Minimalism, Zero Waste Living

A Comprehensive DIY Beeswax Wraps & Use Guide

Beeswax wraps are becoming a popular kitchen item these days. Whether you’re looking to reduce single-use food wraps, reduce plastic, save some money, or create a minimal kitchen, beeswax wraps are a great alternative. They also make great gifts!

This guide walks through exactly how to make your own, provides a trouble shooting guide, and includes FAQs for making the wraps and just for general use!

Before we dive in, let’s take a quick look at what exactly they are and why they are a good option to use.

What are beeswax wraps and why use them?

Beeswax wraps are fabric coated with beeswax (and often other materials) that are a reusable replacement for plastic cling wrap and/or tin foil. Beeswax wraps can be used as covers for containers, cheese wraps, or to wrap around vegetables and fruit to keep the items fresh. You can also fold them in ways to make snack bags. 

With proper care, beeswax wraps can last 8 – 12 months, and can be ‘refreshed’ for continuous use. On the other hand, plastic cling wrap and tin foil are single-use items. While both items can be recycled, the manufacturing and recycling process still takes more resources than the beeswax wraps would. 

On a personal level, we have a handful of beeswax wraps for all our food needs. They take up a small amount of storage space. To contrast that, we used to have to store a box of tin foil and a box of plastic wrap. We would have to keep track of our stock and it was one more thing to add to our grocery list or Target run list. Additionally, we were spending money every couple of months to replenish. 


Related post: Plastic Is Not The Enemy. Our Mindset Is.

How to use beeswax wraps

Beeswax wraps are super easy to use. Simply take the wrap and put it over your container. Let the heat from your hands warm up the wax on the wrap, which allows you to shape the wrap over the container, and provides a slight seal. That’s it!

Ingredient Spotlight

  • Local beeswax: You may have heard that bees are in trouble, which is bad news bears for us humans, because bees are responsible for most of our plant and flower production. Because of that, I think it’s super important to support local bee farms which not only invests money back into your local community, but it also helps support your local bees! Plus, by buying local, you’re reducing the amount of emissions due to shipping. If you’re in Minnesota, I would suggest checking out Ames Bee Farm, which is where I got the beeswax for my wraps. 

  • Why use jojoba oil in beeswax wraps?: Jojoba oil is reported to have antimicrobial and antifungal/insecticidal properties which is a bonus when you’re using your wraps for food! (source). Jojoba oil is also pliable and soft when cool, which is another important feature for your beeswax wraps to be able to wrap around a container. It also is a smooth oil which helps when spreading the wax/oil mixture on the fabric. I bought mine on Amazon, but you may be able to find it at local co-ops.  

  • Pine resin: Pine resin is what gives the wraps the tackiness needed to stick to a container to seal. You can omit this ingredient, however, you will likely need a rubber band to wrap around the beeswax wrap to keep it in place. I got  pine resin on Amazon, but you can also get it on Etsy

Here’s the full list of what you’ll need to make beeswax wraps:

Makes two 12”x12” wraps. The measurements for ingredients are just a suggestion and what I used. If you need or want to adjust, feel free to do so. My inspiration came from this guide. If you don’t want to buy some of the ingredients individually, you can buy a beeswax wrap making kit here. 

  • fabric (100% organic cotton, hemp, or linen is preferable, however, can use any type of cotton, linen, or hemp fabric – t-shirt, tablecloth, cloth napkins, etc. Key is to choose a thin fabric but not see-through)
  • scissors (pinking shears to prevent fraying, otherwise a fabric-sharp scissors)
  • cheese grater if not buying beeswax pellets (use only for this purpose)
  • double broiler or a bowl on top of a saucepan (pan/bowl for ingredients only used for this purpose)
  • ruler or measuring tape
  • 2.5 tsp food grade pine rosin
  • ⅛ cup (heaping) beeswax (preferably local, pellets for quicker DIYing)
  • 1 tbsp jojoba oil (preferable organic)
  • Mixing spoon (use only for this purpose)
  • painting sponge (use only for this purpose)
  • baking sheet
  • parchment paper (compostable certified so you can compost it afterwards)
  • cooling rack

DIY Beeswax Wrap Instructions:

Pick out the fabric you’re going to use and wash. 100% cotton, linen or hemp will work best. You want the fabric to be thin but not sheer or see through. 

