DIY Wax Wraps Tutorial
Posted on: 23rd Jan 2020
We always love to hear what our customers are going to be making with the fabric they purchase from us, and we’re often surprised and delighted with the answers! And in the last few months, one idea seems to be cropping up more and more: Homemade wax wraps.
As we enter a more eco-conscious era, it’s no surprise that people are seeking alternatives to quick fix solutions that damage our planet. In this case, wax wraps are a fantastic replacement for the plastic cling film and aluminium tin foil which we usually use to store and preserve foodstuffs. Most commonly it’s beeswax which is used, but for a vegan alternative soy wax is just as effective. Not only eco-friendly, the added benefits of wax wraps are that they’re hardy and reusable along with being waterproof and super easy to clean, plus using just the warmth of your hands they mould to fit the shape of whatever you need to wrap, stiffening again at room temperature.
Now the first thing you need to know about wax wraps is that it’s imperative to use 100% cotton fabric, as no other material will absorb the wax as well. So make sure you haven’t got yourselves a polycotton! We have loads of lovely 100% cotton fabrics here at Ditto, and for this tutorial we’ve selected our beautiful bee print navy cotton to keep with the theme. As the end product will be used around food, it’s best to pre-wash your cotton, just to make sure it’s free of any residual coatings or ink.
Cut your cotton into the shapes and sizes you desire. Why not try experimenting with different options, perhaps one to fit a casserole dish, a few to fit some jam jars, and one or two to wrap up fruit and vegetables? You can also save the cutting out until after the waxing process if you’d prefer, which might make it a little easier as the cotton will be stiffer. In terms of cutting, it’s best to use pinking shears to create a neat finish, although not essential. The hems can be left raw as the wax will prevent the cotton from fraying.
Now for the fun part! You can wax your cotton either by using an iron or by popping your fabric in the oven for a couple of minutes. For the iron method, place a large piece of baking parchment or greaseproof paper on your board, and lay your cotton on top. Then, liberally sprinkle a handful of either beeswax or soya wax pellets across the surface (these pellets can easily be sourced online or from local health and wellbeing or craft shops. You can also use bars of wax which can be grated.)
Place another piece of parchment or paper on top of the cotton and with your iron on a high heat, slowly pass it across the paper, until all of the wax pellets have melted in. For the oven method, place the cotton on parchment / paper and onto a baking tray, sprinkle with wax and leave in the oven on a low to medium heat until all the wax has melted in. For both methods, use a small paintbrush to spread out the melted wax to make sure the cotton is evenly coated.
In the oven the pellets should melt evenly and simultaneously, but with an iron you can have more control and precision over areas that may need extra attention. Make sure not to overdo it with the wax! It’s easy to add more, but it’s a little tricky to remove some once it’s already soaked in. However if you need to do this, simply replace the paper and keep ironing, pressing and pushing the wax to the edges whilst doing so. Too much wax can make the fabric flaky and crumbly which we definitely do not want around food.
Once your cotton is fully impregnated with wax, make sure to peel it from the paper while it’s still warm. This way you’ll ensure the wax stays in the cotton and doesn’t soak through and harden onto the paper. Then you can either waft your wraps dry, which should only take a few seconds, or hang them. Once dry, voila! You’ve made your own wax wraps. They can now be moulded to fit any shape and keep your foodstuffs fresh in an eco-friendly way! To keep them clean, wash with cool soapy water when necessary, being sure not to apply too much heat in a way that could dislodge the wax. If this occurs, simply repeat the simple process of waxing with either oven or iron, and they’ll be good as new.