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How to make breathable waterproof fabric

Updated March 29, 2018

Treat fabric with beeswax to create breathable, waterproof clothing, accessories, indoor and outdoor furniture covers, pet beds and mattress covers. Manufactured by honeybees to make honeycombs, aromatic beeswax is readily available in blocks and pellets from craft supply stores, however, the humane choice is to buy it from ethical beekeepers who harvest it without harming the bees. Eco-friendly, non-toxic and one of the world's most abundant renewable resources, beeswax is the ideal choice to waterproof fabrics. There are two options for applying beeswax to your fabric; melting beeswax and painting it onto the fabric, or rubbing a solid block of beeswax onto the fabric.

Fill a large pan with water. Heat it on top of the stove. Place the beeswax pellets or block into a smaller pan. Place the small pan into the hot water bath. Heat the beeswax until it melts. Remove it from the stove immediately.

Lay the fabric onto a flat surface, inside out. Dip the paintbrush into the melted beeswax, thoroughly coating the bristles. Paint the fabric by drawing the brush across its surface horizontally, then vertically. Ensure the beeswax coating covers the fabric's surface completely for the most effective waterproofing. Allow the fabric to cool and dry completely before using.

If you are using beeswax in its block form, lay the fabric onto a flat surface, inside out. Rub the block over the surface of the fabric. It will turn a uniform greyish colour. Ensure the fabric is thoroughly infused with the beeswax for complete waterproofing.

Tip

Keep some beeswax on hand for occasional touch-ups. Over time, friction may wear some of the beeswax coating away. Retreat fabric occasionally to maintain its water-resistance.

Warning

Rubbing block beeswax onto fabric is the safest method for waterproofing. If melting beeswax pellets or blocks, keep in mind that beeswax melts at 63.9 degrees Carenheit, does not boil and will ignite if it gets hotter; a thermometer is recommended. Ensure the beeswax does not come in contact with an open flame or stove element, it will catch fire.

Things You'll Need

  • Purified beeswax in blocks or pellets
  • Paintbrush
  • 2 melting pots
  • Water
  • Thermometer
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About the Author

Based in Ontario, Susan Dorling has written professionally since 2000, with hundreds of articles published in a variety of popular online venues. Writing on a diverse range of topics, she reflects her passion for business, interior design, home decorating, style, fashion and pets.