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making reusable sandwich wraps with cotton infused with beeswax...help!

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
anybody know where I can find instructions online to make a natural, reusable food (sandwich) wrap made from a cotton fabric infused with a blend of beeswax ? I want to keep my food fresh without using plastic baggies and apparently this is one of the healthy options of making a reusable one. Apparently the beeswax gives a kind of seal on the cotton....

I would love some help with this!!!!!!!!!!!!
post #2 of 31
Wow, that sounds cool. I would like to give making some a try too, hopefully someone else can be more help:
post #3 of 31
I was looking for directions on this ayear ago becaus e also thought this would make great bibs. I scoured the net and found nothing on it. Just got frustrated that oil cloth was now "plastic cloth". Couldn't even find a source to buy it. I know there's a recipe out there.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moon mountain mama View Post
I was looking for directions on this ayear ago becaus e also thought this would make great bibs. I scoured the net and found nothing on it. Just got frustrated that oil cloth was now "plastic cloth". Couldn't even find a source to buy it. I know there's a recipe out there.
At least it not just me doing a rubbish google search! I am so frustrated about this, there is an etsy seller is makes an amazing one from a material made from a cotton and hemp blend which is then infused with beeswax and plant extracts...i would purchase from her but I simply cannot afford too, they are $17 each and while I appreciate they are lovingly handmade I would need at least 5 for my daughter to take a clean one to school each day and I would like a few for me aswell. Just can't afford it.................hopefully someone on here will see the thread and might now how to do it! fingers crossed!
post #5 of 31
mamauk, I posted our question on the sewing and serging thread and received two answers. Check it out, nothing definitive but at least a little more info.
post #6 of 31
I've used this pattern

http://www.craftstylish.com/item/432...-sandwich-wrap

you could alter it to fit your fabric needs. I will try to find my old sites but there are a few with online patterns. I made some bags a while back but I like this design for us. I'll look


here are some more:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2342669_make...wich-wrap.html

--on this one I wanted to say if you have a computer workshop program you can *add a shape* to a document and specify it to have a 11 inch diameter and it will draw the octogon perfectly for you. Hit print and there you have your pattern. That is what I did. Or you could use a slice of bread as a template and draw the octogon around it to make your pattern.

another pattern basically had you measure the size of bread you typically use and multiply by three. Use that as the length and then measure the width of the bread. You are basically making a long rectangle and sew up one end. now you have the *flap* you can use velcro,buttons,snaps what ever you want for a closure.
post #7 of 31
You got me curious, so I did a quick search:

from http://users.chariot.net.au/~dna/beeswax.htm

Quote:
Treating Cloth Material with Beeswax

To add to the land of milk, honey and beeswax, directions for treating cloth with beeswax is explained next. This is useful for individuals who use cloth to cover their kefir-making jars. Cotton, linen, silks or rayon material, including nylon [the material used for curtains e.g.] can be treated with beeswax.

This shall...

seal the material so less to no air, dust, microbes and molds find their way into the kefir.

waterproof the material.

render the material bacteriostatic and fungistatic [prevents the growth of bacteria, yeasts and mold on the material itself].

help to reduce chemical reactions between certain nylon material and the acidic component of kefir.

reduce energy cost and eliminates the use of detergent [simply wash the waxed cloth with warm or cold water].

How to treat natural fibers [including nylon fibers or materials] with beeswax

On a suitable surface that can withstand heat, place down a rectangular sheet of brown paper. Place another rectangular sheet of aluminium foil to match and mate the brown paper, edge for edge. Fold in half to make a square, then open and lay flat once again, with foil facing upward [this it to create a mid line seam as a reference point].

Place the material intended to be treated with beeswax, on one side of the mid line [in the middle of the square]. Evenly distribute a small amount of beeswax shavings over the material and then fold the paper-foil over to sandwich the material. Pass a hot iron [set to medium] over the brown paper to distribute an even layer of melting beeswax over the entire area of the material, which is sandwiched between the brown paper-foil.

Quickly open the brown paper-foil while still hot from ironing, and remove the wax treated material. That's it! You now have beeswax treated material. You can place the waxed material over your kefir jar, and secure it in place with an elastic rubber band, or tie it with string.
I'd like to try it too. If you do it let us know how it goes!
post #8 of 31
curious if anyone has tried this?? i was thinking about how one could infuse cloth with beeswax and thought maybe by heating a well blended mixture of wax and water and then dipping the fabric in and laying it flat or hanging it to dry. any thoughts on that method?? i will have to experiment with this....
post #9 of 31
Have you thought about how you would clean these afterwards? I considered making small bags like this but knew, no matter how careful I was, someone would toss one in the laundry and I'd have wax all over our clothes.

