You can find them nearly in every shop now and there are many DIY videos on YouTube: Beeswax wrapping paper. The pretty alternative to the sandwich paper - does anybody use that? I always had a box for my sandwiches, since kindergarten. The good thing about the paper is, that it is space-saving and lighter than a box. This makes it perfect for longer hikes. Therefore, I also wanted to try to make my own, after buying some and also getting self-made versions as a present. I wanted to know how easy it is and how well they work: Spoiler alert: super easy!
Another big advantage of doing it yourself is, that you can select the fabric yourself. Thereby the end product is very personal and maybe you don't lose it as fast. When you select the fabric, go for 100% cotton. Linen also works, but you need to work in the wax way more than with cotton because of the structure.
More complicated is to find the beeswax from a responsible source. You can find it online super quickly, but you don't know how the beekeeper handles the bees. I was lucky and found a local source super close to Stockholm. With the supplier so close, this project became zero waste, local and up-cycling. The fabric I used were left-overs from sewing. The ones that you don't wanna throw away because they are too big but at the same time you have no idea what to do with them.
You need an iron, ironing surface, fabric, beeswax and baking paper.
In case you cut the baking paper yourself, be generous. The wax flows everywhere when it is heated, like glue. Then you can start with ironing the fabric and cutting it into the pieces you would like to have. I took a piece of paper in DIN A4 as a base and also cut circles to wrap or cover other things, such as tomatoes or glasses and bowls.
I bought the wax in a big piece, it is quite easy to handle. Just take a cheese slicer for making pieces, then you don't have to buy the more expensive perls. The perls are of course more handy, especially when you do this project e.g. on a child's birthday party.
Now the instructions:
- Place the fabric on top of a baking sheet and add some beeswax on the fabric.
- Place a second layer of baking paper on top and start to iron. Put the iron on middle heat to melt the wax.
- Keep track while you iron, so that wax is getting everywhere on the fabric and as soon as you have the whole fabric covered, start to press the excess wax to the sides.
- You can lift the baking paper in between to add more wax.
- When you think you are done, let it cool down shortly (body temperature) and then detach the fabric from the baking paper and leave it to dry.
- After 5-10 minutes it should be dry. When you see white dots, put it back between the papers and start ironing again. White dots are a sign for too much wax on the fabric. The fabric cannot absorb all the wax and the excess wax needs to be pushed off.
On the left you can see my wrapping papers for drying. After starting I couldn't stop and made a lot! I think I will give them away as gifts. It is a very meditative project: listening to an audio book and ironing.
As you can see, I made different sizes. The small pink squares are for mugs, when I put them in the fridge or for a left-over cucumber. The big blue circle is for a bowl, when I have left-overs. The one with the flower is my favourite. It is a old pillow case form a friend and has the perfect size now for sandwiches when I go on hiking trips.
After some time of use you will see that the paper isn't that smooth anymore and you can see where you folded the paper. When this happens, just start ironing them again. The wax will become warm and liquid again and will afterwards be evenly distributed again. Later on you also need to add new wax. I clean my wrappers only with warm water and don't use dish soap. I don't know how the wax and the dish soap reacts and most of the times there are just crumbles on the paper.
Compared to the ones made from the industry I cannot see so much difference. The wrappings I bought are a little better in staying attached to the bowl, but I do not mind that and for the wrapping it is the same. If you like, you can also add a string and a button to yours to keep whatever you wrap super-closed and safe.