Eliminate single use plastic with this easy and low cost project. DIY Beeswax Food Wrap takes just minutes to make and lasts for years, eliminating the need for plastic wrap. Use to cover bowls and wrap sandwiches, produce and more! This project makes it easy to be environmentally friendly!
Hi Friends! Today I want to talk to you about reducing, reusing and recycling. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest which is known for being a pretty green corner of the world, not just because of our plethora of trees, but also because our environmental views. My whole life I’ve been trained to always look for a recycling symbol (both when disposing of items and also when buying things from the store) and to always make sure that everything that can be recycled, is recycled. Our recycling and compost bins are always way more filled than our garbage bin and until recently I’ve felt pretty good about my family’s environmental impact on the planet.
My recycling game is strong… but I can’t really say the same thing for my reducing game.
This has been on the front and centre of my mind lately as people like Jason Mamoa, Adrian Grenier, Justin Trudeau and Will and Jaden Smith have been encouraging people to rethink the disposable plastic they use in their every day life and opt for alternative and/or reusable options. In fact, earlier this week Justin Trudeau announced a plan to ban single use plastic items in Canada starting in 2021.
To some, eliminating single use plastic items may seem scary… but it really doesn’t need to be!
Here’s a quick list of what might be eliminated and what you can replace it with:
-Plastic grocery bags–> Replace them with canvas totes like these. I also like to keep a couple of cardboard boxes with handles on them in my trunk. I pull them out of my trunk and put them into the grocery cart when I’m grocery shopping, then put everything back into it after it’s been rung through. I also love the idea of trolley bags. This one has a cooler compartment, egg holder and wine holder.
-Plastic produce bags–> Make the switch to reusable produce bags like these. You’ll be happy you did. Not only are these bags better for the environment, I’ve also found that they keep my produce fresher for far longer than plastic bags do because your produce can breath inside!
-Plastic straws–> There’s just something about drinking through a straw isn’t there? My family switched over to glass straws similar to these a few years ago for when we are drinking at home. We found ours through a local glass maker. Her straws were more expensive than the ones I linked to, but she offers free exchanges on her straws if they break. I like the glass straws because you can see if there is residue left inside. Worried about breakage? Another option is using stainless steel straws or silicone straws. I’m really good about using plastic straws at home, but less good about bringing them with me. Two options to get rid of straws when you are out are to drink straight from the cup eliminating the lid (yay! you just reduced another piece of single use plastic) or with a travel straw.
-Plastic lids on coffee cups or soda fountain drinks–> Travel mugs and travel tumblers come in every shape, size, color and material imaginable. It’s pretty easy to find one that you love that works with your lifestyle. If you frequent your local coffee shop or are a regular visitor to the soda fountain, then getting in the habit of bringing a travel cup with you is pretty easy. I have a friend who has two sets of travel cups for each member of her family. She always has at least one clean set in her car for when the second set is getting cleaned. If you aren’t a regular “beverage buyer” and don’t happen to have a cup in your car, opt to go lid free or drink your beverage in house. Many cafes have reusable cups for customers staying in the cafe.
-Ziplock bags–> Our school has a zero waste lunch policy so we were strongly encouraged to eliminate ziplock bags from school lunches quite awhile ago (school lunches was where we were using the majority of our ziplock bags. My kids and husband each have a fabric lunch tote that they use each day. We have some of these Rubbermaid LunchBlox which we love because of the different sizes they come in and how they snap together. There is even a cooler pack that you can snap to the bottom of your containers to keep lunch cool. We’ve also used bento box style lunch boxes for the kids which we loved when they were little, but which we don’t use as much now that they are older. To try to reduce the use of plastic bags at home we have purchased glass containers with lids in a variety of sizes.
-Plastic cling wrap–> And that brings us to the DIY for today’s post! DIY Beeswax Food Wrap. Plastic wrap is one of those things that can be super hard to get rid of because it doesn’t seem like there is anything that can replace it… or so I thought. A few years ago when I was browsing at my local craft fair I saw a company selling beeswax food wraps. Intrigued, I bought a set and I still have that original set 3 years later! The set that I bought was made with plain colored fabric. I really wanted to have some in fun patterns to use for my kid’s lunches, and to make dishes that I was bringing to potlucks a little bit prettier. I also wanted to have more of them and to have them in different sizes than the ones I had. So what’s a crafty girl to do? DIY her own!
