Beeswax Fabric Food Wrap.

 

Reduce, reuse, recycle.

I do those things.  Sometimes.  When I feel like it.  More often than not, I do do those things, but I’m a human person living in modern times so sometimes I don’t.

I’m a firm believer in doing what you can when you can.  Use your recycling bins, but if you’re close to a mental breakdown from cooking, working, cleaning the house, dealing with a broken toilet, a screaming child and/or a slightly insane boss … don’t beat yourself up over throwing that one recyclable container in the garbage because the ease of doing so is the only thing  keeping you from jumping into the nearest volcano.

The 5 people who live off the grid and do everything possible to not make an imprint on Mother Earth including not wearing clothing and eating only bugs, (that have died naturally) aren’t the ones saving it.  It’s the rest of us who are doing what we can when we can that are.  Their acts are commendable of course, but the majority of  us have real houses with real jobs and real lunches to pack.

Which brings us to my next point of interest.  Plastic.  I use it.  I’ll admit it.  I have sandwich bags and plastic grocery bags and cat poop bags.  All plastic.  And other than the poop bags, I  reuse them all a couple of times before I throw them in the recycling bin.

But we seem to go through a lot of sandwich bags and a lot of plastic wrap. And it irks me for a variety of reasons.  It is definitely a waste.  And it’s definitely expensive.  And it’s definitely ugly.  Other than when you get that absolutely perfect, glass-like seal across a bowl with your plastic wrap.  That, of course, is a thing of artistic beauty like nothing else.

So when I came across these reusable food wraps by Abeego made out of beeswax coated cotton … I was intrigued.  The second I saw them I had romantic visions of these beautiful food wraps encasing healthy sandwiches and expensive cheeses.  Just looking at them made me feel good.

So I had to make some immediately.  A quick search of the Internet led me to believe I could make a similar version with only cotton fabric and some beeswax.

I did it, they turned out great and now you can make them too.  In case you too want to feel good.

 

 

Beeswax Fabric 1

Gather a few pieces of 100% cotton fabric and put them on a baking sheet lined with tin foil.

I used leftover scraps from this project, and flour sack tea towels from my screen printed tea towels that didn’t turn out well.

Preheat oven to 150 – 170 °F (depending on your oven … mine doesn’t go lower than 170 °F)

2 BShave and then chop a couple of ounces of beeswax.

You can use an old candle or buy beeswax beads, or a whole hunk of beeswax for this.

Beeswax Fabric 5

Sprinkle the fabric with a light layer of beeswax.

Beeswax Fabric 4

About this much.  Maybe a teensy bit more.

Beeswax Fabric 3

Put them in the oven for 10 minutes (or until wax is melted).

The fabric will be soaked through with wax when you remove them.

Take them off the hot baking sheet IMMEDIATELY.

If you leave them on for even a few seconds they’ll cool down and stick to the tin foil or the beeswax will become clumpy.

Beeswax Fabric 8

Now it’s all about finishing them.

You can leave them just as they are or you can finish the edges with pinking sheers.

I’ve also added a couple of buttons and some butcher twine for closing one of mine.

Beeswax Fabric 6

They’re beautiful.  I love them.

Beeswax Fabric 7
Care.  All you need to do is rinse the wraps in cool water and give them a little rub with a dish cloth.  Don’t use hot water or your beeswax will melt.

Use.  I’ve used mine for a week or so to make sure they’re actually useful and not another Enzyme Cleaner.  I’ve used the Beeswax wraps to wrap cheese, sandwiches, carrots, a Portobello mushroom, bowls of soup (like cling wrap) and cut vegetables.

Opinion.  They’re great.  They really do work.  The warmth of your hands allows you to mould the beeswax to whatever shape you want and it stays there.  Everything has stayed as fresh as can be with the exception of a sandwich I left wrapped for 2 days, which started to get stale around the edges.  In defence of the wraps, it was a cloth that I later decided had too much air getting through it because there wasn’t enough beeswax on it.  I’ve since added more beeswax to it and it will hopefully solve the stale after 2 day sandwich problem.  Even though I really don’t need these wraps to keep sandwiches fresh for days on end.