I've worked with beeswax on a number of different project. If I were going to do this with fabric I'd melt the wax, dip the fabric, and the place the fabric on paper towels on a cookie sheet. Then put it in the oven on a low temp until any excess wax had flowed out.
post #10 of 31

encaustic (wax) treatment for fabric

I paint in encaustic (beeswax and copal-resin pigmented paint). I have not done any fabric coating for utilitarian use like sandwich bags, but it is my desire to do this that brought me to this discussion (via google search). Here are my comments based on what I know from using and working with beeswax as an artist.

Beeswax melts at 140*F, and is flammable at 212*F, so DO NOT try to heat fabric in the oven until excess wax flows out -- you will have a hellacious oven and house fire.

Water and wax will NOT mix into an emulsion, so you can't heat, mix and dip, as one person suggested, unles you use an emulsiant like lye-- at whcih point you are making soap, and will loose the water-barrier properties of beeswax that you are seeking in a lunch wrap.

Don't mix beeswax with parrifin or turpintine, as neither are food safe (parrifin is a petroleum byproduct)

Beeswax is ralatively supple at warm temps, but will become brittlel at cold temps. Therfore if you wrap frozen or cold cold sandwiches, or plan to pack lunch with a cold pack (for food safety), or put luiunch into the refigerator, you may want to make the beeswax more supple so you don't dine on dandruff sized flakes.

If you treat your fabric before sewing it, you will have to dedicate a sewing machine to this (it will have a short short life), or sew by hand.

Based on my experience, this is what I plan to do. I will post my results if and when I ever get around to doing the project.

I will create wraps, rather than bags, and prehem organic cotton or hemp squares measuring about 20 " across the diagonal, with tying tape/ribbon attached to the sqares at one corner and at an approriate off-center mark on the otside of the wrap. I'm not very good at using patterns, my machine is broken, and I sew well by hand.

To treat fabric I will melt and mix together 1 part oil to 3-4 parts beeeswax. I will use a food--grade highly filtered oil -- not sure what kind, but certainly not a virgin olive oil.... something very filtered, light and pure. Remember, oil will b/c rancid over time... these cloths may last for a year of so, but I plan on having to remake these on an annual basis or abandon being the most pc green-gal in the hood.

streach fabric on a frame, and point with melted wax-oil mix, making sure to work into the fibers.

After cooling, I will place between generous layers of CLEAN newsprint paper (no print) and iron with a low heat to remove excess oil. You can buy clean newsprint at art stores. The inks used on newspapers is icky... not foodsafe.

Hand-launder in cool (not cold) water with a light Dr. Bronners squirt before use.

After each use, hand-launder aind hang dry n a similar fashon.

WOW that's a lot of work to do this... Maybe I'll just continue to buy wax sandwich bags. I get a brand called Western Family -- they are brown recycled wax paper bags. Love them. We try to reuse them at least once if they don't get too wrinkled.

IF I EVER try making these bags, I will post my results. If anyone else tried this, I'd love to konwo yoru experience.

Sara
post #11 of 31
Wow, thanks for the great ideas, Sara. I might have to try it soon!

I use those Western Family bags too.
post #12 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamaUK View Post
anybody know where I can find instructions online to make a natural, reusable food (sandwich) wrap made from a cotton fabric infused with a blend of beeswax ? I want to keep my food fresh without using plastic baggies and apparently this is one of the healthy options of making a reusable one. Apparently the beeswax gives a kind of seal on the cotton....

I would love some help with this!!!!!!!!!!!!
I don't know about the beeswax but if you are making snack bags for travelling food what about just doing a double layer of tightly woven fabric (ie thrifted high thread count sheets). For the amount of time the food would be in the fabric, I would imagine it would be good enough to keep it fairly fresh. You could make a bunch of them for pennies.

hth
Karen
post #13 of 31
I have not made these, but got a set of abeego.ca cloths which are just as you described.

Personally I find them a bit of a pain. They are supposed to be used in place of plastic wrap over plates, bowls etc. The seal is quite poor. I also messed up one because I used it on food that still had some heat in it and it got melted.

