Food Safe Fabric for Sandwich Bags: A Follow Up!

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Food Safe Fabric for Snack Bags
Most water-resistant food safe fabric is full of plastic. What’s an ethical crafter to do?

Have you been hunting for food safe fabric to make DIY snack bags? I found a solution for you!

My DIY snack bag tutorial has consistently been one of the most popular posts on the site for quite some time now. The tutorial is a simple one, and what’s really bumpin’ on that article is the comments section. There has been a ton of discussion about finding a food safe fabric that’s water resistant and free from plastics.

There’s some great discussion about food safe fabric in that article’s comments section, and I definitely recommend heading over and reading through there. I think it’s a great look into the green crafty mindset: lots of creative problem-solving as ethical crafters hunt for a solution that fits into our crafty ethics.

Waxed Canvas: Food Safe Fabric That’s Plastic Free!

For me, the ideal food safe fabric is free of any kind of plastic. I try to keep plastic out of my kitchen as much as possible, so my perfect solution would use all natural materials. That’s why I actually gasped out loud when I saw Betz White mention waxed canvas in one of her tutorials.

YES! The wax would help make the fabric be a bit more water resistant without using any plastic! Betz got her waxed canvas from Rough & Tumble on Etsy.

If you’re more of a DIY purist, you can also make your own wax canvas using this tutorial from The Art of Doing Stuff. To make this vegan, you can use candelilla wax instead of beeswax. Candelila wax is a glaze used in making candy, so if some does get onto the food in your waxed bags, it won’t contaminate your food.

Waxed canvas is going to be a nice, heavy fabric, so if you use it to make your snack bags, you can skip the lining, which makes it an even quicker project. Really, it’s a win all around, right?

What do you guys think? Does this food safe fabric option solve your snack-bag-making woes? Have you found other plastic free options?

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18 thoughts on “Food Safe Fabric for Sandwich Bags: A Follow Up!”

  1. Wow, thanks for this post! Have you tried it with the vegan wax? Is it washable? I’m so glad I found your posts, so much beeswax stuff around at the moment and it is nice to have a vegan crafter voice πŸ™‚

    1. You are so welcome! I know how hard it can be to find vegan alternatives to some materials. I haven’t gotten a chance to try this, but I want to! I am guessing that this would be hand wash only, since beeswax or candelilla wax would probably melt in a the washer, even on cold.

    2. Waxed canvas must be “washed” by hand in cold water. No soap if possible, but if you need soap make sure its biodegradable soap that’s gentle, a lot of soaps are too harsh for the wax coating.

  2. You may be able to wash on cold with beeswax which needs warm water to soften but the candelilla is much softer and too many machine washes will take it out of the fabric. If you did a good job making the wax canvas then you really will need to rinse/wipe the bags more than wash them.

  3. WONDERFUL! This is just what I’m looking for! We keep plastic out of our kitchen too but with small kids it can be a challenge. Thanks for making it a little easier!!

  4. Pingback: Reusable Sandwich Bags: Choosing Food-Safe Fabric

  5. Courtney Kappes

    I’m trying to make my own coffee filters; but I can’t find a food safe cotton, flannel, etc. All I can find is cheese cloth which isn’t want I need. Have you or any of your readers had any luck in finding a muslin that is food safe that could be used for this purpose?

    1. That is a great question! Would layering cheesecloth work? I know that for cocktails sometimes I strain mixtures with doubled or tripled cheesecloth, so it’s a finer mesh. Not sure how that would work in a drip coffee pot, though.

    1. Dianne Finnegan

      I’d recommend velcro instead at the top of the bag, easier to put on and won’t get stuck on fabric like zippers sometimes can.

    2. I would recommend using polyester zippers. Personally, zippers have always seemed like the best option so I’ve experimented quite a bit. I’ve done a lot of research and as far as I can tell they are food-safe. They are just the best option I’ve been able to find, they also have a really long lifetime so if the fabric wears out you can just tear out the zipper. I don’t like the idea of velcro because crumbs and fuzz and all that junk can get caught in it.

  6. Just an FYI, but nearly all traditional oilcloth and waxed canvas recipes contain petroleum byproducts, heavy metals, and other toxic ingredients. Unless the shop (rough and tumble for example) exlicitly states that their formula is non-toxic, I’d stay away from it. Other than making your own, I believe OtterWax has a non-toxic wax solution, although I don’t see that they state it’s food safe.

  7. What about just wrapping the food in waxed paper and then putting it inside a fabric bag? That’s how my Mom wrapped my lunches 45 years ago.

    1. Laura – I was thinking the same thing. For me it was more like 55 years ago. I remember there were even little wax paper sandwich bags. Most of the time, mom just cut the paper off the roll.

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