Beeswax is an abundant natural resource that you can use to waterproof various materials. Worker bees make beeswax in order to create a honeycomb where food is stored and eggs are laid. Beeswax has certain properties that make it an excellent choice when used as a material waterproofer, such as its high melting point, and its resistance to solvents. Beeswax also has the added bonus of smelling nice.
Obtain beeswax. This can be done commercially, by purchasing beeswax from a retailer or naturally, by harvesting fresh beeswax from an active hive. Natural harvesting of beeswax is not without peril. Those who choose this method should have extensive experience working with bees in order to avoid personal harm as well as unintentional harm to the bees or hive.
Purify the wax. If the wax you have obtained is natural, the impurities should be removed before you attempt to use the wax. Beeswax in buoyant and will float in water, but most of the impurities will not. The simplest method for removing these impurities is to put the wax in a container of water and melt it, such as on a hob. The purified wax will float to the top and can be spooned off, while any contaminants will sink to the bottom.
Spread the cloth out flat. Whatever material you wish to waterproof should be laid flat and inside out.
Rub the cloth with a lump of purified bees wax. This process should be completed painstakingly. As you work the wax over the cloth you are looking for a uniform greying to occur. After the entire cloth has been worked, the cloth should remain porous to air and yet impervious to water.
This technique may need to be reapplied over time as friction may wear away at the coating of wax over the fabric.
- Beeswax is far superior to any artifical waterproofer so long as the waterproofing process is meticulous. Be thorough when using beeswax to waterproof any porous material.
- Do not let the water boil over or the beeswax can catch fire if it comes into contact with your stove eye or a flame.