You can't really wash them well (can only use cool water).

For reusable sandwich wraps we just use a large square of PUL (apparently food safe) and fold it up in there. I experimented with bags, but the square seems to be better for us as we make bread and the size of the slices varies.
post #14 of 31

redvlagrl,

 

iv'e read in several places that PUL fabrics are not considered food safe!  please, please contact the manufacturers of the PUL you are using and verify this for yourself!

 

as for the beeswax coating, this sounds labor-prohibitive to me...  just sayin i probably won't go to all that trouble for snack bags, especially since we live in an area that gets chilly in the winter and i wouldn't want my kids to be dealing with "dandruff" from their snack bags.  here's what i've come up with so far:

 

making your own oilcloth seems to be the best choice for my application, maybe someone will benefit from this...  cotton duck or canvas from the home decor section of the fabric store comes in a wide variety of patterns, and will probably work well.  i've read that painting on linseed oil makes great oilcloth, and is abolutely food safe and biodegradable (BONUS!!), but you have to stretch fabric over a frame and dry for like 4 days and repeat 6-8 times.  OUCH!  too much...  on the other hand if you make the item, then dip it in linseed oil and let dry...  you only have to dip once or twice to achieve similar results.  still a long dry time, but this seems like something i'll actually attempt. 

 

as for the lining, nylon ripstop is food safe and can be found at most local fabric stores.  be sure if you buy coated ripstop you turn the shiny coated side AWAY from the food, as the coating is NOT food safe.  you want the matte side with the nylon ripstop crosshatched threads to be facing your food. 

 

good luck girls, and i'll post again if & when i actually get this done and let you know how it goes!

 

post #15 of 31

There have been a LOT of discussions on the baby wearer on whether on not PUL is food safe. The last I read was that it was ok. It's a toughie, isn't it?

 

Let us know how you make out.

post #16 of 31

I am interested in this topic but wow these natural waxed cloth systems are all too complicated for me to undertake though I like the idea very much.

 

As for using plain tight weave cloth for the same, I have taken to just wrapping my son's sandwich in his cloth napkin and putting that inside the lunchbox. Seems fine. I make the sandwich usually the night before and its in the lunchbox, in the fridge, all night until noon the next day, so maybe... 15 hours. I also did buy some natural parchment paper sacks (snack/sandwich size) and I do use them sometimes. That is not ideal as they are throwaway and also not terribly thrifty, but they are compostable and I decided they are preferable to plastic when throwaway is

 

I actually bought some reusable cotton snack/sandwich sacks and find them a little annoying. They seem to only want to fit a very limited range of things. I think I agree with PPs that a square of material is easier to fold around any size of food.

post #17 of 31

We use stainless steel sandwich containers from www.lifewithoutplastic.com . They work great and just go in the dishwasher.

post #18 of 31

I have an Etsy shop and make baby/toddler shoes. I coat the soles ( made of several layers of organic cotton sewn together) of my toddler size shoes with beeswax to make them more weather resistant- 

 

Here is how I do it- 

 

I have an old glass baking dish that I shave some beeswax onto 

 

Then I heat the oven up to like 250 and let the wax melt 

 

Take the glass baking dish out of the oven and run the fabric along the bottom of the dish, trying to get as even a coating as possible (for me, I've already cut the fabric shape I need out, so if you were making sand witch baggies, I would make the baggies first, sew them and do this as a final step) 

 

Then I wash and dry it on low with a few towels throw in- I've never had any issues with wax getting on anything in the washer or dryer 

 

Hope this helps a bit : ) 

post #19 of 31

No first hand experience here, but just saw this link on a different forum....

http://www.shtfblog.com/waxed-linen-a-recyclable-reusable-tinfoil-alternative-for-food-storage/

post #20 of 31

ok so i tried the "make your own oilcloth" by dipping heavy cotton home decor fabric into linseed oil.  i wasn't pleased for several reasons:  1. the linseed oil is a dark amber and discolors the fabric; 2. it takes weeks to dry to the touch; and 3. it smells like a garage for about a week, wherever you put it.  just trying to save you time if you decide to try it. 

 

what i did do and i found to be successfull was i laminated HD fabric with a roll of clear glossy iron-on vinyl, purchased at joann, $10 for 17" x 2 yards.  good results, but it's still vinyl, so you have to make sure it's not touching the food.

 

hope that helps :)

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