Introduction: DIY Waxed Canvas Shoes

Picture of DIY Waxed Canvas Shoes

Do you love your canvas shoes, but hate when they get wet?

I'll show you how to make your canvas shoes water resistant and all-around awesome with beeswax.

What You'll need:

canvas shoes
double boiler (or a small pot and clean can).
hair dryer
towel / trivet
waxed paper [optional]

A note on wax:

Paraffin is a byproduct of fossil fuels and has been shown to be toxic in some uses. This is why I choose to use beeswax. It's easier to apply, and as a bonus I get to support my local honey store!

Step 1: Melting the Wax

Picture of Melting the Wax

If you don't have a double boiler, here's how to melt your beeswax:

Bring water to a boil in the small pot, then set the heat to low.
Place the beeswax into the can (I used a clean cat food can), and then place the can into the steaming water.
The wax will slowly melt.

Step 2: Wax Coat

Picture of Wax Coat

I set up my shoe and towel on a sheet of waxed paper under sturdy surface in preparation... kind of like a little shoe waxing station. When the wax is melted, set the pot, water and all, on the towel or trivet next to your shoe.

Using quick movements, brush the wax onto the shoe . Cover the surface of the shoe evenly. Don't worry about all the white wax... we'll deal with that in the next step.

Step 3: Hot Air

Picture of Hot Air

Heat up the wax using a hair dryer and use the brush to work it into the fabric. Pay close attention to the seams, and do your best to get an even saturation.

You can stop here, and you'll be fine... but if you wanna go the extra mile:

Toss your shoes into an old pillowcase, tie it off, and give it a tumble in the dryer for 15-20 minutes on high.

Step 4: Testing

Picture of Testing

let's test these puppies out!

I poured a small glass of water on each shoe, and it all beaded off!
Bring it El Niño!




I've received a few questions about where to buy the shoes and beeswax. If you're not having any luck locally, here's where you can buy the shoes, (crocs Santa Cruz 2 Luxe) as well as a bag of BEESWAX PELLETS.



pmsfo (author)2015-08-27

Is beeswax also the best kind of wax to use to waterproof leather? All the sprays I've tried work for a while, then they fail. No fun when you are living in Washington state without a car.

starthorn (author)pmsfo2017-02-07

Wax will make a material (cloth of leather) water *resistant*, not water *proof*. You'll need to use something a good bit heavier and more "industrial" to make it waterproof, and even then, it may not last forever.

Typically, you want to apply your water resistant substance somewhat regularly on things like shoes and boots, probably a couple of times a year, depending on how often you wear them and what kind of environment. Heavy wear or cleaning will necessitate more frequent application.

Also, for leather, I'd recommend looking into specific leather protection substances. Wax will change the color and feel of leather a decent bit, and may or may not be what you want. Personally, I've had excellent experience with Leather Milk, but there are lots of options.

amastae (author)pmsfo2015-12-09

I double boiled 200 ml olive oil and 50g beeswax, let set, then rubbed into my leather boots. let dry. water beads right off. there's a tutorial on here somewhere for just that.

American Ruin (author)pmsfo2015-08-27

Beeswax will make the shoes water resistant, not water proof.

Riley_Powers made it! (author)2016-11-28

Thanks man worked well!

londobali made it! (author)2015-09-08

Upgraded my canvas shoes as your idea!
The hair dryer we have in the house was not hot enough to remelt the beeswax, i had to do the more daring way with my blow torch. Going with fast swings, twice as far as the tip of the flame, took sometime not to burn the canvas.. :)
They are now a shade darker gray, which i happen to like more.
thanks for sharing.. :)
p.s. in case anyone wonders, mine is from INDOSOLE, they make shoes out of old tires.. look them up!

CaptSnaz (author)2015-08-27

A friend of mine wanted to waterproof his leather boots, so he just rubbed Vaseline into the leather & seams. - That worked well too.

vaseline will dry out the leather and eventually make it crack.

Good to know. Thanks.

Good to know. - Thanks.

Vaseline is good if you don't care about your boots lasting for more than a year or so, but homemade versions of snoseal are easy to find online and work pretty well. I made one of my own from bee's wax and mink oil (plus some other stuff I forget), works well and only needs one application a winter.

Matt2 Silver (author)2015-08-26

Thank you for the great tutorial! I actually have the exact same style of shoes at home, mine are brown. They're awesome and seem to hold up better than something like vans. Now I can wax them and make them even more useful. Once waxed is the canvas still readily bendable? I have a canvas bag that I use for hiking and I was wondering if this technique would work for it as well?

hillouie (author)Matt2 Silver2015-08-27

What brand are the shoes? I like the look and like that they hold up well. Thanks.

