply it evenly and cover all the fabric without it getting too thick in any sections.
Place the wrap on your baking tray and pop it in a moderately hot oven (around 180C) for about 5 minutes. You can add multiple wraps on top of each other so that one can absorb the excess wax from another - keep an eye out for patches without enough wax in them or sections with thicker blobs - the thicker blobs will crack too easily so leave them in the oven with another wrap to absorb the excess
Remove one wrap at a time and give it a gentle shake - I usually hold onto a corner and gently wave it side to side like a flag The gentle breeze starts to solidify the wax and you’ll see the material change appearance from looking really slick and wet to looking a little dryer and waxier.
When that shiny liquidy look has disappeared (usually only takes 10-15 seconds) I hang/drape the wrap over something eg back of a dining chair, or I spread them out on the kitchen bench in folded over horseshoe shapes.
After about 10 minutes the wraps should have dried and cooled down and you can fold them up and put them away.
Do a victory lap of the kitchen, you just made wax wraps and you deserve to celebrate!