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All About Waxed Canvas

Everything you've ever wanted to know about this versatile fabric.

What is waxed canvas?
Waxed canvas is a tightly woven, cotton fabric that has been infused with natural wax for durability and water resistance. One of the oldest fabrics still in use today, it was originally created centuries ago when sailors noticed that the wind caught their sails better when they were wet. They began rubbing the sails with linseed oil and using the cut-offs and discarded sails to make the first waterproof clothing.
What is it used for?
Waxed canvas is a popular choice for any product that benefits from durability, water and stain resistance, and a unique appearance. It is commonly used for bags, tents, jackets, aprons, and much more.
How do I care for my waxed canvas item?
Waxed canvas needs very little care or cleaning. Over time, you may want to refresh your item by re-waxing it, which will make it look and feel new. This is not difficult to do and is the best way to ensure that your item will last a lifetime. At Cottonwood, we use Martexin Original Wax Canvas and you can purchase a tin of their Wax Compound here.

RE-WAXING
To re-wax, use a soft bristle brush or your fingers to spread wax evenly across the surface of your item. Use a dry iron (low setting) or a hairdryer to melt the wax into the fabric, smoothing it as you go. If you use an iron, be careful to put it on the lowest setting required to melt the wax and do not rub the iron across the surface. Just touch it to the wax and remove it promptly. Also, be sure to clean the iron afterward, as it may stain other items. We find it helpful to use a soft bristle brush to spread the wax evenly as it melts into the fabric. Your item will have a waxy feel immediately after waxing, but it will dissipate quickly.

At Cottonwood, we give a light re-waxing to all items after production. This ensures that all stitched seams are waxed for added strength and durability and also cleans up any lines or crease marks resulting from the production of the item.
Can I wash my waxed canvas item?
Waxed canvas should not be fully washed, nor should it need it. Dirt and dust cannot penetrate the fibers of waxed canvas the way it can other fabrics, so it stays clean without much effort. If properly cared for, a re-waxing will be sufficient to keep it clean. For spot cleaning, a damp cloth should suffice. Do not use hot water or a heavy detergent. If your waxed canvas does become badly stained, use cool water and a mild soap to clean the area and follow with a wax touch-up of the spot.
Can I iron my waxed canvas item?
Waxed canvas should not be ironed. The heat will melt the wax,, releasing it from the fibers of the fabric.
Why choose waxed canvas?
Waxed canvas is an extremely durable fabric which, properly maintained, will last a lifetime. It is water and stain resistant, making it the ideal fabric for outdoor gear. It has a unique appearance which will improve with age.
How does waxed canvas age?
One of the attributes which has made waxed canvas so popular is the way in which it ages. Crease marks, scuffs and usage lines inevitably develop and are part of the appeal. Your individual usage patterns will create a 'patina' unique to your piece. Over time, it will take on the appearance and feel of soft, worn leather.
Does waxed canvas feel waxy?
Waxed canvas does not have a waxy feel, other than immediately after a fresh re-waxing. It does not rub off on skin, clothing or furniture. At Cottonwood, we give our waxed canvas items a light re-waxing just prior to shipping. This removes any lines or crease marks that were created in the production of the item. As waxed canvas has a 'memory' that records your unique usage patterns, we want you to start with a blank slate! Because of this light re-waxing, you may notice a slight waxy feel when you receive your item. This will dissipate quickly, within a couple of days at most.
Why is waxed canvas costly?
The price of waxed canvas and waxed canvas items reflect the time-consuming process of producing the fabric and the cost of the wax used in production.

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