Problems.  The smell.  I love the smell of beeswax a lot.  But the fella took exception to the carrots on his lunch smelling like beeswax.  I suspect the scent will fade.

Not interested in making your own?  Go buy them from Abeego.  As great as mine are, I’m sure theirs are better.  Abeego isn’t sponsoring this post, they don’t even know I exist.  They’re a small company trying to make a go of it with a useful and beautiful product. They also have great videos showing you how to get the most of of beeswax fabric wraps.

So, reduce, reuse, recycle.  When you can.  When you can’t?  Avoid all volcanos.

 


 

SHARE:Share on Facebook0Pin on Pinterest7.9kTweet about this on Twitter

117 Comments

  1. Laura says:

    How clever! & cute!

  2. Laura Bee says:

    Well said! Doing what I can when I can is also how I live. Now THIS I can find time for. Other sewed sandwich bags have way too many steps.

  3. Simon says:

    I am doing this immediately, thank you. This is super common sensical.

    I use the citrus enzyme all the time by the way. I love it.

    Simon 🙂

  4. Michelle says:

    Hey Karen – I’ve had the Abeego ones for years and just ordered a new round now that she has the button up sandwich packages. They are wonderful and can’t recommend them enough. Thanks for the DIY tutorial as well.

  5. Linda J Howes says:

    I LOVE this!!!! Just yesterday I was wishing I had a different way to wrap/store food. What an awesome alternative and I will definitely make some! Thanks for posting this.
    BTW, I got your bookmark in my self addressed stamped envelope the other day and thank you for that too!

  6. Luanne says:

    We have the Abeego wraps and love them. I bought them at Christmas specifically for the kids lunches and they’ve been in daily use ever since.

  7. Langela says:

    Neat idea, but I have a question. I thought you weren’t supposed to reuse plastic bags after using them for cheese or meat. Is this the same for these?

  8. Ann says:

    I worked with beeswax a few years ago. The stuff is very very sticky so be careful to keep it contained while working with it. If you get any of the melted stuff on the counter or floor you will pay hell getting it back off!! I wonder if you could use regular paraffin just as well? Of course, that is a petroleum product and one might think it is bad for the environment. But if you can use it for a long time and in turn, not use plastic then I think it would still be a win.

    • marie says:

      because beeswax is sticky, it will bed with the fabric. not only is paraffin toxic (against your food?! really?!), but it won’t stay pliable.

  9. cred says:

    love this- I’d seen beeswax cloth before (don’t know if it was Abeego) and was intrigued but I love that I can make my own now. I never would have thought to try it.
    Thanks for figuring this out.

  10. Lynne says:

    Those wraps would make cool bags or gift wrap for beeswax candles, or honey….hmmm. Wrap your gift with the beeswax cloth, tie up with twine or raffia. Tahhh dahhh. No volcano jumping. Just beeswax sexiness. Whatcha think?
    Lynne 🙂

  11. Debbie says:

    I love this idea! I see that there are online versions which use velcro as the fastener. I am going to try these soon! Thanks !

  12. carin says:

    A million thanks for this! I saw them [or someone similar] at the One of a Kind Show and bought a couple and love them. I’ll buy more, but it’s nice to know I can make them too and put to use my bag of beeswax bits.

  13. MelissaM says:

    Your wraps look lovely. I have used a couple of Snack Taxis and the benefit, other than buying from my now-defunct local green store, is they can be thrown in the wash. When food for human consumption is concerned, I do prefer washing in hot kill-them-disgusting-germs! water.
    http://www.snacktaxi.com/

    • kate-v says:

      OOh – what ever you do, don’t wash the beeswax food wrap in hot water because the wax will melt and run and then HARDEN in your drain and you will have plumbing PROBLEMS.

