How To Make Your Own Reusable Food Wraps
Ready to ditch disposable plastic wraps and switch to eco-friendly beeswax wraps? Here’s how to make your own reusable food wraps in a few easy steps!
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My Peruvian friend Silvana came to visit me in North Carolina recently. She brilliantly suggested making our own reusable food wraps during her stay. I wouldn’t run a business called Permacrafters if I didn’t love sustainable crafts, so I of course jumped on the opportunity! Her visit turned into an all-out Permacrafters summer camp: getting our hands dirty at the Eco-Institute gardening coop, thrifting for secondhand goodies at The Scrap Exchange, and of course, enjoying lots of DIY projects like making wool dryer balls and these beeswax wraps.
Unlike plastic wrap, these beeswax wraps are reusable and depending on the fabric you use, compostable too. A huge added benefit is that they don’t come with a slew of health concerns. Luckily, nowadays, plastic wraps in the United States no longer contain Polyvinylidene Chloride, or PVC, which contains endocrine-disrupting phthalates. However, some may still contain diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA), which can leach into your food. That’s not a good thing since DEHA has been found to be toxic to organs, raises concern in terms of hormone disruption, and is toxic to wildlife. In addition, these single-use plastic wraps cannot be recycled, ultimately leading to further environmental pollution. I realized that it made a lot of sense to skip the health hazard and switch to eco-friendly beeswax wraps, which are free from toxic chemicals and won’t end up in my trashcan.
Other than having a ton of fun making these wraps from scratch, it also gave us the opportunity to support our favorite local business. The colorful cotton fabric used for our reusable food wraps was salvaged from The Scrap Exchange, a one-of-a-kind secondhand store in Durham that is perfect for scrap-lovers. So, if you love DIY projects and have a bit of time on your hands, this craft can be a cheaper alternative to store-bought beeswax wraps.
It took Silvana and I several tries and lots of messy beeswax spills before getting the hang of the best beeswax wrap-making technique. We found that the most graceful way to make these reusable food wraps was to use an iron to spread the beeswax and a spray bottle to add the oil.
Here’s how to make your own reusable food wraps:
- 1 cup of beeswax, grated or pastilles (try to find a local source, I used beeswax that had been gifted to me a while back)
- About ¼ cup Jojoba oil (fill a spray bottle with the oil)
- 100% cotton fabric to ensure the beeswax sticks. Get enough to make about 6 wraps. (We thrifted ours from The Scrap Exchange).
- Parchment paper (unfortunately my reusable baking sheets wouldn’t transmit enough heat)
- Zig Zag Sewing Scissors (to ensure the fabric doesn’t come apart.)
- Fabric Marker
- Using the Zig Zag Sewing Scissors, cut your fabric into the sizes you want. We went with three 6″ x 6″ square, three 9″ x 9″ squares and a couple 13″ x 13″ squares. Use the fabric marker and ruler to help you. Make sure to make as many beeswax wraps as you will need so you won’t find yourself in a pinch.
- Place a piece of parchment paper flat on a table – it must be bigger than the size of your fabric. Lay your fabric down and sprinkle it with beeswax (about 2 tbps. for every piece of fabric). Spray 2 to 3 times with jojoba oil. Set the second parchment paper on top and iron the fabric (ironing on the wool setting). The mix of beeswax and jojoba oil will spread evenly on the fabric.
- Once all the wax has melted, lift the top parchment paper up and let the wax harden for few seconds. Make sure that all edges and corners have been covered.
- Repeat the same process for the other side of the fabric. Set aside to harden, on a drying rack, for instance. Repeat these steps until you have as many wraps as you need.
As with plastic wrap, these beeswax wraps should not be microwaved. Keep in mind that you’ll eventually have to re-wax your pieces of fabric, but they will stay in good shape for quite some time. My only complaint about these wraps is that they aren’t quite as flexible as plastic wrap and not perfect for every food item.
Do you love these reusable food wraps?! Will you be giving this DIY project a try? If you are short on time, but still want to make a zero waste switch, we encourage you to purchase beeswax wraps from Super Bee or Abeego.
You can learn more about reducing your waste in our free online video class: Intro to Zero Waste Living.
Happy crafting, everyone!
Permaculture principles applied:
Plastic cling wrap is not only a wasteful single-use item, it also contains substances that are toxic to wildlife. Choosing to replace cling wrap with reusable food wraps allows us to reduce our trash, as well as reduce the demand for unsustainable resources.
This reusable food wraps DIY project allows you to support local resources, such as your secondhand shops and local beekeepers. Taking an afternoon to make your own beeswax wraps may not be as convenient as purchasing plastic wraps at the grocery store. However, this step will produce more sustainable outcomes for our planet. Of course, you may also want to purchase your beeswax wraps new if you are unable to make them yourself.