Matt2 Silver (author)hillouie2015-08-27

Crocs. They're called "Walu Slip Ons". They really have held up well for me. I've had them for about two years and wore them almost every single day. For the first year I wore them while trekking back and forth all over campus during my last year of college. I've also worn them in the snow, in the mud, on short hikes, and have gotten them wet dozens of times. I've had Vans in the past and over time the shoe would separate from the sole, or idea eventually walk through the sole of the shoe. These Walu crocs don't seem to have those problems, they just last.

Actually, they're the Santa Cruz 2 Luxe

Oh, so they're not quite the same as mine, but they are very similar.

Erelu (author)Matt2 Silver2015-08-27

I used to waterproof leather with SnoSeal, which is at least partly beeswax. of course the whole point here is DIY. I learned that I can use SnoSeal on fabric.
All good :-)

American Ruin (author)hillouie2015-08-27

crocs Santa Cruz 2 Luxe Slip-On Loafer

They're ridiculously comfortable!

You're gonna spend a day or two breaking 'em in again. This technique will totally work on your bags.

Phil_S (author)2015-08-27


This subject cropped up a little while ago.

Barbour outdoorsy jackets are waxed sort of canvass - you could see what they use.

Beeswax is also used in decent polishes for wood, usually softened up with pure turpentine. Good woodworking suppliers will keep it.

My father was a real craftsman and used to sew a lot of stuff with thick thread, To make it easier, he always had a block of beeswax to run the thread through. When it got too ragged, he simply re-melted the block - I still have a large chunk of it.

Wood polishers use a technique called hot waxing where you apply the wax roughly, then use a hot air gun to melt it while you polish it off.

American Ruin (author)Phil_S2015-08-27

Thanks for the info Phil!

namora (author)2015-08-27

The only question I have about this is that since canvas shoes do not make your feet smell bad because they breath what happens when the wax clogs the fabric up? Back to wearing socks?

American Ruin (author)namora2015-08-27

not positive... I wear socks with 'em 70% of the time.

paleogirl (author)2015-08-27

I have a question for ya. If you wear them in the heat or if your feet get hot, does the wax remelt and get all over you or anything the shoes touch, like your pants when you rest your foot on your knee?

American Ruin (author)paleogirl2015-08-27

I read that hair dryers average between 150-200 degrees Fahrenheit, So unless you're walking around a lava flow, you should be fine.

namora (author)paleogirl2015-08-27

It is petrolium jelly.

American Ruin (author)namora2015-08-27

no, it's beeswax.

treesquatch (author)2015-08-25

Where could I purchase beeswax?

you can also try these BEESWAX PELLETS

pmsfo (author)treesquatch 2015-08-27

DIY! Get it straight from the source! Make sure you have your safety equipment on first.

A honey store/stand, a leather shop like Tandy Leather, a candle shop, a craft store, or online.

In Canada, Michaels' is the most easily shoped at but I think a Craft store would be the cheapest place to buy it. You could even melt down a beeswax Candle for the wax too. :)

Amazon dot com sells it too.

A honey store/stand, a leather shop like Tandy Leather, a candle shop, or online.

Bylandorsea (author)treesquatch 2015-08-25

It's used in candle making so a local craft store

beanybaby (author)2015-08-27

Awesome! I'm going to order me my favorite shoes again and do this!

American Ruin (author)beanybaby2015-08-27

These are the ones in the Instructable. They're super comfy.

crocs Santa Cruz 2 Luxe Slip-On Loafer

Andromeda30 (author)2015-08-27

Very goody freend


JohnW42 (author)2015-08-27

Nifty !

American Ruin (author)JohnW422015-08-27


cycologist (author)2015-08-27

Anyone remember motorcycle wax jackets?

Uncle Kudzu (author)2015-08-25

Excellent! Now I know how to refinish my waxed cotton hat AND wax my canvas slip-ons. Who knew it was so easy? Thanks for sharing!

Thanks for viewing, voting, and commenting!

dialmformostyn (author)2015-08-25

That's pretty neat, might have to give it a go now Autumn is here.


discostu956 (author)2015-08-25

I like that idea. Been thinking trying tin cloth type idea on a cotton jacket for waterproofing.

funny to hear you mention el Nino and rain, as it means drought over here in Aus, and la Nina is our wet one, and your dry one

Never thought of that... thanks for the fun fact.

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