(Don’t feel like DIYing? Buy a set here.)
These DIY Beeswax Food Wraps are so easy to make and are made with just cloth and beeswax! To use them you just warm the wrap in your hand to soften the beeswax and then wrap it whatever food you are wanting to save. The food wrap is breathable (see my comment above about my produce keeping longer in mesh bags than plastic because it can breath), washable, reusable, good for the environment and so easy to make!
Caring for your DIY Beeswax Food Wrap:
- Before you use your DIY Beeswax Food Wrap for the first time, crumple it into a ball. Roll it around in your hands to warm it up. Flatten it and then crumple it up into a ball again. This helps to soften up the beeswax and make your food wrap more malleable.
- When using your DIY Beeswax Food Wrap make sure your hands are warm and then warm up the food wrap. The beeswax is what makes the wrap stick to whatever you are wrapping it around so you want to make sure to soften it first.
- To clean your DIY Beeswax Food Wrap use cool water and a mild dish soap. Let air dry.
Ready to learn how to make DIY Beeswax Food Wrap? Read on!
DIY Beeswax Food Wrap
-Fabric (I like to use quilters cotton you want something fairly thin and breathable)
-Beeswax (I love these beeswax pellets because they melt quickly) 1/3 of a cup of pellets should cover two 10″ by 10″ pieces of food wrap nicely
-Pinking shears (These are the ones I own and love)
–Cricut EasyPress or iron
-Parchment Paper (this is the brand I use)
-A glass container for melting the beeswax and a way to melt it like a double boiler (I used these little prep bowls, set it in a frying pan with an inch of water on medium heat and created a hot water bath to melt it)
-A heat safe surface for ironing your food wrap
-Something to stir your beeswax with as it melts (I use chopsticks)
Step 1: Cut your fabric. I find that having a variety of sizes is really nice. For these photos I created 10 inch wraps, but I also have them in 12 inch, 8 inch and 6 inch pieces. I use a ruler and draw a square on my fabric and then cut it out using pinking shears. The pinking shears will help keep your fabric from fraying.
Step 2: Melt your beeswax. I only melt 1/3 of a cup of beeswax at a time because the beeswax will harden quickly once off the heat. There are a variety of ways to melt beeswax. For this project I put my beeswax into glass prep bowls and set it in a frying pan with an inch of water over medium heat. I carefully stirred my beeswax with chopsticks to help it melt faster. A double boiler system would also be a great way to melt your beeswax.
Step 3: Lay two large pieces of parchment paper on a heat safe surface. On top of your parchment paper lay a piece of your fabric with the design facing down. “Paint” your beeswax onto the fabric making sure to cover the entire surface including the edges.
Lay a second piece of fabric on top of the first piece of fabric with the design facing up.
Lay a large piece of parchment paper over the fabric. Press with an iron or EasyPress set at low heat, moving the iron over all areas of the fabric to heat it. This will only take 10-20 seconds.
When you lift the parchment paper you will see that both pieces of fabric are saturated with beeswax.
Carefully separate the two pieces of fabric. Depending on how thick you laid down your beeswax you may want to do a second coat. To do this I give my fabric wrap a few minutes to harden and then flip it so that the fabric design is pointing up. I use my paintbrush to lay down another layer of beeswax and then set my second piece of fabric wrap on top of the first one with the design facing down. I then cover with parchment paper and heat with my iron. (You may need to remelt your beeswax before this step.)
How do you know if you have enough beeswax on your wrap? Your fabric and beeswax should feel like they are one. If you don’t have enough beeswax your fabric will still feel like fabric. If you have too much beeswax your fabric you may feel a thick layer of beeswax laying on top of the fabric instead of infused within it. If you don’t have enough beeswax add another coat and heat again. If you have too much beeswax, grab another piece of fabric, lay it on top of your beeswax wrap and repeat the heating process.
Once you are satisfied with the saturation of the beeswax, lay your beeswax wraps in a single layer on clean sheets of parchment paper and set aside to dry.
Have fun with your new DIY Beeswax Food Wraps and feel good that you are doing one more thing to support the environment! Don’t forget to check out the tips above for caring for your Easy DIY Beeswax Food Wrap!
Tell me… What steps have you taken to reduce your carbon footprint? What areas do you struggle with?
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