Picture of Coating Fabric with Liquid Latex
This is an easy way to quickly make any fabric airtight. As such, you can use this technique to make a wide array of inflatable objects.

Step 1: Go get stuff.

Picture of Go get stuff.

- liquid latex (get Clear #10)
- fabric (canvas is ideal since it is strong, tightly woven and doesn't stretch)
- a bar of Dove soap or similar ( bacon soap is tempting but not recommended)
- three plastic dishes (large enough to hold soap)
- baby powder


- 1 cheap paintbrush
- paper towels
ppdlucas1 year ago

Doesn't say what to do with the baby powder? I am confused, please clarify.

I don't think you've read the full tut, you need to click on "view all steps" or "next" ;)


ccberg82 years ago
Could I use the liquid latex if I wanted to make a design on a pair of cotton gloves?
Thank you for this instructable randofo, it inspired me to remember forgotten knowledge and perhaps the best solution to a recent problem.

I may also have some ideas to extend this instructable.

First, the soap rinse is brilliant, the brush gets clogged so fast and rinsing alone doesn't work very well.

You may be able to completely dispense with the brush all together. I have tested diluting latex to the point it's almost pure water and yet the solution STILL coats materials with a micro thin coating of latex.

The trade is that as more water is added the shrinkage increases. In the case of fabric I think that's not an issue as the water will mostly penetrate the fabric. If you coated just one side it MAY cause a problem with puckering if you put on enough coats.

If you want to waterproof / "air tighten" fabric a very thin solution of say 30 water to one latex or less would probably allow you to simply soak the fabric in, or pass it through the solution and get a waterproof / airtight layer.

The layer on the surface will be thin, but the latex will penetrate into the fabric along with the water bonding with the fibers very well.

Finally, I've read about people boiling latex to vulcanize it, and I'm sure steaming it would work even better provided it actually works. It would probably be wise to powder the latex before cramming a bunch into a pot or steamer though.

As an alternative powder which is actually cheaper here in Japan...cornstarch, which online info said was the main ingredient in baby powder anyway.

I have two up and coming projects which I will try my own ideas on and I will report the results here, and maybe do a related instructable about if it works as well as i hope.

Thanks for the inspiration,
I want to spiff up an old umbrella, e.g. steampunk parasol. It's vintage 1960s nylon with an ugly print. Do you think latex paint will dissolve the underlying nylon? Is the paint reasonably opaque? Can something else be glued or painted onto it once it's done?

NMO1283 years ago
Where can I purchase the liquid latex you show in your pictures?

Is this the only sort of liquid latex to accomplish this technique?

Can I purchase liquid latex body cosmetic from liquid latex.com they have it listed under Coating Fabrics and Porous Surfaces with Liquid Latex.

Such a great instructable! I was looking for this for a lot of time but couldnt find the right words (sorry for my english). Can i ask you a question? I hate advertising the brand of my laptop showing on the back o the screen and would very like to stick a patch (in spanish we say insignia dunno if its the same in english) like they use at the military to make myself clear. Ive been thinking a lot about a way to stick it but make it "washable" or a least cleanable as patches get very dirty very quick. Would this tecnicque work? Or if ur so kind do u know any other way (like applying some kind of barnish or something? But i think THIS is exactly what i was looking for :D great job thanks for sharing!
lrm76924 years ago
I'm trying to make a rubber like armor for a costume and was hoping i could apply this...can I use the colored liquid latex body paint? Does it work the same?
randofo (author)  lrm76924 years ago
It should work the same. You can probably get a large container for cheaper and color it somehow. Perhaps food coloring might work?
bikeboy5 years ago

A few years ago, I biked across central america with homemade bike paniers that were waterproofed this way.
Q: Why didn't you use waterproof fabric?
A: One of my paniers unique features was the "Belgian Postal Service" print. Indeed they were made out of Belgian post bags. At least one thing Ortlieb paniers don't have :)

JesusFreke7 years ago
Woohoo. I got my latex in today. I'll be making a didgeridoo from latex coated denim, inflated to make a tube shape. Thanks for the inspiration! :)
randofo (author)  JesusFreke7 years ago
Cool! Can't wait to see it.
gabriahl7 years ago
Awesome. Seems to me this could be used for a number of applications. Since its air tight that means it should be water tight as well. Which means you could use it for thins like backpack, clothing seams, tents, skin on frame kayaks perhaps. Just some theories.
randofo (author)  gabriahl7 years ago
I'm not sure how well latex holds up to water. I mean, you can make a water balloon without a problem, but I don't know how well a water balloon will keep over time. Latex tends to degrade over extended periods (which can be bad for a boat).
Wonderfully comprehensive instructable, the sort that can be used to branch off into other projects. I love it. Thank you for the contribution to Instructables.
Joreth8 years ago
"Can you give an example of what I would use this for?"

For one example, I have a whole tutorial on how to make rewearable latex clothing on my website in my Costumes section ( http://www.theinnbetween.net ) and I will be giving a latex costuming workshop in Tampa, FL on October 6th at http://www.stonehill.org/necro.htm
Liquid Latex is usually pretty cheap for the amount you get. This is a great instructable, I plan on upload a few liquid latex ones of my own. Personally I use Liquid Latex Shop for my latex and find their prices to be the best. I would defiantly do the baby powder addition since it works best, and I usually moisturize before applying liquid latex as well
jollor8 years ago
Can you give an example of what I would use this for?
randofo (author)  jollor8 years ago
an inflatable love seat

...or really to make any inflatable object you want that needs to be a bit more structural than latex itself.
flywoodkb8 years ago
How much coverage do you think you'd get from a gallon?
randofo (author)  flywoodkb8 years ago
A lot. I out 3 coats on this:


...and that only used up about half a gallon.
Wow, yeah that's a lot. That looks like a cool project too, I'm gonna check it out tonight.
rimar20008 years ago
Good instructable, thanks
CameronSS8 years ago
How much does the liquid latex cost?
randofo (author)  CameronSS8 years ago
About $35 for the gallon if I remember correctly.
tchou8 years ago
The problem with baby powder is that you have to use it frequently if you don't want to have your latex sticky, and gluing to itself. You can use an alternative with silicone spray, the kind of things you use to protect plastic for your car. It is much more durable, and cheap.