Saturday, 26 May 2018

Simple Living Toowoomba ~ Beeswax Wraps and Soapmaking Workshops

This morning our Simple Living Toowoomba group held two workshops in one time-slot...soapmaking and beeswax wraps. When planning the morning we thought we would be pushed for time but, due to the competence of our two presenters, Racheal and Suanne, we were finished much earlier allowing time for lots of questions to be answered and ideas to be discussed.

Soap coloured with madder root

Suanne from Green Dandelion and Racheal from Birdsong Market Garden

 Racheal did the first workshop and she showed us how she makes soap using the room temperature method. You can read about this method in a previous post Learning a New Method of Soap Making.


 Deep breath!! Okay.... let's get this show on the road.


 If you click on the link above you will read that firstly the lye is added to water and then dissolved. The lye heats up very quickly so Racheal then adds the coconut oil to melt before pouring in the olive oil.


Then the mixture is beaten with a stick blender until it becomes like custard which is called 'trace'. At this point she would add colour like in the top photo which has had madder root added and essential oils can go in then too if you wanted to use them. She added neither today so the process was really quick and very easy. You just have to be careful when handling the lye as I have mentioned before.

 The moulds are then put away for a few days before being taken out and left to cure for six weeks. In Racheal's case, because she has a big family, hers are put up high where they can become ''out of sight out of mind' so they are well and truly ready to unmould after a couple of weeks :-) I have the opposite problem and tend to unmould mine before they are ready as I can't wait to see what they look like. LOL!

 After Racheal had finished making her soap, Suanne from Green Dandelion then demonstrated how to make your own beeswax wraps. If you have ever bought any you would know how expensive they are. Racheal had done a similar workshop last year and it was extremely popular so we thought we would do a repeat. You can read Racheal's instructions from that workshop in the post War on Waste and the Beeswax Wraps.

She did mention at the time that the wraps were sticking much better after she added resin which was quite expensive to buy so when I came across Suanne at the My Local Feast Farmers Markets at the Cobb and Co Museum a while back and saw she was selling bottles of beeswax, coconut oil and resin mix all in the one bottle and we got talking, she said she would be happy to do a workshop for us and demonstrate how to use the product.

 Here is how she makes hers:

Firstly cut out some prewashed cotton fabric to the size you require. 

Preheat your oven to 150C. Then line a baking tray with baking paper and lay your fabric piece on the tray making sure it is flat.

Take the lid off the mason jar and gently melt the was mix in the microwave for 2 minute intervals until melted through but check and rotate the jar gently to release air bubbles (to prevent an explosion) in between reheats and it should require about 3. If you don't have or wish to use a microwave oven then melt the wax in a double boiler by boiling water at a gently rolling boil and heat the wax until it is melted right through. Then give it a gentle stir before brushing onto the fabric.

With a brush dedicated to just making these wraps (as it can get messy) then paint the mixture onto the fabric right  to the edges before popping into the oven for 1-2 minutes.


 Remove the oven tray and quickly brush over fabric to evenly redistribute the wax and/or remove any excess. Then if necessary pop it back into the oven to achieve even coverage and to fully soak the fabric.

 Remove the fabric gently from the tray and make sure the fabric surfaces don't touch or fold back onto each other. Hold it up and gently fan until slightly stiff which Suanne is doing in the above photo. This will take about 30 seconds to one minute depending on the temperature of the room.

Then drape it over a clean chair back to cool and have made your own beeswax wrap!

After the workshop Suanne had lots of beeswax wrap kits or parts of them for sale and they sold like hot cakes. I came along to take a photo after most of them had been sold. 


She had also brought along some beautiful lotion bars made by Textile Enthusiast which were in cute little bags which may have been beeswax wrap bags if I remember rightly. I love that blue floral fabric in the front.

So all in all it was a very interesting and informative morning even though we had had both workshops before but the subject matter was new to a number of those attending and they all sounded like they enjoyed themselves thoroughly. We always learn something new at these mornings as like minded people share their ideas. 

It was an enjoyable start to the weekend! 


  1. I don't even know what a beeswax wrap is used for. That's how out of it I am. The fabrics for the wraps are so pretty.

    I don't make my own soap, but I do buy handmade goats milk soap from a local farm. No commercial bar soap for me!

    Happy weekend to you,

    1. Patti, the wraps are used instead of plastic film so as to reduce the use of plastic. They are very popular here.

    2. Im with Patti, never heard of them - and im from MELBOURNE!!! LOL.

    3. Ha ha, well I imagine they are commonly used in Melbourne, Lynda. You must mix in the wrong circles. LOL! It is time you gave an update on your blog by the way.

  2. What a great start to the weekend, not one but two great workshops! It's a great way to learn when you can see an "expert" going through the processes to make things like these. Meg:)

    1. Yes Meg, it makes such a difference actually seeing something being made rather than just reading about it.

  3. I could really see those workshops being very popular, in our area. I went to the Farmer's Markets, on Saturday and purchased an extra beeswax wrap. There were several different stalls, all carrying the same thing (along with different items). They are quite expensive to buy, but the benefit is how long they last. I can see why the beeswax kits, were snapped up like hotcakes.

  4. Chris it is much cheaper to make your own and Suanne made it look so easy. I bought a kit off her at the market minus the fabric a few weeks ago but haven't made mine as yet. I really have no excuse.

  5. Making Beeswax wraps is certainly something I could get into Chel and they are a huge step forward in the War on Waste. When I have a free week ahead, and looking for a challenge I'll try and make a couple. Thanks so much for sharing your Simple Living workshop with us. Pauline

    1. They stick so much better with the resin in the mix, Pauline. I hope you can pick some up somewhere.

  6. The beeswax wraps seem like such a good idea! Thanks for reminding me about them!

    1. They are readily available in our neck of the woods, Kathy. I hope you can buy some over there too.


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