How Is Canvas Waterproof

One of the most fascinating qualities of canvas fabric is its ability to repel water, making it a perfect option for a variety of purposes where water resistance is essential. However, what is the process by which canvas becomes waterproof? The answer can be found in the distinctive treatment method that gives it this intriguing feature. Let’s explore further to gain a better understanding.

The Intricate Weave

Canvas, made from cotton, flax, or synthetic material, has a plain weave – this means the individual threads crisscross each other in a simple, over-and-under pattern. This dense weave contributes to the natural water resistance of the material, as it tends to create a tight barrier against water penetration.

The Role of Wax

While the tight weave of canvas provides some level of water resistance, it’s the application of wax that truly makes a canvas waterproof. The process, known as waxing, involves applying a layer of wax onto the canvas material. The wax fills up any microscopic gaps in the fabric weave, ensuring complete water resistance.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide on how to wax a canvas:

    1. Lay out the canvas on a flat surface.
    2. Apply a layer of wax evenly on the canvas using a brush or a cloth.
    3. Use a hairdryer to heat the wax until it melts and seeps into the fabric.
    4. Let the canvas cool and cure for at least 24 hours.


Various types of waxes can be used in this process, including paraffin wax, beeswax, or specially designed fabric wax. The choice of wax type can affect the stiffness, color, and overall finish of the canvas material.

Maintenance of Waterproof Canvas

Over time, the wax on a canvas may wear off, reducing its water resistance. Regular re-waxing is essential to maintain its waterproof quality. However, it’s important to clean the canvas with a damp cloth and let it dry completely before reapplying wax.

In conclusion, the process of making canvas waterproof involves a combination of a tight weave pattern and the application of wax. This effective waterproofing technique has made canvas a popular choice for tents, tarps, bags, and other outdoor gear.

Next time you see a canvas, remember the intricate process that makes it resistant to water. Appreciating the complex treatment process behind its water-resistant characteristic can make us value the durability and functionality of this versatile fabric even more.