Plastic food wrap is a hard product to have love for. It’s disposable, which means you’re buying it just so you can turn around and throw it away; it’s made out of plastic; and it always gets stuck to itself when you try to use it. Annoying!
Well, as of last week, this is one product that I’ve banished from my kitchen. Yep, I’m done with plastic wrap. From now on, I’ll be using reusable food wrap, made from beeswax-dipped cloth. Maybe you’ve seen this stuff, since it’s kind of “in” right now. It’s literally just a piece of fabric that’s been coated in beeswax. The wax makes the fabric waterproof and air-tight, and it gives it just enough body, so that when you press it around the edge of a bowl or casserole dish, it stays put. Pretty nifty. It even folds around a sandwich nicely.
There are actually several companies selling this product right now, but as easy as it is to make, I opted to make my own, which means I also got to pick the fabric.
Ask your grandmothers or your great-grandmothers how they covered food before plastic wrap came along, and you might just find that they used beeswax-dipped fabric. Yep, while beeswax food wrap is trendy right now, it’s far from a new idea.
Ready to banish plastic wrap from your kitchen? Here’s how to make your own reusable food wrap.
What You’ll Need:
Beeswax pellets (Beeswax bars will work, too. I just find the pellets easier to work with)
Pinking shears or scissors
A double boiler or crockpot for melting wax
I used yellow beeswax pellets because that’s what I had on hand. If you’re ordering beeswax for this project, you might want to order white. Just a thought.
What You Do:
Select the fabric that you want to use for your food wraps. Thin cotton works best for this project. Something that’s about the thickness of a bed sheet is ideal.
Heat your wax in a double boiler on the stove. This doesn’t need to be a fancy set up. Just fill a pan with water, and stick another container with your wax, inside of that one. Wax is flammable stuff, and this is the only safe way to heat it on the stove. I’d recommend dedicating a pan/container for melting wax, so you don’t have to worry about the clean up. Just pick up a cheapie from a thrift store or yard sale, if you don’t have anything you want to sacrifice.
Or do what I did, and melt your wax in a crockpot. I’ve always melted my wax on the stove, but I recently switched to melting it in the crockpot. It’s just easier. You don’t have to watch it as closely, and since you don’t have to remove the wax from the heat when you’re ready to work with it, you don’t have to worry about it hardening back up before you’re done with it.
I’m not particularly fond of newer crockpots because they cook at too high of a temperature, so I had one that I wasn’t using. That hotter temp is perfect for heating wax, so now it’s a dedicated crafting crockpot.
There really isn’t a way to measure how much wax you’ll need for this project, so just give it your best guess. You can always melt more wax, if you end up needing it.
While you’re waiting for your wax to melt, cut your food wraps out of your fabric. I had specific containers that I wanted to make wraps for, so I spread my fabric out on the table, face down, and traced around those containers. Then, I added a couple inches to those measurements to be sure the wraps would overhang the containers.
Once that was done, I cut my wraps out with a pair of pinking shears. If you don’t have pinking shears, a pair of scissors will do just fine.
I made round wraps for my mixing bowls, and rectangular wraps to fit my 8×8″ and 9×9″ cake pans, as well as my 13×9 casserole dishes. I also made some smaller wraps for sandwiches.
And because I wanted them to be easy to grab and use, I opted to use a different fabric for each size.
By the time you’re done cutting, your wax should be melted, or very close to it. Dip your first piece of fabric into the wax, and retrieve it with a pair of tongs. It’ll be pretty hot, so be careful. Open the fabric up, and allow the excess wax to drip back into the pot.
Then, drape your food wrap over a drying rack (real or make-shift), and allow it to dry completely. I realize this is a little ironic given the topic of this post, but I put wax paper over each rung on my drying rack, so it wouldn’t get waxy.
Repeat with your remaining pieces of fabric, until they’ve all been transformed into reusable food wraps. That’s really all there is to it.
Doesn’t that look prettier than plastic wrap? I’ve already given a set as a gift.
Just place a food wrap over the container you want to cover, and press around the edges. The warmth from your hands will heat it up just enough to make it hold its shape. To wrap a sandwich or a leftover, just fold the wrap around the food item like a gift. Easy!
Wash your food wraps with dish soap and cold water. Hot water will damage/melt the wax. Allow them to air dry. Then, roll them up, and store them in a drawer until you need them.
How Long Will They Last?
It really just depends on how often you use them, but they should last many months, and possibly up to a year. When they’re no longer waterproof, just melt some more wax, and dip them again.