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5 Top Tips for Making Waxed Cloth

29 comments
DIYWaxedCloth


Last week my friend, Lee Cheng, (The DIY Secrets) invited me over to her home to experiment on making reusable waxed cloth with scrap fabrics and beeswax. We were exploring alternatives to using disposable cling wrap in the kitchen, and thought it would be pretty straightforward. Boy, were we wrong! We consulted a few sites on how to get it done, but encountered a few hiccups along the way. Here are our tips. 

Thank you to Lee Cheng for supplying the beeswax.



What You Will Need

DIY Waxed Cloth


DIY Waxed Cloth


Tip #1 Oven Method is the Best!

We experimented with 3 techniques.

Beeswax melts at about 60C and has a low flashpoint as we decided the best course of action for us would be to use a bainmarie.  We poured about 70g of the wax onto a lined tray (as shown in the picture below) and waited for it to melt. This took about a minute once the water in the lower tray was boiling.When the wax was completely melted, we dipped the cut fabric into the wax, removed quickly and let cool. The problem with this method was that we were left with pieces of waxed cloth that were extremely stiff and with blobs of wax in certain areas.

DIY Waxed Cloth


DIY Waxed Cloth


DIY Waxed Cloth

With the pour method, we melted some wax in a beaker and then poured the wax onto the fabric. This was less than ideal as the wax seeped into the cloth so quickly that we had no time to spread it, and in the end, we ended up using more wax than was necessary. But, I think it was better than the bainmarie method.


DIY Waxed Cloth


With the oven method, we sprinkled the wax over the cloth in a lined tray and popped it in the oven.  As soon as the wax melted we had to remove the tray immediately and quickly use a metal spoon to smooth out any pools of wax. There were a couple of times that we left it in too long and we were left with smoke in the oven!  To make sure we got full coverage, we sprinkled the whole cloth with beeswax - it felt like we were making pizza! The end result was waxed cloth that was still flexible enough yet did not crack. 

Safety note: set oven for < 200C, or you can pre-heat oven and switch off when melting the wax.

DIY Waxed Cloth

DIY Waxed Cloth


Tip #2 Choose the Right Fabric

We had experimented with a dish cloth and diaper pre-folds. As the latter was very absorbent, we ended up using all of the beeswax, and it was difficult to spread the wax easily because of the fabric's high absorbency. The whole process resulted in a piece of waxed cloth as stiff as cardboard! Remember, once the wax is absorbed, there's no way you can get it back out. So, try a small piece first. We found the dish cloth worked perfectly.

DIY Waxed Cloth


Tip #3 Use a Spoon

Yes, that's right, use a spoon instead of a brush. Once the wax cools, it will be difficult to remove the wax from the bristles, but with a spoon, you can scrape it off with a knife and reuse the wax (and spoon!). 

Tip #4 Use Chopsticks

We found that chopsticks were the best tool for handling the hot waxed cloths. Tongs or tweezers make marks on the wax. 


Tip #5 Perfect as Covers

The waxed cloths we made are great as covers as the cloth was flexible and didn't crack! On the other hand, I wouldn't recommend using them as wraps as the wax did crack slightly at the creases and I did get a few flakes (too much wax perhaps?)

Have you tried making your own waxed cloth? Share your tips here!



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29 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing this important information. Anything we can do, to not use plastic is a help to our oceans and wildlife. Can not wait to try this. Found you on Two Uses Tuesday. Have a Fabulous Day!

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    1. Thanks, Becky. Let me know how it goes. You always discover something new through trial and error.

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  2. I won't be making this, but I did enjoy seeing your entire process. Sometimes I think DIYs try to be too "pretty" and don't show the difficulties involved. This was a great tutorial!

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    1. Thanks, Kim. I always think it's important to share the bumps experienced along the way.

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  3. Wow! Very interesting! Love your blog. I too love eco-friendly ideas and products! New subscriber!

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  4. I love how you showed us the 'what no to do' side of things. I am really not sure what you would use waxed cloths for though!? I have never even heard of them before. I would love it if you would enlighten me!

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    1. Hi Kim, they are used in place of cling wrap to cover bowls. Some people would actually sew them up to make sandwich or snack bags.

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  5. Great tutorial. I think the tips on using chopsticks instead of tweezers is great.

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  6. What an awesome tutorial! I looked into wax wraps and was thinking of buying some but have never seen wax cloths before! And now I can make them myself! Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Thanks for sharing these great top tips, and making it very easy to follow with the photos! I'm sure I'd still fail if I attempted to make a wax cloth though, haha!

    http://www.missnicklin.co.uk/

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  8. This is such a neat idea. I want to use less plastic wrap, and this would be the perfect thing. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. I love that there is an alternative to plastic! I'll have to try to find a good pair of chopsticks so that I can try this. :)

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  10. I've never heard of "waxed' cloth. If I ever need it, I'll know where to look! ;)

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  11. I appreciate your step by step directions and the process you went through to make these.

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  12. Thanks for the awesome tutorial. Definitely filing this on my to do list.

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  13. Never heard of waxed cloth thanks for the tutorial

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  14. I am always learning something new and interesting from reading your site. Thank you for sharing! I have never heard of wax cloth before.

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  15. I had never heard of waxed cloth. Sounds interesting!

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  16. I can imagine this was a fun experiment for the two of you! Great tutorial!

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  17. This is interesting. I have never heard of wax cloth before. Your tutorial was great and easy to follow along. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. This is really cool! Sorry to say I wasn't familiar with it before reading your post. Thanks for the lesson :)

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  19. I never knew about waxed cloth for covering. Such a neat idea, although it looks a little complex for me, haha!

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  20. I love using these but I made a fantastic mess making them. Thanks for posting. Hello from Healthy Happy Green and Natural.

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  21. Wow! What a clever solution. I've never heard of waxed cloth before.

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  22. Wow! I have never even heard of this before. Good job!

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  23. This is a really cool alternative to cling wrap. Great idea!

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  24. I've used melted wax for painting before, so have a "wax pot" that is thermostatically controlled to keep the wax melted but below flash point. Worth considering if you are going to do a lot, and great for craft work! You say you can't get the wax out of the cloth again - you can certainly get rid of excess by sandwiching the fabric between absorbant surfaces - eg paper towels or other old cloths, and ironing. This might be a way of making lightly waxed cloths without the excess (and would also help with even distribution of wax)! You could over wax one piece and use it and the iron to create others! This would also work if you wanted waxed paper to wrap sandwiches in. Another thought would be to melt the wax, lay the cloth on the surface and immediately lift clear again.

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    1. Thank you so much for these tips, especially regarding getting out the excess wax. We had so much trouble making it thinner. :-)

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  25. These are fantastic tips! We've tried to make wax cloth before as well and had the same issues. I'll be pinning for sure! Thanks so much for sharing on the Healthy Living Link Party :)

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