Want to add a special spin to your holiday gifting? Try your hand at making your own! Even if you’re not the creative type, these gift ideas are ready for crafting novices and aces alike.
Help your friends and family ditch the plastic wrap with a reusable, eco-friendly alternative that combines local beeswax and fabric scraps. Source beeswax from your favorite honey supplier and be sure to use 100% cotton fabric. For step by step instructions, we like this tutorial from Good Housekeeping.
What you’ll need:
• Cosmetic-grade beeswax pellets
• 100% cotton fabric
• Scissors or pinking shears
• Parchment paper
• Baking sheet
• Hanger (optional)
• Binder clips or clothespins (optional)
• Ruler (optional)
Prepare your fabric. Preheat the oven to 200°F or the lowest setting. Cut the fabric into sizes that will fit on your baking sheet. For a snack bag, use a 7″ by 14″ piece of fabric. A 14″ by 14″ square will cover most sandwiches. Pinking shears will help prevent your swatches from fraying, but scissors will also get the job done.
Place on a baking tray. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fabric on top. If your fabric is one-sided, place the patterned side facedown. Use a fresh piece of parchment paper each time you make another wrap.
Sprinkle the pellets. Evenly distribute a liberal amount of beeswax pellets all over the fabric. Make sure you get pellets near the edges too.
Melt and spread the beeswax. Place the sheet in the oven for about 4-8 minutes. When the pellets melt completely, take the tray out and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly over the entire fabric.
NOTE: The beeswax will stick to the brush, so use one you’re okay discarding or saving to make future beeswax wraps.
Let dry. Using tongs, remove the fabric from the baking sheet. It should feel cool to the touch after waving it for a few seconds in the air. Hang the fabric up to dry or set it on the back of a chair with the beeswax side facing up.
Customize your wrap. Once the beeswax has set and is not very tacky, you can add buttons or hand-sew them into small pouches.
Snack Bags: Use a 7″ x 14″ piece of fabric. Once dry, fold the fabric in half with the non-treated sides facing inward. Hand sew the two sides together, leaving the top open. Turn the bag inside out, and add a button as a closure or stitch Velcro to both sides.
Sandwich Wraps: Use a 14″ x 14″ piece of fabric. On the patterned side, sew a button in two adjacent corners. To close, put the side with the buttons face down. Fold the fabric into thirds around the sandwich. Flip and fold the ends of the fabric up so the buttons are on top. Wrap twine around them in a figure-eight pattern for a secure closure.
Herb infused oil (olive works well) and beeswax come together to create a product to soothe winter skin. You can infuse your oil with a variety of herbs: calendula, lavender, plantain or yarrow are common. For a complete tutorial on making your own balms, check out this post from Mountain Rose Herbs.
• 1 oz. beeswax (use carnauba wax for a vegan salve)
• 4 oz. herbal infused oil(s) of your choice (choose one or a combination) (See how to make your own here)
• 10-20 drops essential oil of choice (optional)
Wrap beeswax bar in an old towel. On a sturdy surface, use a hammer to break bar up into small chunks.
Place beeswax in a double boiler and gently warm over low heat until the beeswax melts.
Add herbal oils and stir over low heat until well-mixed.
Remove from heat and add the essential oil(s).
Quickly pour warm mixture into prepared tins, glass jars, or lip balm tubes and allow to cool completely.
Store in a cool location for 1 to 3 years.
Pro tip: The consistency of salves can easily be adjusted depending on your preferences. Use less beeswax for a softer salve and more beeswax if you’d like a firmer salve. You can test the consistency by placing a spoon in the freezer before making your salve. When the beeswax melts, pour a little salve onto one of the cold spoons and place it back into the freezer for 1 to 2 minutes. This will simulate what the final consistency will be like. Once cooled, you can make adjustments by adding more oil (for a softer salve) or more beeswax (for a firmer salve).
Header Photo is courtesy of Danielle Ochiogrosso Daly of Good Housekeeping
Find our other great DIY Gift Ideas at localdifference.org/holiday