Here are some of the sites I found that led me on this particular leg of my journey in learning.
- How To Make Reusable Versions Of The Top 13 Kitchen Staples
- Make Your Own Reusable Food Wrap
- How To Make Beeswax Fabric
- DIY Reusable Food Wrap (I really like this one)
- Bulk Natural Beeswax Pastilles
The really amazing thing about this project is how quick and easy it was, once I had completed my research and obtained some beeswax. From the time I gathered the materials, until I had produced a useable wrap took about 20 minutes for the first one, and even less time for the second one. Most of the time was spent figuring out how big I wanted to cut the fabric and how to get the beeswax pellets to stay consistently spread out.
Here is how it went. First, I chose a piece of fabric. This was a small piece that I have had around for quite sometime thinking it would come in handy for something. And besides that, it has hearts on it and I think it's pretty. Then I rounded up the pinking shears and the box of beeswax.
After I ran across the sites that discussed how to make these reusable wraps with beeswax, I then began researching bulk beeswax. My first thought was to buy a block of wax, figuring it would be more economical. What I found out was that small pellets, or pastilles, cost much less than the blocks, so I compared many different sites and chose one that had the best deal for wax and shipping. I bought my wax quite some time ago, but I have included the link for that site.
The next step was to figure out what size to make the wrap. I have several large bowls I do a variety of things with that I frequently cover with plastic wrap, like this bowl of coleslaw. I turned the larger bowl upside down and gauged the size from that. The smaller bowl, with the coleslaw in it, I eyeballed right side up.
The temperature recommended by most sites is 150 degrees or the lowest setting your oven will go. I started the oven preheating while I figured out what to do next.
I used pinking shears to cut the fabric to help prevent raveling. Although, I figured impregnating the fabric with beeswax would take care of any tendency to unravel. Next, I covered my largest cookie sheet with a piece of foil that was larger than the fabric. Several sites recommend parchment paper instead of foil, but I don't use parchment paper. The foil worked just fine. I folded up the edges of the foil to keep any stray beeswax pellets from escaping, or any melted wax from dripping off and onto the bottom of the oven.
Since my fabric was wider than my cookie sheet and tended to sag a little in the middle, I placed a smaller cookie sheet upside down on the large cookie sheet for support. This helped to keep the beeswax from rolling to the middle of the fabric.
You can tell from reading the linked articles that the first time you try this, adding an adequate amount of beeswax involves guesswork. This is how much I put on the first piece of fabric.
I set the timer for seven minutes, and gathered up a couple of hangers and some clothes pins. Then I cut the second smaller piece for the coleslaw bowl. Before I knew it, the first one was finished.
The directions say to remove the fabric from the foil immediately, and they are right. If you don't the beeswax will start solidifying very quickly and your fabric will stick to the foil. It is hot, so be careful. One end of the first one did stick a little because I took the time to take this picture to show you the small puddles of excess wax. I put too much on the first piece, but not way too much. It gave me an idea of how much less to put on the second piece.
I hung the wrap up on the hanger and left it to dry while I got the second piece ready and put it in the oven. While it was 'baking' I put away the wax and fabric, then took the first piece down to play with.
When the second piece was done, I found one area without any wax. There were a few small puddles of wax on the foil, so I soaked up some of this excess wax in the bare spot. That seemed to work okay. I think I will be able to tell how well it worked after I use it for a while.
The fabric turns out kind of stiff. I could stand it up on edge, or fold it, and it would hold it's shape. But at the same time, it is very flexible and will keep whatever shape you give it.
The directions say to use the warmth of your hands to shape it to a bowl or pan. This works very well, surprisingly so.
This larger piece of fabric will work on a large mixing bowl or on a 13 x 9 baking dish.
I have yet to use these. I will let you know what I think after I have tried them out for a while. I expect them to get soiled and stained during use, but that doesn't seem to be a problem. The directions for cleaning are to rinse in cold water and rub with a dishcloth as needed. Don't use hot water, since it will cause the wax to start melting. These wraps cannot be used on hot pans since it will cause the beeswax to melt, but it should work great on leftover casseroles, bread while it rising or many other dishes, like that bowl of coleslaw.
One of the things that attracted me to this project was the use of beeswax. It is a natural product with no chemical or synthetic components. What would make it even better, is producing it ourselves from our own bees, but if that ever happens, it is a long ways down the road.
Learning. I talked about it just recently. It can be a lot of fun or a drudgery. Learning is what you make it. As a teacher, it was a challenge to try to make learning fun for my students. I wasn't always successful. But one thing I always tried to model was a love of learning. When I found something to be fascinating, or could make it funny and enjoyable, my students tried so much harder to learn. Maybe that's one of the reasons Frank and I love to learn. We long ago developed an attitude that led to a life long experience of learning. And I am grateful we did.
Until next time - Fern