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Crafting to help the environment

August 12, 2018
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Supplies for making reusable beeswax covers include beeswax pellets, cotton material, powdered pine resin, jojoba oil and a microwave-safe dish.

A craft that also helps the environment? Yes, please!

I give you reusable beeswax covers. Think plastic cling wrap but instead of throwing it away after one use, you wash it, let it dry and put it in the drawer to be used again.

Here’s what you need:

Beeswax pellets — $14.99 at Hobby LobbyCotton material, about 9- to 12-inches square — between $1 and $5 at area craft storesFoilCookie sheetGlass bowl or measuring cupTablespoonPlastic spatulaPinking shears (optional)Jojoba oil (optional) — $7.99 at Trader Joe’sPowdered pine resin (optional) — $19.97 at AmazonThin elastic or big rubber band (optional) — about $2 at area craft stores

Directions:

Take your cotton material and with pinking shears cut it into roughly a 9- or 12-inch square. Using the pinking shears will keep the fabric from fraying. There are two ways to make the coating for the covers: using pine resin and jojoba oil, or not. Using the resin will help the covers stick a little better when you fold it or wrap it around a bowl, and the jojoba oil helps the mixture from getting too lumpy when melted. But the two ingredients add to the cost and aren’t absolutely necessary.

If using the resin and oil, melt 4 tablespoons of beeswax pellets with 2 tablespoons of pine resin and half a tablespoon of jojoba oil in a microwave-safe dish. Place in the microwave for 2 minutes, stir, then put the mixture back in for a final 2 minutes.

Place the cotton material on a foil-lined cookie sheet and pour the melted mixture on the material, spreading it out with the plastic spatula until the material is completely coated. Once covered, put the material and cookie sheet in an oven at 210 degrees for 2 minutes to ensure the wax is completely melted.

Once out of the oven, slide the foil and material onto a bigger surface also covered with foil and take the plastic spatula and scrape off any excess wax. Then peel the material off the foil, flip it over and put it back on the foil-lined cookie sheet and in the oven again for 2 minutes and repeat the process of removing any excess wax on the opposite side.

Once all the excess beeswax is removed, peel the material from the foil and wave gently in the air for about 30 seconds to dry. And that’s it.

Your beeswax covers are ready to use. The whole process took me about an hour. If you decide not to use the pine resin or jojoba oil, melt the beeswax by itself and follow the directions above.

To clean the dish with melted beeswax, put it back in the microwave for about 30 seconds and, while still hot, wipe out any remaining beeswax with a paper towel. Then scrub with hot soapy water to remove any resin. The wraps made with the resin can also leave a sticky feel to containers when you remove them, but it washes away in the dishwasher or with soap and water.

You might think the wax on the covers will crack when molded around a bowl or folded and put into a drawer, but it doesn’t. It does not, however, create a seal as tight as plastic cling wrap. For a more secure seal, use a large rubber band or piece of elastic over the material and around the bowl.

But also use common sense. Would I use a beeswax wrap to cover chicken noodle soup I plan to transport for lunch? No way. Would I use it to wrap a chicken salad sandwich? Absolutely.

They also are great for storing apple slices, carrot sticks and other lunchbox staples, as opposed to a one-use baggie. I actually store the wraps (ironically) in a gallon zipper bag in the drawer with all my plastic wrap and baggies so I consider if a beeswax cover will do before reaching for a one-use item.

Plus, they’re prettier. Who wouldn’t want their on-the-go bagel and cream cheese wrapped in adorable owls or tiny flowers as opposed to a sad, plastic bag?

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