DIY Beeswax Wrap Is a Dinner Party Game-Changer

Something I learned early on is that the zero in zero-waste shouldnt be taken literally, explainsJulia Watkins, author of the upcoming book Simply Living Wellanda total pro on the art of paring back. She started her new lifestyle four years ago, after reading Bea Johnsons Zero Waste Home. Trying to do it with a family can be challenging. I had to balance our well-being with my environmental values.

Its small swaps like the ones she documents in Simply Living Well that shes found to be the most useful. While flipping through the pages, we found one such idea were bookmarking to help us in our quest to cut back on kitchen plastic. Three words: DIY. Beeswax. Wraps.

The idea for these cloth container covers came about when Watkins was brainstorming practical gift ideas for her mother-in-law. For any meal prepper (or midnight stress-baker), theyre a lifesaver: Not only do they effectively eliminate the need for plastic wrap or tin foil, but they can dramatically reduce the clutter in your Tupperware cupboard. Just keep your leftovers in the serving dish, and pop one of these over the rim.

While you could buy pre-made beeswax wraps, this project gives you complete creative control over color and patterntheyll be front and center in your fridge, after all. Plus, if you have excess fabric laying around, its the perfect way to use it up.

Watkins book doesnt come out till April 7 (pre-order it now), but we got the scoop on how to make these wrappers early, just in time for spring dinner parties. (Theyre ideal for protecting your dishes before guests arrive, as well as for sending extras home with them, the ultimate thanks-for-coming gift.)

Julia Watkins in a yard
Photography by Julia Watkins

The Supplies:

  • 100-percent cotton fabric (this DIY makes three different-sized wraps, so youll need enough for one 88 square, one 1111 square, and one 1414 square)
  • Iron
  • Scissors or pinking shears
  • Measuring tape
  • powdered pine resin
  • cup grated beeswax
  • 4 tsp. Jojoba oil
  • Paintbrush
  • Baking sheet
  • Compostable parchment paper
  • Kitchen tongs
  • Used newspapers
  • Clothespins and clothes drying rack

Step 1: Do the Prep Work

Wash, dry, and iron the fabric. Cut out the three different-sized squares; for a neat edge (and to prevent fraying) you can use pinking shears in lieu of scissors, but its not necessary. Preheat the oven to 225F.

Step 2: Mix it Up

In a bowl, combine the pine resin, beeswax, and jojoba oil.

Step 3: Lay out the Goods

Line a baking sheet with the parchment paper, and place one fabric square on it. Sprinkle about one-third of the wax mixture evenly all over the fabric. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the topping has melted.

Step 4: Brush it Out

Remove the sheet from the oven and smooth the existing beeswax mixture evenly over the fabric. (It will stick to the brush, so be sure to use something you dont mind reserving for future beeswax projects.) Pop it back in the oven for a couple of minutes, to allow the wax to melt evenly.

Step 5: Let it Cool

Take the tray out of the oven. Lift the fabric with kitchen tongs, and allow excess beeswax to drip onto the parchment paper. With newspapers underneath to catch any droppings, use clothespins to hang the wrap on the drying rack to dry and cool. Repeat this process with the remaining squares.

To Use:

With the pressure and warmth of your hands, mold the wrap around food and containers. To clean, hand-wash in cold water with mild soap; hang over a dish rack to dry. Once the wraps are worn out, make a new set and toss the old ones in the compost heap. But first, shop our favorite fabrics:

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