DIY Waxed Canvas Camera Bag




About: A restless photographer and visual communicator residing in rural Appalachia.

Looking to put together a sexy camera bag?  Already have a messenger bag you want to carry your camera in?  Love the look and feel of waxed canvas bags but don't want to fork over the money to buy one new?  THIS TUTORIAL IS FOR YOU!

Step 1: Turn Your Messenger Bag Into a Camera Bag

1)  Get your bag.
2)  Buy a camera bag insert (such as:
3)  Put insert into bag...and, voilà!

Step 2: Materials Needed to Wax Your Bag

1)  Your bag (obviously)

2)  A double boiler.  I recommend NOT using one intended for kitchen can be a mess to clean.  Rig one out of old pans, coffee cans, or whatever you may have around.  I used two old, aluminum camping pots that I had sitting in the basement.

3)  Wax.  Many places recommend a blended mixture of paraffin and bee's wax, but I used straight paraffin, and it seems to have turned out fine.  You can pick up a pound box of paraffin wax in the canning section of Walmart or your local grocery store.  You shouldn't need more than one or two of the included wax bars. - LINK:

4)  A brush.  I recommend a bristle brush between 1/2" and 1"...up to 1-1/2".  Any smaller and it would take to long; much larger, and it would be too unwieldy and messy.  I used a half-inch artistic brush I had sitting around.

Step 3: How to Wax Your Canvas Bag & Make It Water-Resistent & Durable

1)  Put some water in the bottom portion of your double boiler and place it on your stove on HIGH (to get it boiling faster).  As the water boils, add a bar or two of wax to the upper portion of your double boiler, and allow it to melt.

2)  Once the wax has started to melt, dip your brush into it, and begin painting all surfaces of your bag, paying special attention to the seams and bottom of the bag.  Maybe coat the bottom a little extra well as this i the area that will be taking the brunt of the wear.  Allow was to will become caked and hardened, but that is okay.

3)  Put your canvas bag into an old pillow case, and tie off the end.  (This keeps the wax from getting all over the place.)  Then, put it in the dryer on HIGH for about 15 to 30 minutes.  This allows the wax to be evenly melted into the fabric.  You can also use a hair dryer (much more of a pain with this amount of wax, but possible) or a heat gun (a bit overkill).

Step 4:

When your bag is finished in the dryer, pull it out and allow it to cool down.  It will harden because of the wax between the fibers...this is to be expected.  You can now:

1)  Use it as-is.

2)  Work the fabric to break it in and soften it a bit.

3)  Give it another application or two.  (I only gave mine one application so far.)


The Photography Contest

Runner Up in the
The Photography Contest



    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Trash to Treasure

      Trash to Treasure
    • Arduino Contest 2019

      Arduino Contest 2019

    8 Discussions


    8 months ago

    I made it with a free smell white candle and result was perfect!


    4 years ago

    This is cool. Thank you :-)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    This is super cool and I will have to try it.
    On a slightly separate note can you tell me what bag you used for the base because I really like it but my Google-fu seems to be insufficient to source it.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    I had actually never been able to locate any more bags like mine online, but thanks to a commenter on for finding them on eBay! Here's a link:


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I had no idea on how to do this. Nice overview!

    I also wanted to reinforce using a double boiler to melt wax. Melting it over direct heat (not using a double boiler) is very dangerous!