Cut the fabric into the size wraps you want. I did 12 inches by 12 inches and 8 inches by 8 inches. Using a pinking shears will help prevent fraying. I didn’t have one, so just used a normal scissors. 

Grate your beeswax (if needed). 

Set up your double broiler or pan with a bowl on top (see photo). Put water in the bottom pan, and bring to a boil. Place second pan or bowl on top. 

Add in the beeswax, pine rosin, and jojoba oil to the top part of the double broiler. Mix ingredients together. 

Let melt together for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

While the ingredients are melting together, set oven to 300 degrees F

Prep your baking sheet by covering it with parchment paper (make sure the parchment is bigger than the size of your wraps. 

Tip: Look for compostable-certified parchment paper

Place your first piece of fabric on the baking sheet/parchment. 

Set up your cooling rack (I put a piece of parchment under mine but didn’t really need it).

Once the 30 minutes have past and the ingredients are mixed together, turn off the burner and take your painting sponge and dip it lightly into the beeswax mixture. 

Lightly coat the fabric (both sides) with the beeswax until the fabric looks coated throughout. It will start to dry fairly quickly and is OK if the mixture is a bit uneven. You can redistribute later. Be careful not to over-saturate the fabric. 

Put the fabric wrap/baking sheet into the oven for two minutes. 

After two minutes is up, take the baking sheet back out, and use your painting sponge to redistribute any of the beeswax mixture. Check for any spots that appear to be ‘dry’ and add more if needed (you’ll be able to notice the difference in fabric coloring where the mixture is/isn’t). 

Carefully grab the wrap and place it on the cooling rack. Mine took about 5-10 minutes to dry on the cooling rack enough where I could place them somewhere else (I draped mine over a chair) to completely cool. 

Repeat steps for any remaining mixture. 

Related post: 11 Ways Minimalism and Zero Waste Living Are The Same

Things I learned/Troubleshooting guide:

  • Beeswax mixture coloring: The color of the beeswax mixture while you’re heating it on your double broiler will turn a golden color. 
    • This coloring DID transfer over to the fabric. It wasn’t enough to completely throw off the fabric colors, but it did give a golden hue, and darkened lighter color fabrics. 

  • Pine resin: My pine resin didn’t fully ‘mix in’ when I ‘cooked’ the ingredients together. I had a few clumps that just hung out at the bottom of the pan no matter how hard I tried to redistribute them. 

  • Fabrics: Some fabrics, even after washing, bled. Not only did the bleeding distribute through the fabric, but it also came off on the baking sheet (I was reusing the parchment for as long as I could) and ultimately got onto another piece of fabric. It likely wouldn’t have been an issue except I had a couple of white background fabrics. I would recommend saving the white colored fabrics for when you have a new piece of parchment to prevent bleeding. 

Note: The dye bled on this piece of fabric, even after washing.
  • Too much beeswax mixture: I ended up putting too much beeswax mixture onto my fabrics the first time around. I let them dry for a couple of hours and realized they were too waxy/sticky. I reheated the wraps in the oven for a couple of minutes so I could dab some of the extra with my painting sponge. This worked! 

  • Not enough beeswax mixture: I was constantly checking the dried beeswax wraps to see if I had enough beeswax mixture or not enough. I did find a couple spots where I didn’t put enough. It was easy enough to just add a little extra with my painting sponge. If I had a lot of spots on a particular piece of fabric, I put it back in the oven to make sure the wax was distributed evenly.

Tip: You can see the differences in where there is wax and where there isn’t by the color saturation on the fabric.

Related post: 5 Zero Waste Essentials You Must Have (that aren’t actually things)

Wrap Making FAQs: 

  • Do I need to wash the fabric before making beeswax wraps? Yes! Since the wraps will be used for food, I would highly suggest washing the fabric before making the wraps. 

  • What do I need to make beeswax wraps? See the ingredient list above. Basically, fabric, beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine rosin. 

  • Are there other methods to make the wraps (iron, only in oven)? Yes. Some methods involve sprinkling the beeswax and pine rosin onto the fabric, then pouring over the oil. Put it into the oven, and distribute that way. I thought it would be easier to ensure the ingredients were mixed together beforehand would make the process easier.

    Another method involved doing the same as above (the sprinkling/pouring onto the fabric), but instead of using an oven, you would put parchment over the ingredients/fabric, and use an iron to heat the ingredients and distribute. 

