Make Your Own Eco Food Wrap

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Happy spring!

I don’t know about you, but I am increasingly wary of plastic wrap and increased illness from the chemicals in much of our allegedly “food safe” equipment. Foil is supposed to be a good alternative, however it is getting very expensive, and I am not a big fan of aluminum, either. Waxed paper works well for short-term storage, until it gets damp. While researching the topic, I discovered Eco food wrap made with cotton and bee’s wax for sale, online. It is fabulous, but pricey, at $18.00+ a sheet.Then I discovered simple instructions for making your own!  I will credit the process with a link to the original how-to instructions at the very bottom of this blog post.

A few hardy souls were making these waxed sheets several years ago, by dipping cloth in bee’s wax or brushing it on.  Both sounded like overly messy adventures.  This new method is easy, and can be accomplished quickly with an electric iron or in the oven.  This must be similar to old-fashioned oil cloth, though they probably used paraffin, rather than bee’s wax, I’m guessing.

I made the above sheet this morning in less than 15 minutes.  It is obviously not suitable for every food storage use, but great for brown bag lunch sandwiches, cheese, butter, and probably other applications I have not yet discovered.  I am very happy with the results, and plan to make several more.

12″ x 12″ plain, washed cotton fabric
Once the fabric shape and size is determined and cut out, trim the edges with pinking shears to prevent future unravelling of the unfinished edges of fabric.

You’ll need an old bread board or another surface that can take the heat from the iron.  I used an oversized,  3/4″ thick HDPE cutting board.  Secure the parchment to the board with tape because it will slide around quite a bit if you don’t. Position the fabric on the parchment right side down. Plug in an iron and allow to heat on high/cotton setting, no steam.

Sprinkle bee’s wax pastilles over fabric surface. I may have used a bit too much, as I had to blot some excess bee’s wax that oozed out of the edges.  Plan to use almost this much, as you want it to melt evenly into fabric with no bare spots. If you end up with areas not saturated enough, simply put a few more pastilles on the area, cover with parchment and re-iron.

Now that the iron is hot, place it on the parchment paper over the bee’s wax.  Before you use a normal ironing motion, anchor the parchment by flat pressing the iron in the center and corners.   Then the parchment won’t slide off the bee’s wax pellets.

As you press the parchment with the iron you will notice areas of the parchment        darkening. Keep going, until the edges are as uniformly dark as the center is.

When you can see the pattern on the fabric clearly through the top layer of parchment it is nearly done.

  If bee’s wax oozes from the edges, use the edge of the iron to press it out evenly beyond the edges of the fabric.

Keep pressing until all the ooze is on the outside edges of the fabric.  If there still seems to be too much wax laying on the fabric, place an old towel over the fabric and cover with the top parchment paper. Re-press with the iron and the towel will absorb the excess wax. Better yet, make several eco-sheets at once, and use the next planned eco wrap sheet, instead of an old towel, to absorb some of that bee’s wax. Then none will be wasted.

  

As you can see by the dark areas in the towel above, a lot of excess wax was absorbed by the old dish towel.

Next, while still warm, pull the parchment and dishcloth off of the waxed fabric.  Hang on a hanger or clothesline till dry.  Enjoy!

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Dubliner Cheese, wrapped like a gift package.

The idea for this project came from diynatural.com/reusablefoodwraps