A couple of weeks ago, I decided to attend to a workshop to learn how to make reusable food wraps. These days there are how-to videos and articles everywhere, but I didn’t want to go through all the trial and error process. I needed some inspiration, it is always easier to be guided by an expert.
I was going to wait until I actually tried to make them at home to write about it, but today I’ve decided to share some info and resources, so perhaps you feel inspired to give it a go.
What’s a reusable food wrap?
For those of you who are not familiar with these products, they are the replacement for plastic cling film. Basically they are pieces of cotton fabric, that have been coated so that they become sticky, malleable and water resistance.
You can use them to wrap pretty much anything you usually wrap in plastic: sandwiches, snacks, bread, fruits and veggies. You can also cover your bowls and you normally do with plastic. Later, all you have to do is wash them with soap and cold water (as if it was a plate), let it dry and it is ready to be reused again and again.
I have been using this type of wraps for around 5 years, this is one of the easy swaps I made in my kitchen, and honestly I don’t miss disposable cling film at all. These wraps are perfect, easy to use and also easy to clean.
How to make them
The version I learned to make was using beeswax, but you can also make them with some other waxes made of candelilla and soy (these are the vegan friendly options).
There are several ways to make them, I suppose it depends on personal preferences after you have experimented a bit with them. The information below are general instructions based on my research and what I learned recently.
- Cotton fabric
- Jojoba oil
- Pine resin *
* It is a solid form of resin obtained from trees like pine. It is quite common to find this ingredient in most food wraps because apparently it gives extra stickiness to the mixture. Honestly, I was not very happy with the idea of using this resin because it is an imported product (from China in this instance, perhaps in other countries you can get if from a local source), it comes in plastic, I don’t know how sustainable that industry is etc. I did a bit of research afterwards, and some people don’t use the resin, so I am planning to try that option later and see how it goes.
1. Prepare the fabric
- To start you need a piece of fabric. A natural fibre like cotton is ideal.
- Thin fabric is apparently a better option for smaller wraps.
- Just cut it to shape (rectangles, circles and squares are the common ones).
- Remember to wash the fabric before you use it.
2. Melt beeswax
- If using pine resin, the ratio seems to depend on what you like. I did a bit a research on this one and it seems anything from 4 – 8 parts of beeswax to 1 part of pine resin should work.
- Just melt in a pot and when it is all liquid, add the jojoba oil, 1-2 tablespoons depending on the ratio you are using.
- You can either let the mixture set and use it later (in that instance you’ll need to pour it into a mould) or you can add it to your fabric in a liquid form (check this video). In the workshop, we used the mixture already set.
3. Add the mixture to the fabric
- Cover your surfaces
- On a sheet of baking paper put the fabric.
- Grate the wax on top of the fabric
- Using another sheet of baking paper, slide the hot iron until the fabric looks completely wet.
- Remove the baking paper and let it drip. It will set very quickly.
- Cut the edges (optional). We used zig zag pinking shears to cut the edges of the fabric, it looks quite nice. It is like cutting paper when it is set.
- Try the wrap with your hands, if you feel some areas are not quite uniform, add more wax and repeat the process.
This video shows the process. This method doesn’t use any pine resin:
If you are in Melbourne and want to learn from an expert, please contact Here and there Makers in Boronia, they organise these workshops.
The teacher was Holly, she is a beekeeper and she is very interested in sustainability too. Holly also taught us how to make beeswax candles, after we made our food wraps.
The group was small perhaps 8 people. Holly gave us all the information and tips, and then we did our own food wraps and candles.
You can check Holly’s website, she sells beeswax blocks and also the ready-to-use wax mixture to prepare the food wraps. I bought one:
Note: I have no association with them nor I am receiving any commission, I am recommending them because I like the work they do!
“Who protects wild animals trying to cope with an increasingly polluted environment that they didn’t choose? It is up to us as individuals and communities to refuse single use plastic” – Beth Terry
That’s it for today. I’ll probably write another post in the future, when I have had more experience making these wraps. Have you made your own food wraps before? Let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,