What You Need to Know About Waxed Canvas

What You Need to Know About Waxed Canvas

Waxed canvas has recently gained popularity because it is eco-friendly, has a vintage charm, is sold by many suppliers on Etsy and Amazon, has been produced for many years by British Millerain, and is still in business. 

What is Waxed Canvas Fabric?

Waxed canvas is a fabric that has a waterproof finish applied to it. The wax is a natural substance derived from plant and animal fats. The wax is applied to the material in a heated state. After the wax cools, it will seal the fabric and make it waterproof. Waxed canvas is especially good for outdoor use as it will not absorb water. It is also very lightweight and breathable, making it a popular material for outdoor clothing and camping equipment.

What Does Waxed Canvas Feel Like?

Waxed canvas has a matte finish and is slightly stiff. It is not as soft as canvas, but it is not as stiff as many other coatings on fabrics. 

What Are the Uses of Waxed Canvas Fabric?

Waxed canvas has several uses. It is used as a liner for suitcases, tote or picnic bags, bags and totes, handbags, furniture, clothing, and bags. It is also used in tents and outdoor equipment.

The British Millerain Company primarily manufactured the waxed canvas, established in 1846, off and on until the mid–20th century. Since then, other manufacturers have begun to produce it. It has recently been rediscovered as a fabric for fashionable handbags.

Is Waxed Canvas Vegan?

Waxed canvas is vegan, and paraffin wax is used to produce vegan leather alternatives. The production of paraffin wax generates low-level toxins. Waxed canvas is hard-wearing and long-lasting, but it must be maintained properly to last a lifetime.

Is Waxed Canvas Waterproof?

Waxed canvas is a waterproof material that will keep water out, albeit imperfectly. If submerged in water for long periods, it will become saturated and leak. Military rucksacks and backpacks, sails, tents, and outdoor gear are constructed of waxed canvas. The water-repellent property of the wax coating is what makes it popular.

Is Waxed Canvas flammable?

The popular perception of waxed canvas is sometimes haunted by images of the 1944 circus tent fire in Hartford, Connecticut, caused by petrol added to the waxing mixture. Waxed canvas is difficult to ignite in modern times and far less flammable than most synthetic materials. It will burn if sufficient heat is applied, but it is not an exceptionally dangerous combustible material.

How to Care for Waxed Canvas

Waxed canvas bags are nice because scuffs and marks actually add to the bag's character rather than making it look dirty. This means you do not need to clean them too frequently. However, the wax coating will thin over time, requiring you to re-wax the canvas, usually every one to two years, depending on its use. This process is fairly simple, only requiring a bar or tin of canvas wax and a hairdryer to soften the wax before application.


Waxed canvas has stood the test of time as a fabric suitable for use in outdoor equipment due to its durability and ease of care. It also makes for a great bag if you seek a more vintage look.

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