  • Can I use a different type of wax? I personally prefer beeswax because of the antimicrobial properties it has against certain bacteria, plus, the whole bee thing I talked about at the beginning. However, I know that some vegans don’t want to use beeswax, and in that case, you could try another type of wax. This guide from Mountain Rose Herbs has a vegan option you can check out (scroll to the bottom of the post).  

  • Can I use a different type of rosin or none at all? You don’t have to use rosin at all, but the wraps will lack the characteristic ‘stickiness’ that commercial wraps have, and will be less similar to plastic ‘cling’ wrap. You may also need to use a rubber band to hold the wrap in place over a container. I don’t know of any other type of rosin/resin that can replace pine rosin. 

  • Can I use a different type of oil? If you don’t want to use jojoba oil, you can try another oil like coconut oil, however I have read that other oils can leave a residue on the containers, which jojoba oil does not seem to do. 

  • What if my wrap came out with too much wax and/or too sticky? Reheat the wrap in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment for two minutes at 300 degrees F. Once heated thoroughly, dab the fabric with a painting sponge to absorb any extra beeswax mixture. 

  • The wax/pine rosin/oil mixture is not uniform on my fabric. How can I fix this? Reheat the wrap in the oven on a baking sheet with parchment for two minutes at 300 degrees F. Once heated thoroughly, you can use a painting sponge to distribute the mixture evenly. 

  • The pine tree rosin just clumped at the bottom of the pan. What can I do? This happened to me as well and is due to it having a higher melting point than the beeswax. I just tried to break it up as much as I could each time I stirred the mixture. I still had some that did not distribute after ‘cooking’ the mixture for 30 minutes, but a lot of it did distribute. 

Beeswax wraps care:

  • Store your beeswax wraps in a cool area. I just keep mine in a kitchen drawer. 

  • Hand wash with cool, soapy water. Hot water will heat up the wax and remove it. 

  • Because you shouldn’t wash with hot water, avoid using your wraps on meat. 

  • If your wraps lose their stickiness or seem like the beeswax has washed away, you can ‘refresh’ them by adding some more beeswax mixture on it, putting it in the oven, and distributing evenly. 

  • With proper care, your wraps should last 8 – 12 months without needing to be refreshed.

General FAQs:

  • Can they be used in the microwave? No. Beeswax wraps should not be used in a microwave as the heat will cause the wax mixture to melt and come off of the fabric. 

  • How long do they last? With proper care (see care instructions above), the wraps should last 8 – 12 months before having to be ‘refreshed’. 

  • The wax is no longer sticking. What can I do? Heat up the wrap in the oven at 300 degree F for two minutes (be sure to use parchment) and use a painting sponge to redistribute the mixture on the wrap. If that doesn’t work, make up a small amount of the beeswax mixture (beeswax, jojoba oil, and pine rosin) and distributed onto the fabric using the instructions above. 

  • The wrap is hard. What can I do? If the wrap is not pliable, warm it in your hands for a few seconds until it becomes softer. If this happens repeatedly, you may have too much wax and not enough oil on the fabric. You may need to experiment with heating up the wrap in the oven at 300 degrees F and then adding a little more oil and/or pine rosin. 

  • How and where should I store them? In a cool place like a kitchen drawer. 

  • Can you freeze beeswax wraps? Yes! They freeze quiet well. 

  • Does the beeswax make my food smell? While the beeswax wraps have a distinct, albeit slight,  beeswax smell, I have never had the smell transfer to my food. 

  • Are they any foods I shouldn’t use beeswax wraps on? I would not recommend using on meat, since you shouldn’t wash the wraps with hot water. 

  • If I don’t want to make them, where can I buy them? You can find beeswax wraps online on Etsy, zero waste stores, or Amazon. If you are looking for vegan-friendly wraps, one of my favorite zero waste stores, Tiny Yellow Bungalow, has them available here

  • Are there vegan options? Yes! See the question above. 

  • Are they reusable? Yes! 

  • Are they food safe? Yes! Beeswax is antimicrobial. As an example, beeswax is often used as a waxy coating for cheese (source), so definitely can be used for food.

Have you ever made beeswax wraps? What tips do you have?

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Hannah Spencer
11 months ago

I had no idea there was a process for making these at home! This is awesome.

10 months ago

Hi, this was a great guide, thanks! I have some store-bought ones and the wax is already starting to crumble off (after 1 month) even if I take good care of them. I’m scared that the wax will fall into the food, etc. What do you think, are they fixable? Or should I just make my own? 😉 Thanks!