How To Make Your Canvas Tote Bag Waterproof

I don’t know about you, but I use my canvas tote bags all year long. Living in an area that experiences rain and snow, this can make taking your tote bag on the go with you a little tricky. The last thing you want is to ruin your bag! There are options out there for purchasing waterproof canvas tote bags. However, this is something that you can also do at home. We are sharing some of the more common methods on how to make your canvas tote bag waterproof.

Waterproofing Spray

Waterproofing sprays and seam sealers are one of the easiest ways to waterproof your canvas tote bag. For starters it won’t discolor the canvas material. Secondly, you can find fabric waterproofing spray at almost any store. When applying commercial products, such as a waterproof spray, it’s important to make sure that you apply two coats. This will ensure that the material is completely waterproof.

Prep: Begin by using a lint roller to remove any lint or dirt from the tote bag. Make sure that the canvas is dry!
Spray: Be sure to follow any specific instructions laid out on the spray can. You will want to evenly coat the fabric material with the waterproofing spray. Don’t forget to spray the seams and the zipper area (as applicable). Once the fabric has dried, repeat this process again.
Set: Placing the tote bag on a hanger, allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Now it’s ready for use!


Waxing bags is something that has been done for centuries. It does tend to give your tote bag a more weathered look, so bear that in mind. This means you might see a change in the color or texture of the bag upon application. It is also important to note that when you apply wax to canvas, it is recommended that you do not wash the tote bag regularly. The high heat from the washing machine will melt the wax.

When choosing a fabric wax, pick one that is made from natural materials. Environmentally friendly and safe ingredients are best, but you also want to ensure that it does not contain silicone or petroleum.

Prep: It is important to make sure that the canvas is clean and dry. Start by using a lint roller to remove any string, lint, or dirt that is clinging to the material. Once that’s completed, test the wax in an inconspicuous place on the tote bag. This will help you to see on a small scale how this might potentially change the color or texture of your bag.
Spread: It is important to do this step immediately following the prep. That way you avoid any lint, dust, etc. building up on the bag prior to applying the wax. Begin by spreading the wax back and forth on the material using broad, even strokes. As you go the wax will warm up, making it easier to spread across the material. You may need to use your hands to work the wax into the fabric.
Set: Heat the waxed fabric with a hair dryer to help adhere to the fabric. This is what will make it truly water repellent. Once you’ve applied wax to the entire tote bag, it is important to then hang the bag up in a warm, dry place. Wait a day or two before removing from the hanger.

Please Note: No matter which method you choose to waterproof your canvas tote bag, please be sure to follow the instructions for that specific wax or sealant.

There are a variety of other methods that can be used to make your canvas tote bag waterproof. The two methods listed above are some of the more common ones. We hope this article is helpful! If you have found other ways to make canvas bags waterproof, feel free to share your tips and tricks with us!

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