How To Make Re-Usable Tenugui Cling Wraps for a Plastic Free Experience! - tortoise general store

How To Make Re-Usable Tenugui Cling Wraps for a Plastic Free Experience!

Posted by Emma Tsuchida on

Disposable cling wraps offer convenience, but aren't earth friendly.  If you've ever had to seal a can of cat food or wrap your kid's lunch in cling wrap, you know a re-usable option would just be awesome!

Enter re-usable cling wraps made from our favorite 100% cotton tenugui cloths.  Each tenugui cloth measures 3' x 1' and come in a variety of colors and patterns so you can choose the one that fits you and your family best.  Priced at $16 per cloth, you can easily make 2 to 3 cling wraps per cloth depending on the size you're seeking. The only other essential material in this tutorial is the beeswax which we found for $12.  If you're using three plastic sandwich bags per day, and a box of 150 costs $10, you're looking to spend $70 a year on something you throw away after a single use!  A re-usable wrap is definitely the more earth friendly and budget friendly option. 

What You'll Need:

Our Lab Tip For Your Tenuguis:  We had fun and tested A LOT of different patterns for this tutorial.  We learned that red and black dyed tenuguis tended to bleed.  If you experience bleeding during the waxing process, know that you can easily wash off the wax with hot water and detergent, and most of the bleeding should come out of the fabric and return the cloth back to normal.  Additionally, it may be possible to prevent bleeding in the first place by lowering the temperature to the lowest possible oven setting.

1. Cut The Fabric: Preheat the oven to 250°F or the lowest setting. Iron your tenuguis so your cloth is smooth and flat when you cut.  Cut the fabric into sizes that will fit your baking sheet - you can make your wrap as small or as large as you like. The above Shiba Inu tenugui cloth is cut to 6'' x 6.5''.  It can easily wrap the top of an open can of dog food!  For a snack bag, use a 7" by 14" piece of fabric, while a 14" by 12" sheet will cover most sandwiches. Cutting tenuguis with pinking shears will help prevent your cloth from fraying.  

 2. Place On a Baking Tray: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the fabric on top.  Use a fresh piece of parchment paper each time you make another wrap.

3. Sprinkle The Beeswax Pellets: Evenly distribute a liberal amount of beeswax pellets all over the fabric. Make sure you get pellets near the edges and corners too. You'll need the ends to be properly coated so they can cling to your jars and also seal shut when you wrap sandwiches.  

4. Melt And Spread The Beeswax: Place your tenugui sheet with pellets in the oven for about 5 to 6 minutes. When the pellets melt completely, take the tray out and use a paintbrush to spread the wax evenly over the entire fabric.  If necessary, you can add more beeswax pellets and bake for another minute.

NOTE: The beeswax will stick to the brush, so use one you're okay discarding or saving to make future beeswax wraps.

 5. Let Your Tenugui Cling Wrap Dry: Using fingers, chopsticks or tongs, carefully remove the fabric from the baking sheet. It should feel cool to the touch after waving it for a few seconds in the air. Hang the fabric up to dry.  You'll notice that the wax will dry after just a few minutes, but you can dry them longer if needed.

6. Customize to Your Liking: Once the wax isn't tacky, you can use the wrap to seal jars or cans like you would use regular cling wrap, and wrap them directly around food like a sandwich or onigiri rice ball.   Though we did not try this ourselves, we've also found examples online of hand sewn wax wraps turned into baggies for carrying loose snacks.  To do this, take a 7" x 14" piece of waxed fabric, and fold the fabric in half with the non-treated sides facing inward. Hand sew the two sides together, leaving the top open. Turn the bag inside out, and add a button as a closure or stitch velcro to both sides.  Toss some pretzels in and close shut.  



Tenuguis are magical cloths.  Check out our recent 'Tenugui Everyday' Video to see how you can use these 100% cotton multi-purpose cloths in your home.  Happy Earth Day!


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