How to Make Your Own Compostable Utensils From Household Materials
As consumers become more environmentally conscious, many are looking for ways to reduce their use of single-use plastics and utilize more sustainable alternatives. One great option is to make your own compostable utensils from materials you likely already have around the home. Not only is this a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution, but it’s also a fun DIY project!
To get started, you will need the following household items:
Wooden skewers or chopsticks: These will form the base of your utensils. Look for untreated, natural wood options.
Twine or string: Choose a natural fiber like cotton or hemp. Avoid synthetic materials.
Beeswax: Used to seal and waterproof the utensils. Can be purchased or harvested from beehives if available.
Kitchen knife: For shaping and cutting the wood.
Scissors: To cut the twine to size.
Double boiler: To melt the beeswax.
Parchment paper: To place utensils on while drying.
- Food coloring (liquid or powder)
- Dried flowers or herbs
- Essential oils
Making a Compostable Fork
Forks are a great utensil to start with when making your own compostable cutlery. Follow these simple steps:
Step 1: Cut the Wooden Skewer
Use a sharp knife to cut a wooden skewer, chopstick, or thin branch into 5-6 inch segments. These will form the tines of the fork.
Step 2: Bundle the Tines
Take 4-5 of the cut wooden segments and tightly bundle them together in the center, lining up the ends. The tines should all be pointing the same direction.
Step 3: Wrap Twine Around the Bundled Tines
Take a 24 inch piece of twine or string and tightly wrap it around the center of the bundled tines to hold them together. Tie it off securely. Trim any excess twine.
Step 4: Shape the Fork
Gently bend the untied ends of the tines outwards to form the fork shape. Make sure they are spaced evenly.
Step 5: Seal the Fork
Melt beeswax in a double boiler. Once melted, dip the ends of the fork (tines and handle) into the wax to waterproof and seal them. Let dry completely on parchment paper.
And that’s it – you now have a handmade, biodegradable fork!
Making a Compostable Spoon
Spoons can be made in a very similar process:
- Cut a wooden skewer into a 6-8 inch segment
- Shave and shape one end into a spoon shape using a knife
- Seal and polish the spoon portion by dipping it into melted beeswax
- Allow to dry fully before using
Making a Compostable Knife
Knives require a long, thin piece of wood:
- Use a chopstick, thin branch, or bamboo skewer
- Cut it to 6-8 inches long
- Shape one end into a sloped knife edge
- Seal, waterproof, and polish by dipping into melted beeswax
Customizing Your Utensils
There are endless ways to customize your homemade compostable utensils with natural materials:
- Add food coloring to the beeswax to tint your utensils
- Mix in dried flowers or herbs for visual interest
- Include essential oils like lemon, lavender, or peppermint to add light scents
- Use different types of wood like birch, poplar, or basswood
- Experiment with different natural fibers for the binding
Making your own utensils is an extremely gratifying way to reduce plastic use. With just a few household materials and simple DIY methods, you can easily create an eco-friendly set of compostable cutlery. Not only are they better for the environment, but they can also be customized into beautiful, natural works of art for your home. Give it a try!