  14. Bonnie says:

    This is so timely! Like you, I try to recycle and reuse as much as I can. Just this weekend, I was decrying the use of so much plastic for food wrapping, and promised to look for an alternative. (I was decrying and promising to myself–no one else in my family really cares.) Then, this comes up. Thanks!

  15. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for sharing! LOVE this idea as a replacement for seran wrap! I shared this with a friend who is going to try it with silk, as well. Again, thanks!

  16. Becca says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this… it’s a wonderful idea. The blue one you made looks like it might be quilting cotton fabric. Did you find the grain tight enough on that one? I have delightful images of batik food wraps in my kitchen. Only thing, I wonder if all the dyes used in quilting cottons would be safe to be in contact with food. Hmmmm.

  17. Inga says:

    This is awesome! Question though – how did you fold it to wrap the sandwich?

  18. dana gault says:

    Re: paraffin vs beeswax

    Even after processing, beeswax maintains antibacterial properties. So that’s the science. From personal experience, I’m and artist, and paraffin has never very worked well for me coating canvas and cotton fabric in general. Soy wax has, but I don’t know that it’s antibacterial, and I find it much messier than beeswax.
    LOVE this Karen! I adore your buttoned-up bag : )

  19. dana gault says:

    Aside to Karen: geez, my two-hour sleep really shows in my grammar! Sorry : /

  20. Cathy says:

    I love this idea. I think about this everytime I grab a sandwich bag out of the drawer. I have a large ziploc of leftover beeswax from our first harvest that I need to do something with. But first, I have to figure out how to get the honey out of it! Just need time to research it.

    • meg says:

      you can get the honey out of beeswax by just leaving it outside the hive. The bees will take off every single bit;-)

    • Chio says:

      Just melt the honey-sticky beeswax clumps in hot water. The honey will dissolve, and the wax will float. Then skim the beeswax “beads” off the top with a screen or cheesecloth. Y ou probably don’t need to actually boil it, just melt it. Then you can use the honey water for tea. 🙂

  21. mayr says:

    You are wonderful.

  22. Candice says:

    My new year’s goal last year (2012) was to purge plastic from my kitchen. A little over a year later, I’ve put a dent in it but it is waaaayyy more daunting than I’d imagined. I love the idea of these baggies! I’ll check out their website as well as MelissaM’s above suggestion for the Snacktaxi’s. I’ll be buying since I’m not sure I have the patience or sense enough to replicate yours.

  23. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Again another brilliant ‘how to’ Karen. Thank you!! I abhor plastic and this will allow me to completely get rid of ziploc bags and saran wrap forever, and use up my scrap fabrics as well!

  24. Rondina says:

    I’m the one that has a guilt-trip over throwing one container away that could have been recycled. At some point I have to calculate how much water it will take to clean a container; factor in that I live in an area experiencing a long-term drought, and say—no. However, although they are cute with the button and string closure, no way I’m going to try this one.

  25. Catherine Fairs says:

    Karen , my sister told me of your blog and I love it. Your sense of humour kills me. I wanted to let u know about my sisters art show opening at the Carnegie fri March 1 7-930
    She,s your neighbour Jane Hill I can tell from your blog ,you will absolutely love her paintings.
    Catherine fairs

  26. Feral Turtle says:

    What an interesting product. Can’t say I have ever heard of these. The enzyme cleaner was definitely a bust though!

  27. Mel says:

    Okay so first I chuckled at ‘do do’ in the first paragraph. Yep, I’m mature. Next I marvelled at this project. I use fake tupperware to bring sandwiches, cheese, etc to work, but although it is reusable plastic, it is still plastic. So this is getting added to my to-do list. Thanks!

  28. Naomi says:

    Very cute! I have a suggestion for meat sandwiches – my friend Corry sells reusable sandwich bags in her Etsy shop, called Pepper Picnic (the bog is at http://www.pepperpicnic.com). You can wash these babies in hot water daily and even pop the washing machine once a week for a deep clean.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Naomi – Thanks. You can absolutely use these for meat sandwiches though. You just might not want to wrap a pound of ground beef in it. 🙂 ~ karen

  29. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    OK..I have beeswax for making candles and I have stacks of fabric scraps..I just need to know how do you store them when not in use?? Great idea Karen..Thanks!

