Hey y'all, Amy here. We are still on a scrap busting mission over here at the studio and this latest installment in the "packing a lunch without plastic" series is by far the most simple (see also our posts on reusable snack bags and zero waste produce bags). The inspiration for this was the trendy reusable beeswax food wrap ad that keeps popping up in my Instagram and Facebook feeds. After a little poking around on the internet I found a bevy of companies making all kinds of plastic wrap alternatives. The thing is though: they ain't cheap! After we sourced the beeswax on Amazon (it came in 2 days!) we were pretty much ready to go because scraps of cotton fabric??! That we have.
- Cotton fabric scraps (washed). Not too heavy and with a close weave. Quilting cottons are ideal.
- Pinking shears
- Beeswax pellets (you could also shave your own from a block)
- Parchment paper
- An iron
You want to make sure your fabric scraps have been washed and there is no chemical sizing left on them since it will be touching your food. Once you have your usable scraps picked out (at least 6"x 6") you can rip or cut them into squares and rectangles and then give them a little press.
I didn't worry too much about the size of these because I figured a variety of sizes would be ideal. A little square is perfect for wrapping up half a lemon or covering a small bowl and a big rectangle could cover a casserole pan. Once you find out which ones get the most use at your house you can always make more of one size. Trim a little off the edges with your pinking shears to prevent fraying.
Tape a large piece of parchment paper to your ironing board/surface and set your iron to cotton. I had a little one home for the day so I thought I would demonstrate JUST how easy this was by having a six year old doing the wax pellet distribution! To be honest he was way more careful than I would have been and it took up time that wasn't spent watching tv. Win-win! You want to spread the pellets out so they are evenly covering the fabric and make sure they extend all the way to the edge.
The great thing about the ironing technique (as opposed to the oven) is it's very easy to control and you can always just add more wax once you get a feel for it. Pop another piece of parchment on top and go to town with the iron! I started in the middle and you can sort of push the liquid wax out to the edges as it melts. It's so fun.
The fabric will get a bit darker as it gets saturated with wax so bare (or bear in this case!) spots will show up a bit lighter.
If there are any empty spots just add a couple more pellets, put your paper back on and hit it with the heat. I told you this was easy...
Make sure to keep track of the up and down side of your parchment paper since the wax gets all over the down side (you do not want that gunking up your iron!) I just made sure to lay it wax side up when I wasn't using it. Once finished each sheet, you can peel it off (it might still be hot so be careful) and hang it up to dry on a clothes rack.
They only need to "dry" until they are stiff and not warm. And now they are ready to go! Wash these babies with a little gentle dish soap and warm (not hot) water when they get dirty. You can put them in your dish rack to dry and store them folded. They should last for a couple months at least and if they get a bit crumbly or soft you can add more wax or even just iron again to refresh. The best part is, when they finally do get a bit gross you can throw them in the garbage knowing they are biodegradable. Heck, you could even compost them. That's so awesome.
I made six sheets and only used 1/2 cup of pellets so there are tons left. I am also now putting aside cute scraps just for this purpose and let's just say, I know what some people will be getting for Christmas already! Happy back to school everyone! See ya later plastic wrap...