Adding beeswax to cloth increases its waterproofing capabilities!
There are a lot of benefits of keeping your own bees, and the wax obtained is honestly one of my favorite perks! Rendering, (so to speak) the wax into something usable is my least favorite task; but the gorgeous, yellow-hued, sweet-smelling reward of fresh beeswax is so, so, worth it, and one of my absolute favorite ways to use the wax is to make beeswax cloth.
Waxing cloth to increase it’s waterproof capabilities is an old trick of many a homesteader, and it is easy to see why because for such an easy task you get a great result! Beeswaxed cloth is a nifty food storage solution for everyone, but especially for those who’d like to live more frugally, use less plastic, or find a use for their extra fabric or wax. It is also the first step in waxing cloth to then sew into reusable food-storage bags. (If you want to get super-fancy, sew them with a fold-over top!)
I’ve written about waxed cloth before, as a guest post for Amy @ A Blossoming Life, but since that was years ago, and I think many of you may have missed it, I’ve decided to cover it again. I recently made a bunch of waxed-cloth as a gift, so the opportunity to share the method again with you presented itself in a neat little package.
A beeswax-wrapped one 🙂
How to Make Beeswax Cloth
What You’ll Need:
- Beeswax, grated or pastilles
- A clean, 1 inch (or similar) paintbrush*
- Large cookie sheet, preferably with sides
- Thin fabric (think simple cotton)**
* Make sure you can dedicate this paintbrush to beeswax since you wont want to clean it out. Trust me. Also, I haven’t tried using a foam brush, but in my experiences with beeswax, my gut instinct tells me its not a good idea… (Let me know if you’ve got a positive experience with this to share!)
**Cut your fabric to fit just inside your cookie sheet to lay flat (IMPORTANT) and to contain any errant wax you may have. Experiment with any size you fancy– it just cant hang over the edge as you’ll need to spread the wax to the very corners of the fabric.
Preheat your oven to “warm” or 150 degrees F. The lowest setting your oven will do, most-likely. Keep in mind that beeswax melts at 147 degrees F, and it is flammable, so, less is more here. Line your cookie sheet with tinfoil if an easy clean-up is desired and place your cloth onto the sheet so it’s completely flat. Sprinkle your beeswax over your piece of cloth, Each size of cloth would require a different amount of wax, so the amount is hard to describe. I’ll venture to say you’ll need about a few pastilles per square inch, or a small pinch or dash per square inch if you’re using grated. (The photos do a good job illustrating this). You’ll want to lightly cover, not saturate the cloth. The wax will spread out when melted and you’ll help it along with your paintbrush.
Place your cookie tin into the oven and watch it closely. After several minutes, the wax will begin to melt and you’ll spread it out with your paint brush. Be sure to cover the whole surface, all the way to the corners. Working quickly, since the wax dries fast, I have found it is easiest to spread the wax with the pan still half-inside the oven. Don’t worry if your wax is drying too quickly. Just heat it up again slightly and give it another go.
Hang the cloth to cool completely. I suspend a string/wire/bungee cord between my cabinets and clip it to it.
You’ve just made your own beeswax cloth!
- Spot clean with cool to tepid water, and if soap must be used, be certain it is alcohol-free. (Beeswax and tree resins are soluble in alcohol). The fabric will clean up like a plate, not a piece of fabric.
- Avoid prolonged contact with greasy or oily foods.
- Since beeswax is all natural, some staining from highly pigmented foods may occur. This is normal and to be expected. Over time, some creases will develop as well. Enjoy the character.
- Not for use in dishwasher, microwave, or with hot foods. (Unless you want beeswax everywhere!)
- Highly acid foods, like pineapple, may eat the beeswax coating. It is best to put those foods in a bowl and cover, instead of wrapping the fabric directly around it.
- Beeswax is fluid resistant, so bee creative in your uses for your new wonder-fabric!
Have you ever made beeswax cloth? What is your favorite way to use it? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below!
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