Petra Ahnert presents dozens of ways to use beeswax in Beeswax Alchemy (Quarry Books, 2015). The possibilities for using beeswax are nearly endless, including skin care, candles, ornaments and even waxed fabric. Learn the basics of extracting and purifying beeswax, and then get started making beautiful, healthful gifts for yourself and your loved ones. The following waxed cotton project is from chapter 6 “Home Products.”
These wraps are perfect in this ecoconscious world we live in. They are simplicity at its finest. They keep a sandwich fresh, keep all the ingredients in place and can serve as a placemat/plate when eating the sandwich. How great is that! In a smaller size they can also be used as a replacement for plastic wrap. Just warm the wrap and mold around the top of the jar or bowl.
• 3/4 yard of medium-weight cotton fabric (I like to use twill fabric for this)
• 1 lb (425 g) beeswax
• electric skillet
• paper towels
• heat gun
Yield: approximately 8 wraps
1. Measure the width of the fabric. Many times cotton fabric will come in a 45-inch width. Other times it will be 60 inches or more. My ideal size for sandwich wraps is a 12-inch square, but I wiggle those dimensions a bit to use the full width of the fabric. Sometimes that means making them 11 x 12 inches. No worries; the sandwich will still fit.
2. Melt the beeswax in the electric skillet. Once it is melted, lay the wrap in the hot wax and wait for the bubbles to disappear, about ten seconds.
3. Using the tongs, pull the fabric out of the wax and let as much of the wax drip off as possible. As the wax cools, try to straighten out the fabric so that it's not stuck together weirdly. There will still be quite a bit of wax on the fabric. Set it aside for now and repeat with another two or three pieces of fabric.
4. To remove some of the excess wax from the fabric pieces, place two or three layers of paper towels on a protected surface and then lay an unwaxed square of fabric on the paper towels with a waxed piece of fabric on top of it. Using the heat gun, start at one corner and melt the wax until it “disappears’’ (seeps into the layer below), dabbing with balled up paper towels to soak up any excess wax.
5. Continue running the heat gun over the rest of the top fabric piece. Lift off the top piece and check to see how thoroughly the lower piece is now waxed. Most times it just needs a little touch up to make sure it is all evenly waxed. Set these two aside and repeat with the remaining wraps.
6. While the wraps are still warm, make sure that they are completely square. If not, gently tug at the corners to pull them back into shape. Once the wraps are cool they are ready to use, but will be quite stiff. As they are used they will soften up and become more malleable.
7. To clean, wipe down with a damp cloth. If needed, wash wraps in cool water by hand.
Reprinted with permission from Beeswax Alchemy by Petra Ahnert and published by Quarry Books, 2015.
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