  30. Shauna says:

    LOVE! Thank you for always taking the time to figure this stuff out for us Karen.

  31. kate-v says:

    I also love it when I get that perfect plastic wrap covering over a container in the refreigerator — it truly is a work of art! Such a feeling of accomplishment!! But, I love this idea in spite of my “artistic endevours” with plastic wrap. I always feel the contradiction between ‘reuseable’ and ‘throw away plastic’ – between ‘wholesome’ and adding more ‘questionable molecules’ to my environment when I use plastic anything. I will make these and the first person I gift with a set will be my hairdresser Annette; she and I both wash out plastic bags for reuse. Thank you very much for this idea.

  32. alayn says:

    Love your blog, you are so fun to read. I may be letting everyone know how old I am, but there use to be wax paper bags for sandwiches, they stopped being available at grocery stores about 7 years ago. Wax paper is biodegradable. Let’s try to bring this product back!

    • Karen says:

      Alayn – I used waxed paper all the time. I love it. I had no idea that most people didn’t use it until my fella came home and told me someone commented on the waxed paper in his lunch. And I’m finding it more and more difficult to find in the grocery store. Weird. ~ karen!

  33. Amy says:

    This is a great idea and I’ll have to give it a try. Also, my brother-in-law travels and stays in hotels every week so he brings home the shower caps the hotels provide. They’re great for covering bowls and things. And then I turn them inside out, wash in hot water and reuse. They make great stocking stuffers in our family!

  34. Brenda Watts says:

    These are wonderful Karen..I am so going to make some…especially love the one with the buttons.

    • Karen says:

      Brenda – Thanks. I know. I love them too. The fella’s taking toast in his lunch tomorrow and it got wrapped in that one. I said “I would be so happy if I had a packed lunch and this was holding my toast. Don’t you love it?” He just laughed. Men. ~ karen

  35. Tricia Rose says:

    What an idea! don’t want the plastics guilt-trip, love beeswax, and I have rather a lot of fine linen scraps which would be even better than cotton! (I hope). My main use would be for cheese: plastic makes them sweat so.

  36. I made one last night! Just wanted to report back that it was super easy (honestly, active time involved, about 2 minutes to cut the fabric and scatter on the wax).

    I cut it with pinking shears first, then after it had been in the oven, put it on a wire baking rack to ‘dry’. It hardened up, and then I wrapped my cheese in it! It molds to the shape of the food really easily, and I found I didn’t need a string, it stayed shut just fine.

    Going to make more tonight. Thanks Karen, I love this site.

  37. Miia says:

    I love your sanity clause.

    Also the project is great!

  38. Barbie says:

    I am going to do this as well! I have lots of scraps of cotton and we have just recently gone vegan and all natural. So this is perfect timing.

    PS: The vegan thing…..kinda hate it…. vegetarian …I can handle that, but the vegan part is killing me. NO FLAVOR! I miss cheese! This foodie is having a hard time with that.

  39. Marion says:

    What an awesome idea! My husband could (tries to) eat sandwiches every day. This would be much better than going through all those sandwich bags. Sometimes I just hate (HATE!) washing them out. I do it because if I don’t I feel guilty, but still, I cannot stand it. Something about the way they feel in the water with soap. ick.

  40. Amy says:

    This may be my favorite post you’ve done to date. I had been wishing that I knew a way to make beeswax fabric so I didn’t have to go buy it. You must be a mind reader. 🙂

  41. Melissa says:

    I actually pinned beewax fabric wraps just yesterday, but from a company called beeswrap.com. I thought “hey, I bet I could make those!” And you went and figured it out!

    I wonder if you had big globs of wax, and then quickly spread it over the cloth with a bench scraper, like if you were silkscreening, you could get a more even coverage? Or does the melting of wax shards do enough?

