Since starting beekeeping I have been asked by several people to produce a product that can reduce plastic wrap use and needless waste. I have listened to the masses and produced my first ever beeswax syran! Now, this wasn’t my original idea obviously, as these have been around for a few years now. However, I wanted to be able to make it completely from materials found on the homestead. And after three weeks of searching and deep thought, I finally figured it out.
Since Luke and I have roughly a dozen hives on the homestead I am able to render and clean our own beeswax for this project. This is a labor intensive task, and most people can easily purchase already cleaned wax in easy to melt sizes, but again I wanted to use what I had. So after cleaning down some old wax from last summer, I had just enough to make three sheets of reusable beeswax syran. Below is an image of my setup for filtering the dirty wax.
Now I can’t just use wax to coat the fabric otherwise it will not be mailable or sticky which is necessary to fold and seal things like a bowl or sandwich. So how does one make it sticky you ask? Tree sap. Yes, that’s right! Last weekend I was able to collect a considerable amount of pine tar (tree sap) as the weather rose above freezing and the trees started to leak. This was a rather simple task of collecting but you will have very sticky hands and tools after. So you might want to wear gloves if you tackle this yourself. I found that any of the residual pine tar left on my hands I could massage into my cuticals and hands which helped with the winter cracking, two for one bonus!
So after your wax is clean and you have collected your sticky goodness setup another double boiler to heat and mix the sap and wax (1 to 5 ratio). Once it is completely liquid put your desired cloth inside the container and stir until fully coated. After the cloth is fully saturated you will want to place it flat on a cookie sheet and allow the mixture to smooth itself out. I place the cookie sheet on the wood stove so the heat evenly dispersed the material over the cloth but you can use an oven too. Just remember wax is highly flammable, so is the sap now that I think about it. Remove from heat once the liquid looks even and leave to cool for several minutes. If you notice pools of wax mixture you can remove it with a sharp knife once cooled. After the cloths were done I washed them with cold water and left them to dry by the sink. They smell very much like Christmas trees and honey! Have you made something to cut on waste? What was it and do you still use it?