Because I spend very little time at home during the day, I try to cook my own meals and bring snacks to last up to 12 hours away from my house. Until a month ago, I heavily relied on plastic wrap and ziplocks to transport my food.
I tried making my own beeswax cotton food wraps to minimize the need for plastic wrap. Since, I haven’t needed a single piece of plastic or saran wrap when storing leftovers or carrying meals and snacks. Quite a few people asked me how to make these reusable wraps, so I decided to write a short guide so you can make your own, too!
What you’ll need:
- Different sizes of 100% cotton fabric pieces. Have fun choosing your prints!
- Fabric Scissors for cutting your cotton.
- Unbleached beeswax pellets. I found mine at The Soap Dispensary on Main and 21st! Approximately 1oz is needed per 9” x 9” square. TIP: When you purchase your beeswax, bring a jar or container to store it in.
- An oven-safe cookie sheet that’s ready to retire. You won’t be able to use this pan for any other purpose after it’s all waxed-up. If you don’t have a pan that you can use for making your wraps, try dropping in to a thrift store to see what they have there.
- 1 wide paint brush for evening out the melted beeswax. Again, this won't be able to be used for anything else after, so keep that in mind.
- An oven, oven mitt, and space to rest your cookie sheet.
- Optional: a clothesline & pins to hang up your wraps to dry.
Step 1: To start, cut out squares, rectangles, or any shape you want that’s appropriate for the food you eat most often. I cut a 13” x 13” square to wrap my carrots, peppers, and cucumber slices, and discovered that a 15” x 15” piece is perfect for wrapping sandwiches. Think about what food you carry around most often and cut accordingly!
Step 2: Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. While you wait for it to get to the perfect temperature, lay out your first piece of fabric on the cookie sheet, and sprinkle beeswax evenly over the fabric, like this:
Step 3: Pop the cookie sheet into the oven and set a timer for 3 minutes. The amount of time the wax takes to melt might be longer or shorter depending on your oven, but use this first one as a test. When the wax is all melted in (when you can no longer see any solid pieces of beeswax), take the pan out and use your brush to even out the liquefied wax over the fabric.
Step 4: Once it’s all even, lift the wrap off the cookie sheet. If the wax has hardened and the wrap is stuck to the cookie sheet, put it back in the oven to heat up before pulling it off. Let your wrap cool and harden slightly before hanging it up on the clothesline to dry.
Repeat Steps 1-4 as many times as you need!
Clean-up: There's no real need to wash your baking sheet, but I advise trying to melt some of the wax off your brush. Take a small jar and pour boiling water over the brush, squeezing out excess beeswax. Use a paper towel to wipe down your brush, which will also help remove wax.
Caring for your wraps:
Wash with a gentle dish soap (The Soap Dispensary has great local soap refills, too!) and cold water. Never use hot water to wash your wraps, because they’ll melt. Store your wraps in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
You can use your wraps to cover dishes and plates of leftovers. The wax provides enough structure that the fabric will bend around the container or bowl. Put it in the fridge as-is!
These wraps are also helpful when wrapping oddly-shaped objects, like this piece of chocolate from Thomas Haas. Carefully wrap around the edges and the wrap will stay sealed. Alternatively, you can use a piece of twine to ensure it stays closed.
Your wraps should last you anywhere from 6 months to a year. If the wax starts to wear down, you can re-wax them by repeating the steps above. Hope you enjoy making your wraps; let us know if you have any additional tips. Happy plastic saving!
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