The beauty of waxed canvas and denim is undeniable. The heritage of waterproofing / weatherproofing fabrics for prolonged exposure to the outdoors has been treasured by outdoorsmen for generations.
In this spirit, we embarked on the adventure of waxing a Levis Trucker Jacket, this is our process and the results.
Now, many brands like Filson, Fjallraven and Duluth make beautiful waxed or oiled canvas products, however we decided to test our own DIY waxing process for two reasons. One, we happily own several waxed canvas items and occasionally need to rejuvenate them, and two, we have the need to add some weather proofing to some of the items that we use the most in the great outdoors.
To wax Joe’s Levi’s Denim Trucker Jacket we used the following...
- Fabric wax treatment bar. (We considered using a bar that is already on the market, such as the Otterwax and Greenland Wax bars. Both are great products, and we suggest you try them if you want to wax your own denim or canvas, however we wanted a fabric wax bar that did not contain any animal products or petroleum and had little to no odor. So after some exhaustive research, we developed our own formula to test that meets these needs.)
- A heat gun to help cure the wax treatment.
First we prepped the jacket, making sure it was clean and dry. The color is a medium indigo.
Next we treated the jacket with our own proprietary fabric wax that we formulated from all natural, animal/petroleum/fragrance free ingredients. We can say that one of the primary ingredients is pure beeswax, the rest of the formula is made of plant-based materials.
We treated the jacket by rubbing in the wax, making sure all areas were covered. You can see that it lightens the fabric quite a bit, but this darkens once the wax is absorbed into the denim using the heat gun.
After coating the entire jacket with the fabric wax, we used an industrial heat gun to melt the wax and help it absorb into the denim. You could also leave it in the sun for several hours, or use a hair dryer to aid in the process. Be careful with a heat gun, it can quickly make the fabric too hot and cause it to burn.
After all of the wax is absorbed into the denim, we let the jacket cure for 24 hours. The result was very nice. The denim darkened a bit, but did not take on the traditional waxed or oiled look that a Filson Tin Cloth jacket has.
Over all we are very pleased with the results. The jacket has a similar look to before it was waxed, but is a bit stiffer and sheds water more easily, however we would not consider it waterproof. In fact, we have yet to experience a truly waterproof waxed canvas bag or garment from any brand - that's what Gore Tex is for. That said, we are very happy with our wax-fabric formula consider waxed canvas and denim items a cherished part of our life in the outdoors.