June 7, 2016

DIY Beeswax Fabric: Ditch that Cling Wrap!

My daughter has a lunch bag. And every day I pack that lunch bag with a rotating list of things she likes one week and decides she doesn’t like the next. This constant guesswork is one of the untold joys of parenting. Trying to remember in my groggy pre-coffee state whether or not she likes blackberries this week is like wading through a murky pool. If I squint hard enough and turn my head in just the right way, I can maybe recall the tail ends of complaints and newfound dislikes. I should really thank my daughter though, since I’m pretty sure she’s only trying to help me keep my mind sharp (who needs Luminosity when you have a kid, amiright?!).

Lunches can be the bane of parenting existence. It’s tough continually trying to find a balance between stuff your kid will actually eat and stuff that’s healthy and adult-approved. It can feel like a full-out panic. Every. Single. Morning. Okay, it’s more like a drag-my-feet-to-the-kitchen-dread, than an actual panic, but lunches are a pain. Then add to the annoyance the Jenga-puzzle game played trying to finagle tiny containers into a tiny lunch bag every morning, and I can sort of see why my childhood was riddled with bruised apples and squished sandwiches.

My daughter’s hands-down favourite lunch is what she calls “a lunch of her favourite things”. This is the daily go-to that involves apple slices, berries, cucumber rounds, some hummus, a half a sandwich, a chunk of cheese, and maybe a few olives, if today’s the day she still likes olives, that is. The only drawback with “a lunch of her favourite things” is that I’m limited by how many items I can jam in her lunch bag. Her cute, very pink, little insulated lunch bag can only accommodate 4 or 5 containers, which is definitely not enough for all of those favourites!

I’ve tried, for almost an entire year to come up with clever ways to get as many things in there as possible. Since I can’t put olives and apples in the same container (*barf!*) I have had to do a little brainstorming. And I decided it was high time to actually make those beeswax fabric snack bags I’ve been planning to do since September. It’s not a new idea here, people. It’s actually an old thing that lost popularity and then gained it again. Go look on Pinterest. It’ll be there. If you haven’t heard of it, the premise is that beeswax fabric replaces snack bags and cling wrap. You can use it to cover bowls of leftovers, wrap sandwiches in, and even sew up some little snack bags to hold cut up carrots, celery, or grapes. The best part is, you can just give it a quick wipe clean with soap and water. Beeswax fabric is pretty cool because it uses the heat from your hands to soften and mold itself around objects. So, you can wrap a piece around the cut end of a watermelon, or fold it around an oddly shaped bun.

This promises to be a great solution to my 5 container limit. Now, if I make enough bags, I can actually include all of those favourites, every day. This means no more thinking! No more thinking! Think about it…

beeswax fabric snack bag, perfect for those school lunches!

Beeswax Fabric

Here’s what you need:

Beeswax (for this project I used decolourized beeswax because I didn’t want the final product to smell like beeswax, which smells lovely, but I worried it would transfer the scent onto food items. Feel free to use regular beeswax, just be aware that you will get that nice, sweet scent on the final product)

Cotton Fabric (I used an old set of sheets, which are nice and thin and easy to work with)

Baking sheet

Tin foil

A clean, inexpensive, bristle paintbrush (you can hang on to it for the next time you do a beeswax project, because that wax ain’t ever coming off!)

So here’s what I did:

Preheat oven to 170-185 degrees.

Cover the baking sheet with tin foil. If you have an old baking sheet that you use for projects, use that one. The beeswax is really annoying to get off things otherwise.

Lay fabric flat on tin foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle beeswax on fabric, trying to keep it fairly even (don’t stress too much over it if it isn’t). I used about 2 tablespoons of grated wax on each of my pieces, which measured approx. 4″x10″.

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Bake in the oven for 5 minutes. At 5 minutes, check on the fabric. If the wax doesn’t look melted, continue to check on it every minute or so, until it melts.

Once melted, remove from oven and use the paintbrush to evenly spread out wax, if necessary. Move quickly. If the beeswax hardens, it will be trickier to get off the tin foil.

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Hang fabric on a clothesline to dry.

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Now, you can leave it as it, and use it as a wrap, or you can sew the sides up to create a little snack bag. One word of wisdom here: beeswax fabric is really sticky and if you want to use a sewing machine, line the fabric with parchment/waxed/tissue paper to make sliding the foot along much easier, or better yet: hand stitch the sides. It’ll look cute and homey.

To care for the fabric: wipe the fabric with a little soap and water. Allow to air dry. Once the fabric gets smelly/stained, simply compost the fabric and start again. How easy is that?!

Happy Packin’!

 

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