    OFF TO EXPERIMENT!

  42. Patrick says:

    I never even knew something like this existed! I’ll definitely try making these once I graduate and have that much sought after “free time”

    • Karen says:

      Good for you. It’s fun and it really only takes a few minutes if you have the crap on hand. Although I suppose a lot of people at school don’t have fabric scraps and beeswax on hand, LOL. ~ karen!

      • Patrick says:

        You’d be surprised what this art student has in his basement. I seem to recall a project where I made garden gnome head candles a few years ago 🙂

  43. Maria says:

    These are cool. I still use wax paper and I think the brand of bags are Waxtex, for about $2 a box.

    Another idea for container/tote/wrap is a simple Furoshiki wrap here’s a demo video I found on how to make the wrap – I use a kitchen towel as they double as napkins once you unwrap: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBJ7rWpMjsM (Zero Waste Lunch)

  44. Natika33 says:

    I reuse my ziplock bags until they are falling apart, but this is even better! Definitely more swank looking! (^_^) Thanks!

  45. Erin says:

    Great post! I’m definitely making these.

    BTW, I’ve found that living off grid (although fully clothed with no intentional bug eating) is all about compromise. Yes, I guiltily fling the scary recyclable cottage cheese container in the garbage if it is growing a science experiment. I did it yesterday in fact. Life goes on. I love your take on doing the best you can, as you can.

    Thanks for your research and sharing this project with us.

    • Karen says:

      LOL, that’s exactly what I was talking about. The moldy bread, the writhing sour cream … straight into the garbage, container and all. ~ karen!

  46. korrine says:

    Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas this year? What was the other awesome thing you made with beeswax? Was it some kind of balm?

  47. Janet says:

    Probably a stupid question, but did you sew the bottons on prior to baking on the beeswax? Seems pretty tough to sew through the final product…
    Thanks for all the great hints! You rock!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Janet – I sewed the buttons on afterwards. The beeswax is no problem to put a needle through. ~ karen!

  48. Becca says:

    I found the beeswax in the basement and found a nice yard of muslin. First wrap is in the oven right now. I’m going to have to figure out a way to do bigger pieces than I can currently fit on any of my baking sheets.

    I’ve also made a fresh batch of Board Butter. This time I’m making it with Almond Oil instead of mineral oil. Smells divine and my hands are like silk after massaging all the kitchen wood.

  49. Suzie Q says:

    You buy bags specifically for cat poop? Why not use your plastic grocery bags as cat poop bags? Or, for that matter, why not use used sandwich bags for the poop instead of making these things? If you’re going to use plastic bags anyway, why not use them for that and then avoid buying brand new plastic that will end up in the trash immediately?

    • Karen says:

      I’m in Canada where things are a little different than the USA. a) the cat poop bags are biodegradable b) I don’t use plastic grocery bags. No one does. If you want plastic bags with your groceries you have to pay for them. c) a sandwich bag isn’t big enough for cat poop. ~ karen

  50. debra says:

    Oh for heaven’s sake, this means having to think if there’s ham on that cheese sandwich, remember to rinse in cold water only, don’t leave the beeswax cloth on the counter on a hot day, store separately so as not to get wax on the other stuff in the drawer…what’s wrong with waxed paper and waxed paper bags? More sanitary, less fussy.

    • Karen says:

      HI Debra – Well there’s nothing wrong with Waxed paper. I use it too. This is just an alternative that involves no waste at all and are much more attractive to use. And … they’re really not as difficult as you’re describing. Ham on the sandwich is fine, feel free to leave them on the counter on a hot day, I throw mine right in the drawer with a bunch of other stuff. Yes I have to wash them with cold water but it’s no harder to remember that, than to remember not to wash my face with ketchup every night, LOL. ~ karen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Optionally add an image (JPEG only)

  • About Karen

  • My Latest Videos

  • 1 tool

The Art of Doing Stuff