First Time DIY Waxed Canvas

I recently acquired a canvas bag via my work. Luckily, I work as a screen printer so I have the ability to add prints to… well… pretty much anything. So that’s what I did. I won’t bore you with the details of screen printing, that isn’t why you’re reading this.

Before:
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What I used:

  • Paraffin
  • Beeswax
  • Old Sponge
  • Old T-Shirt
  • Stainless Steel Dog Bowl (bought at a dollar store)
  • Pot filled with water
  • Hair Dryer
  • My newly acquired Haversack
  • Household dryer

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I skimmed through a few articles online about waxing canvas. They all varied quite a bit from one another when it came to the paraffin to beeswax ratio. There were some that didn’t even use beeswax.
I decided to go about 80% paraffin and 20% beeswax. Beeswax as a higher melting point than paraffin and in this Texas heat those few degrees could keep it from melting in the sun.
The beeswax was given to me by a member of our forum. I found beeswax to be very expensive at the local Hobby Lobby, just at $15. A little steep.

I placed the pot of water onto the stove and let the water get hot, just below a boil. Then put the bowl into the water with the approximate ratio and let it melt. The same as any other double boiling technique.

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After letting the wax melt I stirred it up to make sure it was mixed well. Then with just the edge, length wise, I used the sponge and wiped/blotted the wax onto the canvas. It drys and sets very quickly but that isn’t a problem. That’s where the hair dryer comes in handy.

When applying it the wax will become a milky color, that is good. I covered it very generously then used the hair dryer. The heat from it melted what didn’t melt from the initial application. I could see it seep into the fabric. I did this to all sides. Making sure to get the seems very well. You can’t put too much. If it got too saturated I would just heat it up and simply wipe off the excess.

There was no need to treat the inside.

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Notice the difference in color between the untreated flap and the rest:
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After I felt satisfied with the coverage I placed the haversack into an old shirt, tie the ends and put it in the dryer for 30 minutes. The heat melted what was left and distributed it evenly.

Finished result:

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The day after, I brought the bag to work and sent it through one of our dryers we use to dry the ink on the printed t-shirts. It reached about 320°F for only about 45 seconds.

This was a very easy and cheap project. All together it cost me $14. Next project is to make the haversack by hand.

3 Responses to “First Time DIY Waxed Canvas”

  1. Thats a kool project. looks great!

  2. Jason Rodriguez says:

    Thanks. This is really helpful.
    Good idea about finishing the job in the dryer by using an old shirt to keep the wax under control. One website mentions skipping the hair-dryer completely, but they also recommend buying a separate clothes dryer for waxing canvas. That’s seems like too much.

  3. So, no problem with the screen print and wax treatment? I’m about to wax my second bag and I don’t want to ruin the print

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