For Plastic Free July, I had another go at making beeswax wraps. You can use these to wrap sandwiches, snacks, cheese, cover dishes in the fridge, and pretty much anything you use clingwrap for. They easily wipe clean and you can use them over and over.
The first time I tried these, I used bright red cloth napkins and melted the wax on in the oven. I laid newspaper on the baking tray, to make it easier to clean up the wax afterwards. The drawback with this was the red dye became soluble in the heated wax, which makes me nervous about using it for oily foods! I don’t want cadmium dyes leaching into my cheese. So be careful which fabric you use. Organic cotton or hemp is best. Or at least second-hand cotton.
Then I learned about using an iron to heat the wax, instead of putting the fabric in the oven. I happen to have an old craft iron, to be used for wax only (you can also make beautiful flower hangings for the windows, encaustic art, and get melted candles out of the carpet!). It’s hard to completely clean the wax off again, so use it for clothes at your own peril!
This time I cut up some recycled fabric. I used pinking shears, but you don’t really need to because the wax will prevent the fabric from fraying. This was a child’s bed sheet.
My six year old assistant laid squares of cloth onto thick wads of newspaper.
Then he sprinkled beeswax over the cloth. You need roughly a tablespoon or so for a wrap this size. If you buy beeswax in blocks, you can grate or chop it off in slivers. Be very careful of fingers while doing this, because it’s hard to slice.
While I watched, he ironed the wax on using a low setting. (I had aloe vera ready in the garden for iron burns, but we didn’t need it!) The slick fabric will cling to the iron, so you’ll need to hold a corner carefully.
Set the iron upright, and peel the warm wrap off the paper immediately. Wave it in the air for a few moments to harden.
That’s it! You now have a reusable food wrapper that will hold its shape when you crease it…
…and this is what my son does with things that can hold a crease. After you’ve eaten your sandwich at school, you can make paper (fabric) planes! Can’t do that with plastic wrap!
You can press it around snack or bowls using the heat of your hands to warm the beeswax a little. It’s fairly waterproof and helps to stop food drying out.
After using, brush off crumbs or wipe with cool water. Washing in hot water will eventually remove the wax. I fold my beeswax wraps and keep them in a drawer.