New Series: Altering Fabric– Part 1: Waxed Fabric

As you might have noticed from my other blog posts, I love embellishment. I love using different and unusual fabrications to create my handbags. However, being on a budget, the art of embellishing can be costly. So I have decided to study different techniques that alter inexpensive fabrics to create the illusion of more expensive or just fun fabrics. I am doing a series of posts that will show each technique.

Waxed Fabric 

My daughter asked me to make her a bucket bag recently. She rides her bike a lot and wanted a fabric that was water-repellent, yet she didn’t like the fabrics available to her. She wanted a linen bag, which we all know isn’t waterproof. She ask me to use a waxed linen, and off I went to find out how to do this.

Firstly I read up on what many people were using and found a product called Otter Wax. http://www.otterwax  However, it is expensive and comes in small bars.

I started searching for DIY’s to create a similar product and found 1 that included a recipe on instructables.com.

Experiment 1: when I used his recipe the bar was very hard to spread on the fabric and really only worked when brushed on. This was to heavy an application for the light weight bags I wanted to create.

Experiment 2: I started reading and found other recipes that added mineral oil or linseed oils to make the bars more pliable. This however added a strong pine smell and I didn’t really want that either.

Finally I read you could add orange oil, which gave the same pliable bar but with a nice orange smell. The recipe I finally used is:

1/4 cup beeswax

1/4 cup paraffin wax

1 tsp orange oil

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Both of the wax I found at AC Moore, and the orange oil at GNC. I also bought small paper cups to create the bars.

After melting down the wax in the microwave, do this slowly so it won’t burn, I added the orange oil. Pour into the cup to cool.

20150602_182948After the wax has cooled remove from the cup and you will have a nice little bar that is easy to use.

20150602_182900Next is just a matter of applying the wax to the fabric. Rub the wax bar on the fabric in strokes, creating a layer of wax. Use some elbow strength and really layer it on.

Now the heat: some videos show people using torch or their fingers to smooth the wax on the fabric. I prefer to use a blow dryer and slowly melt the wax into the fabric. You can use your iron but be careful not to get wax on iron. If you need more help there are many videos to help.

Raidianthomestudio.com

I created a tote bag to test the wax and it came out great. I also added another technique, a stenciled gold strip. You can see in the picture the difference between the waxed and the non waxed linen.

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The waxed linen will be water-repellent and hold its shape. I did notice that wrinkles might appear, but I think it adds character but heating the wax with a quick iron fixes that.

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Here is the finished bag for sale on my Etsy site.

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