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.

 


 

121 Comments

  1. rebecca says:

    just tried this, using a favourite linen tea towel with a hole in one end. Did circles (dinner plate sized) with pinking shears and grated my beeswax finely, as in pic. Problem: While the end product is functional, it looks dirty (like a rag from an auto shop.) My family is not going to go for this in their lunch bags. What did I do wrong?

    • Karen says:

      Rebecca – I’m not sure. Is it mottled looking? If it is then your beeswax just isn’t distributed evenly enough and you could try adding more. The beeswax *does* darken the fabric. If your tea towel was white to begin with it will be a beigey (beeswaxy) colour now. Is it possible your tea towel was discoloured to begin with? If it was the beeswax would make the discolouration more obvious. The same way that staining wood enhances the grain, the beeswax may enhance the stains. If you send me a pic, I might be able to better judge. karen@theartofdoingstuff.com ~ karen

  2. natashalh says:

    I love it! I’ve waterproofed things with beeswax and have even coated fabric, so I don’t know why I didn’t think of this! Great tutorial – I plan on featuring it in a tutorial round up on my blog this coming Thursday (4/11). If you feel like stopping by in a couple of days to see the post, my website address is http://www.natashalh.com!

  3. Andrea says:

    THIS IS AMAZING!!! I always think about how I use too much plastic when packaging my lunch!!

  4. Jean says:

    I love this! This is great for a college student such as my self! You have truly inspire me. How did you make the sandwich bag with the buttons? What dimensions and cud did you use? I would love to know!

    • Karen says:

      HI Jean – The bag with buttons is just a big rectangle cut to points on two ends. It measures 14″ x 14″ but you can make it any size. Just sew buttons about an inch in from the point on each end. ~ karen!

  5. MM says:

    Hi and thank you for this! I just came across your blog after searching for beeswax fabric. I was wondering how well these hold up in warm weather. I’d like to make some to take with on a road trip and also to pack in school lunches. I’m a little worried that they would melt on a hot day. Any experience with that yet?

    • Karen says:

      Hi MM. I haven’t had any problems with them melting. The bigger problem is them getting brittle if it isn’t warm enough! Just yesterday I was trying to mold one around a bowl in my air conditioned house and it wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do. I think unless you literally leave it in the sun for hours it should be fine. ~ karen!

  6. Cassie says:

    We raise our own bees. It’s always nice to find new and interesting things to do with their wax. Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      I was just thinking I needed to redo mine soon. (the wax had a tendency to crack after a lot of use. I’ll just use the same fabric and resurface it with a tiny big more was) Good luck with yours! They’re fun to make. ~ karen

  7. Theresa says:

    Great post. And thanks for your great attitude!

  8. Tanya H. says:

    Dumb question, but what do you do with the hot beeswax-covered cloth after you take it off the foil? Put it on a rack, hang on to it until it stiffens,…?

    • Karen says:

      Just slip it off onto the countertop. The beeswax firms up really quickly. By the time you get it on the counter it’ll almost be firmed up! ~ karen

  9. Cyndi says:

    Looks great! I’m wondering if you have any tips for waxing an already sewn bag. I have some lovely organic canvas lunch bags I’d love to water proof.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cyndi! I would do it exactly the same way. Just turn the bag inside out so you’re putting the wax on the inside (chances are it’ll seep through to the outside as well) Put wax on one side, melt it in the oven, flip the bag over and wax the other side of the inside. It may take a few tries to get it to work since you’re wax my try to melt off of the underside when you flip it, but it should eventually work. ~ karen!

  10. Rachelle says:

    I made some of the plain waxed fabric and do like it. In fact, I’m planning to make some more sizes tomorrow.

    However, in my experience this wrap doesn’t work (on its own) for covering a bowl. It sort of shapes to the bowl but just loosely. I always put a large elastic or twine around it to hold it on the bowl. I do the same if I use the fabric to wrap a sandwich.

    I tried making some with more wax and some with less wax, but the result was the same. I still use it all the time, but I”m wondering if anyone else has tips for getting it to shape around an item? ( I won’t be doing anything involving sewing . . .)

    Thanks!

    • Karen says:

      Hi! You just have to make sure the fabric is warm. Either quickly put it over the heat register for a minute or rub it quickly between your palms. Then put it over whatever it is you’re covering and as it cools it will stay in the shape you’ve moulded/pressed it into. ~ karen!

  11. July says:

    Your article is insulting. I live off grid. I have a REAL house and actually pack Real lunches for my Real family before I haul my self off to my Real job. Daily.
    I have made these wraps for years, long before the cutesy bloggers learned of them. Difference is, my wax comes from my organic bee hives that sit in the middle of my 300 acre organic farm. Organic farm? That is my second job which as a farmer never ends. No time for a self indulgent break down.
    I don’t eat bugs, never have.
    I don’t have tv or web. Don’t miss the garbage. Am currently with my brother who doesn’t live off grid. He pointed out your old post. Felt I needed to comment even though this post is a year old.

    • Karen says:

      Then clearly you’re not one of the 5 people living off the grid who eat bugs. Good to see that living off the grid has obviously led you to be a happier more well balanced person! You seem like a real fun gal. ~ karen

  12. Oh, I soooo loved your blog! My family calls me Mother Earth, with derision, I might add! Your blog will remind me not to take things too seriously. I CAN throw out plastic once in a while without feeling super guilty! Thank you!

