Continuing on from trying to have less plastic in the house, well at least trying no to buy any more, I gave homemade beeswax wraps a try.
You-tube makes it look simple.
The way I did it was not simple. Maybe it was the muslin wraps rather than tighter weave cotton material, maybe it was the cold night air, maybe it was the paint brush, maybe it was the bickering in the background. Either way it took me over an hour to beeswax 4 sandwich sized wraps (30 cm x 30 cm) and one small wrap (about 15 cm x 15 cm).
Oh. My. Goodness.
Trying to make the wax easier to melt by grating it. Such a hard job by hand so try the electric grater/mixer. Or don't. The wax wont come off the grater/mixer. You have now lost the ability to use that kitchen appliance, unless you are making more grated beeswax.
So how did I go about making the wraps? After some research online I followed the most common method... I melted the beeswax initially in a metal bowl over a pot of boiling water, used a paintbrush to put it on the fabric (which was on an oven tray), then had to put it in the oven so the beeswax was more evenly spread. Frustrating. I tried pouring the wax onto the fabric. Disaster. Checking that the beeswax covered all of the fabric was time consuming and I had to paint a few times to ensure it was all covered, plus the fabric moves all over the tray when I am trying to spread the beeswax with the paintbrush.
Myth or Fact?
When you are told wax gets everywhere and you will not be able to use the utensils again, correct. No more oven tray and silicone sheet for my biscuits. The old metal dog bowl I used to melt the wax... un-usable.
Does the beeswax burn when you pick the newly wet wrap up from the tray? Yep, I have sore thumbs and fore fingers from trying to pick it up without dropping the wraps on the floor.
Wax cannot be removed from anything. False. I had some drops on my oven top. I was able to remove the spots with eucalyptus oil and a little bit of heat.
Bees-waxing is not as easy as it looks.. Gah!
UPDATE: SO I went looking in my pile of donations and found some cotton shorts, cut them up and gave them a go with the beeswax... I had nothing to lose, right? So. Much. Easier! The fabric makes a difference! And the wraps are pliable and thinner and great. Less beeswax was used too. I now have a much smaller donation pile.
And whats this melting in a pot on a double boiler then putting in the oven fiasco? Just put the cloth on the oven tray, sprinkle the grated beeswax onto the fabric, trying to keep the spread even, pop in warm oven (about 160 Celsius) once it looks all melted, pull it out and use the paintbrush to move beeswax to where it is needed. You still burn your fingers to get the drying/cooling part going but much easier and quicker to harden than the muslin cloth.
So I also got the first beeswax wraps, cut them up and popped them in the oven, and scraped as much of the beeswax as I could off and put the far superior cotton fabric onto the melted beeswax to make new wraps.
Note- I did try a flannelette square, however it used more beeswax, and it a little thicker than the cotton fabric squares.
What to do with the muslin wraps I had cut up for the beeswax wraps? I sewed 2 of the same size together and will be using them as tea towels, dish washing cloths, wipes, spill cleaner uppers and then washing them to use again.
All the off-cuts from the pants and the muslin wraps I have popped into a square cushion insert and am using it as a cushion. NO WASTE. Yeah!