How to Weatherproof Fabric

Make your favorite fabric accessory weatherproof with two simple ingredients.

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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.

Weather Proof Fabric

Weather Proof Fabric

Weatherproofing fabric takes only two ingredients.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe


Supplies

Supplies to Weatherproof Fabric

Supplies to Weatherproof Fabric

Beeswax and boiled linseed oil is all that's needed to make tincloth.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

  • 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.

Melt

Melt Beeswax in a Double Boiler

Melt Beeswax in a Double Boiler

Melt the beeswax in an old tin can on a double boiler.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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.

Add Oil

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Once the wax has melted, remove it from the burner and add the boiled linseed oil.

Mix

Stir the Beeswax and Linseed Oil Together

Stir the Beeswax and Linseed Oil Together

Stir the melted beeswax and linseed oil together.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

Put the can back into the hot water (off the burner) and mix well. This will warm up the oil.

Paint

Paint the Melted Wax on the Fabric

Paint the Melted Wax on the Fabric

Paint the melted wax and oil mixture onto the fabric.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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.

Warm

Use a Hair Dry to Melt in the Wax

Use a Hair Dry to Melt in the Wax

A hair dryer helps to melt the wax and oils into the fabric fibers.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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

The Fabric will Repel Water

The Fabric will Repel Water

Once the fabric is dry to the touch, it will repel water.

Photo by: Debbie Wolfe

Debbie Wolfe

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.
 

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