  13. Pingback: Abeego Review | Zero Waste Millennial

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  15. Pingback: What you need to know about plastic; 3 easy steps you can take to make a difference | Nature News

  16. Vanessa says:

    I just made my first one and I think I used too much beeswax, so I put that bad boy back in the oven, pulled it out, dabbed it with a leftover napkin, and stuck it back in the oven to fix the “finish”. I used some scrap material from an apron and was sad that the pink flowers bled, but I’m really pleased with how it turned out. I can’t wait to use linen! Any other suggestions from you long-time users? How long do they last? Do you occasionally have to stick it back in the oven ? Any hints on folding? I just made a random rectangle, but I’d love to be able to fold it into the shapes you have pictured! Just found your blog, but I love it! 🙂

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Vanessa! Just follow what I’ve done with mine. It’s basically just a rectangle, with the ends folded in on points. My fabric wrap is still going strong, but it could use another quick coating of beeswax which I plan to do in the next week or two. ~ karen!

  17. Pingback: Beeswax Fabric Food Wrap | The Domestic Dormouse

  18. allie says:

    I love this idea – found out about it from a member of our bee guild. The one thing I’d like to remind people (sorry for the downer but education is good, right?) be sure to bee careful about the source of your beeswax. Most commercial beekeepers use nasty chemicals on their hives and these chemicals are retained in the wax. Try to obtain your wax from organic beekeepers. (But not uptight self-righteous ones!)

    • Karen says:

      LOL. That’s O.K. Allie, you’ve saved yourself with your well written comment. Weirdo. 😉 Understood. Organic bees. ~ karen!

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  20. Hey Karen,

    I wanted to let you know that your blog post about DIY beeswax food wrap has sent dozens of people to my website. I love that your sharing of a “how to” and that is has prompted others to explore natural food wrap. Get in touch! I’d love to hear how your wraps are holding up. And in case your followers want so new ways to use their wraps here is a video from our Abeego It! series:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUZiP1JufgE

    Thanks again for the love and happy waxing everyone!
    Best,
    Toni – the gal behind Abeego

    • Karen says:

      Toni! Thanks so much for commenting! I have a funny story for you. My mother went to the One of a Kind Show a month or so ago, (I think that’s where it was) and she came home with your food wraps! She was going to give them to me but figured I’d just make them myself so she gave them to my sister for her birthday. (she didn’t remember I had done a post on them a while ago) I could have KILLED her, lol. I really wanted them. The ones I made are still working but need a rewax. Yours are much prettier. I love the colour of them and the decorative stitch is a great touch. At least I got to see them up close before my mother gave them to my sister, lol. ~ karen!

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  22. Jess says:

    After reading this article, I went downstairs and made these immediately. I used an old pillowcase. They are wonderful!!!

    • Karen says:

      LOL! I’m surprised you had any beeswax laying around. Not many people do. You must be one of “us”. You know. The kind of people who have spare beeswax. 🙂 Glad you like them. I’m still using my original ones. THey’re just about due for a rewaxing. ~ karen!

  23. Victoria says:

    I’m wondering about the smell. Did it dissipate, or change the way the food tasted? I’m afraid my kids won’t each a sandwich wrapped in these. I love the way they smell, but it doesn’t jive with food for me lol.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria. For whatever reason the smell doesn’t transfer to the food and the food smell doesn’t transfer to the beeswax. Even after wrapping something stinky like lasagna or cheese, you can wipe the wrap, smell it and all you smell is beeswax. I still love mine after several years. And my mother even bought me some of the official ones that I link to in my post. Do it! 🙂 ~ karen

  24. Pingback: Beeswax Sandwich Wrap | Woodsy Woman

  25. Jaimee says:

    Hi Karen,

    I love these wraps and use them all the time, all different shapes and sizes, thanks for sharing this great idea.

    I’m wanting sew a sweet little button on some of my larger wraps, do I need to wax the cotton first? I’m just thinking it may break down faster than the waxed wrap of perhaps become a tiny bacteria breeding ground. Have you found any of these problems with yours?

    Smiles,
    Jaimee

  26. all the ones that can be purchased say they use jojoba oil and tree resin with their beeswax. Do you? What is the difference? Is there a reason for that? do I need to look for tree resin?
    Peg

    • Karen says:

      Hi Peg! You definitely don’t need to look for jojoba oil or tree resin! Those two things just help keep the fabric pliable when it’s at room temperature. So it helps you be able to form it around your bowl or cut vegetable. All you have to do with the homemade beeswax fabric is rub it between your hands for 30 seconds or so to warm the beeswax up and make it more pliable and then form it around whatever you’re putting it on. 🙂 ~ karen!

  27. Melanie says:

    What a great way to reduce plastic in your household! I bet this technique could be applied to different projects too! Thanks for sharing!

  28. I just love the idea of reusable bags for lunches for kids and adults. Just think of all the plastic bags that wouldn’t make landfills. Making sure your fabric is food safe is key!

  29. MacKenzie Drake says:

    You can also get deodorized beeswax. Same awesome stuff, doesn’t smell like honey.

  30. Alyssa M Ghanam says:

    So I want to make these. I realized there are different types of organic cotton fabrics. Does it matter as long as it is 100% cotton? Idk the difference besides knits, but there’s poplin, broad cloth, barkcloth (? I think). Do you know if it matters?

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