How to Make Waxed Cotton Fabric


If you live in a city where it rains or snows frequently or are an avid outdoor adventurer, you quickly learn the value of waterproof fabrics. If you have a favorite cotton bag or other clothing that is not waterproof, you may be faced with a dilemma in whether to keep it and risk damaging the contents or replacing it with something more expensive but waterproof. Fortunately, it is neither expensive nor difficult to do your own waterproofing.

Things You'll Need

  • 9 oz. paraffin wax
  • 1 oz. beeswax
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 small pot
  • Water
  • Stove
  • Plastic mold
  • Cotton fabric
  • Hair dryer

Make waterproofing wax

  • Place all of the wax inside the small pot and the small pot inside the larger pot on the stove.

  • Add water to the larger pot until it rises two inches along the side of the smaller pot.

  • Turn on the heat until the water begins to boil and then reduce to a simmer.

  • Add water to the larger pot every time there is less than an inch of water remaining.

  • Turn off the heat when both waxes are melted and mixed together.

  • Pour the melted wax into a plastic mold and allow to solidify overnight.

Waterproof the cotton fabric

  • Lay the cotton fabric to be waterproofed flat on a large, stable surface like a table.

  • Rub the waterproofing wax hard against the fabric until you cannot add anymore.

  • Turn the hairdryer on high and sweep it over the waxed cotton fabric until the wax melts into the fibers.

  • Repeat three times for a total of four coats on each side of the fabric. The fabric will initially be darker and stiffer with the added wax, but this will ease in time.

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  • Photo Credit purse image by Robert Grzywaczewski from
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