How to Weatherproof Fabric
Make your favorite fabric accessory weatherproof with two simple ingredients.
If you like to camp or spend time outdoors, chances are you will someday get caught in the rain. Instead of spending an arm and a leg on “waterproof” bags or fabric, try this simple method of weatherproofing to help protect your belongings from moisture.
- beeswax (chopped or grated)
- boiled linseed oil
- craft brush
- tin can
- wood craft stick
- small sauce pan
- hair dryer
- fabric (cotton, canvas or leather)
This is a messy project. Make sure you protect your work surface with newspaper or cardboard. You do not have to use high quality beeswax for this project. In fact, you can get beeswax toilet gasket rings at home improvement stores—they are cheap. Because of the fumes of the boiled linseed oil, it’s better to do this outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
The recipe is equal parts beeswax and boiled linseed oil. Add the beeswax to the tin can. Set the saucepan on a burner and put in the can. Add a couple of inches of water. Stir frequently as the wax begins to melt.
Once the wax has melted, remove it from the burner and add the boiled linseed oil.
Put the can back into the hot water (off the burner) and mix well. This will warm up the oil.
Paint the mixture onto the fabric. The mixture will begin to cool and slightly solidify—this is fine. The goal is to get as much of the mixture to soak into the fibers of the fabric. If it starts to get too thick, grab your hair dryer.
Run a hair dryer all over the surface to melt the mixture into the fibers. If you see any “light” areas, add more of the mixture and blast it with your hair dryer again. Do both sides of the fabric, taking care to get the wax mix into all the seams (if it’s a bag or piece of clothing).
Dry and Test
Let the fabric dry in a well-ventilated area for a day or two. If it feels tacky, then it’s not dry enough. The surface should feel smooth without any residue on your skin once it’s dry. Test the fabric by pouring a small glass of water onto the surface with you hand under it. The water should bead up on the surface but not seep through. You can use this weatherproofing method on cottons, canvas and leather.