So if you're even a little bit of a foodie, into holistic living or just plain cool with doing things the way our great grandmothers used to - i'm sure you've seen these wraps everywhere! I think i first came upon Bee's Wraps in my favorite grocery store and have been obsessed with them ever since. I mean, they replace a good bit of plastic wrap, and are made from an often wasted byproduct of one of the most fascinating pollinators on earth ~ YES PLEASE!
And so - like everything - I craved making these my own.
After way too much internet-ing i settled on Well Folk Revival's recipe. I liked that it seemed to have all the ingredients of those commonly available and after all that reading I learned that resign is an important ingredient vs those made with just wax. It's the secret that gives your wrap more 'give' vs a cracky-beeswax finish.
What follows are a few of my tips & tricks as you craft with kids & my general thoughts and rambles as you go.
Prewash your fabric: Thankfully I have a bin of leftover & pre washed fabrics that I was happily able to up cycle for this project. However if you're starting from new I would recommend starting with an organic cotton thats been washed a few times in as hot water as the color and fabric will stand.
Iron: I know. I know. The only time my iron gets used is when we craft. Alas, my kids found they greatly preferred the ironed pieces. I suspect it was easier to 'paint' the wax on a piece that was super flat vs even the finest of wrinkles.
Sizes: This honestly was the hardest part for me. WHAT SIZE?!? I chose 5x5 & 12 x12 squares because those were the template sizes i had on hand.
5x5 -- perfect for lemon & avocado halves, leftover cups & lunch bowls of food
12x12 -- great for leftover dinner plates, medium casserole dishes, sandwiches and CHEESE (nom om nom, i love cheese)
If you go to Bee's Wraps site, they have totally different sizes. It truly doesn't matter. Just think about how you intend to use these and go with it.
- pot (sauce or spaghetti works fine) - you'll use as a double broiler
- ball jar or bowl. I'd recommend picking something you will be ok with tossing when the project is over, or keeping in your project box as clean up is a beast.
- old chopstick (or spoon / butter knife if you don't hoard random supplies like me. It's for stirring the hot wax so it will get covered.
- paintbrushes - same as above. thankfully we have a few big ones that the kids never seem to paint with anyhow.
- table cover for crafting (this does not mean your easter tablecloth from grandma)
- parchment paper
- hot pad or trivet
- iron & ironing board
- old towel
- fabric scissors (pinking shears are ideal, but not required)
- size template(s) - Use an old box or paper grocery bags to make a few for your kids if you don't have anything else. We used a quilt square template and the top of a flower press :)
- a drink for you: never under estimate how hard it is for some of us not to continually jump in and take over when we see things that could be fixed. so be it a warm cup of tea or a tequila sunrise, treat yourself and take a step back while your kiddos create and you supervise from a safe distance. safety aside - this project has plenty of room for fixes that each step doesn't need to be perfect.
Setting up your space: Bear in mind that I am setting up this space to #craftwithkids If i were doing this alone, I'd be a lot more free and there would be infinitely less layers and steps.
Start with melting your wax. This process takes awhile and can sit in hot water when ready. Versus having anxious kiddos impatiently waiting for the next step.
Cover your workspace (i.e. dining room table) with an old table cloth or play towels. Then where each child will sit, I made parchment paper placemats - don't be stingy here - we'll be reusing them again later in the process. Add trivet on the table for the hot jar of wax to rest on thats accessible for your worker bees.
While you do this, have the kids use the templates and cut their pieces. Don't forget to save some fabric for you to make some yourself too!
The process in relatively simple and intuitive so i won't go into much detail.
- cut fabric
- paint with wax: it's looking like a big ol #pinterestfail right about now, huh. No joke. It's cool. To be expected. It's the next step that makes them what you were expecting. Promise.
- iron between sheets of parchment: go ahead and use those placemats here
- remove wraps from parchment: don't forget - hot wax.
- hang to dry: or gently hold the corners and spin in circles for a moment or two
- fix any problems
- clean up
- Oozing wax under parchment: It would seem that you had a very generous painter on your hands. I try to keep the kids to one solid brush stroke to cover. That said, if you have a soupy mess...add another piece of fabric that hasn't been painted yet on top, and iron. The unpainted piece will soak up lots of that leftover.
- Lightly waxed 'holes': inevitably you'll have a few spaces that seem like they don't have enough wax on them. You'll be able to feel these weak areas after they're dry. You can either repaint those spots, or better yet - your parchment will have spots of excess wax on it. Use these to spots to fill in and clean up your parchment a bit.
- Spaces look waxy & rough: this spot just didn't get enough iron action or has way to much wax for that spot.
- fraying edges: this happens with kid scissors. you can clean up the edges later or use pinking shears to really give it a polished edge.
Oy. I sound like my father and it makes me cringe. But seriously. This is one of those projects where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Maybe 8 Lbs depending on how messy your kids are! Thankfully I'm a crafter so i don't feel having extra towels and tablecloths is wasteful. I keep the stuff in a bin and just use and abuse it without worry.
Parchement gets tossed. Towels and tablecloths get tossed in their bin. Paintbrushes, jars, spoons, etc get put in a ziplock back with leftover supplies for another day or another friend. And we're really just left with some sticky hands & maybe a sticky iron. Thankfully, it's nothing that some hot water (as warm as you're comfortable with) and an old rag can't fix.
Wash your hands with super warm water and then to dry really rub em on an old towel piece. The towel bit really helps. Hot water on same rag to wipe/rub the iron. And potentially the pot you used to melt the wax in. I don't know how it happened, but with an independent 10 year old who took to reheating the wax herself...it did.
I personally am not interested in laundering these items or trying to clean them in my sink as it seems like a hassle that just might never end and could cause clogs. So to the garbage they will go.
Admire. Take Photos. Share.
Thats it! Please come back and tell us how your adventure went. I'd love to hear and see your work. #poppyprojects for me to find you on social media. HAPPY CRAFTING!