Easy Waterproof Clothing

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Introduction: Easy Waterproof Clothing

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While I was making my glow tie I realized that the solution I made to apply the glow power to the fabric was incredibly hydrophobic, which makes sense as it's silicone based. After some experimentation I found it was a great method for waterproofing all kinds of close knit fabrics, like tote bags and other large flat fabric surfaces.

I'm not that impressed with most commercial versions of waterproofing, and this method gives me full control of the efficiency of my waterproofing. Inexpensive, flexible, and easy to make, this homebrew solution is a great way to make almost anything waterproof.

Ready to waterproof all the things? Let's make!

Step 1: Supplies

Making your own waterproof solution requires 2 things:

You'll also need the following supplies:

The glow powder is added to a liquid medium which is then applied to the tie. The medium is made from silicone caulking which is diluted in mineral spirits.

You'll want to use 100% clear pure silicone caulking. Look for "silicone I" as "silicone II" has mold retarding agents, we want pure silicone. The silicone can be thinned with mineral spirits. You can find both the caulking and the mineral spirits at your local hardware store.

Step 2: Mixing Solution

To make a medium that can be brushed onto the fabric, we'll need to thin the silicone caulking with plenty of mineral spirits.

I started with a ratio of 5:1 - 5 parts mineral spirits to 1 part caulking. Put both into a mixing cup and mix thoroughly. At first this is going to look like too much mineral spirits and not enough caulking, but silicone is incredibly thick and after a few minutes of mixing the solution will begin to thin.

You're looking to achieve a very runny medium with no clumps, lumps, or anything even resembling the caulking. The GIF above should be the viscosity you are looking for, something like very runny maple syrup. It is also going to smell terrible, so make sure to work in a well ventilated area.

Step 3: Brush Onto Fabric

I used a bristle chip brush to apply the medium onto the tie. Chip brushes are meant for resin, acetone, and epoxy, so are a suitable choice for this application.

The brush was dipped into the mixture and generously applied all over the fabric. The fabric was hung to dry, making sure that the fabric was not overlapping anywhere - any overlapping fabric will bond together when it dries.

Special attention was given anywhere there were stitches, since this will be a weak spot in the waterproofing. After drying, multiple coats were applied to the fabric to ensure a good waterproof seal. Additional coats were put on seams and stitches to make them more durable.

The smell from the caulking is still pretty terrible even after a day of drying, but goes away after about a week.

Step 4: Hang Dry

The fabric was left to dry for an entire day after each coat, allowing the silicone to cure completely.

Step 5: Waterproofing Thoughts

This was a fun exploration into homebrew waterproofing. The process is simple, and the results are much better than commercial options. However there's a significant drying time between coats, which makes this a good waterproofing option if you prepare ahead of time, not in the heat of the moment.

Share your comments and results below.

Happy making!

1 Person Made This Project!

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145 Discussions

0
mona6
mona6

2 months ago

Has anyone used the waterproofing mixture on cushions made of synthetic canvas material? Would the cushions be alright to sit on and would not create a bad allergic reaction for people? Thanks.

0
chefspenser
chefspenser

2 years ago on Step 5

I question using this on indoor furniture - is this fire-retardant?

0
mona6
mona6

Reply 2 months ago

Mineral spirits are petroleum-based products like naphtha which is highly flammable!

0
thejanis
thejanis

Reply 2 years ago

Think twice about doing this to your indoor furniture. It may leave permanent streaks on darker fabrics. Flammability depends on the silicone you're using. Most silicones can be flammable, but there are specific one's that aren't.

0
clothier_bruce
clothier_bruce

2 years ago

It's a decent instructable, but spoiled by the use of a meaningless term for the solvent. The term 'mineral spirits' has no concrete scientific interpretation and may refer to a proprietry product you can buy easily in the US, but isn't sold under that name in the UK. Here we have water-immiscible solvents like turps and white spirit although what they are exactly I don't know. I guess they're products of the petroleum fractionation industry, just like petrol and diesel. Then we have water-miscible solvents like the various alcohols: methyl, ethyl, iso-propyl ( even butanol, I think ). The stuff we call 'meths' AFAIK is actually ETHYL alcohol with about 5% methy alcohol ( the purple colour is pyridine which stinks ) If you are able to buy 'alcohol' I think it's ethyl alcohol plus 5% water: pure ethanol isnt available to the public. And 'dry-cleaning' solvent is ( as the guy said ) trichlorethanol. The chlorinated alcohols are another brand of solvents, but I don't think they come from petroleum distillation. None of them is water miscible. So, what is mineral spirit?

0
mona6
mona6

Reply 2 months ago

Mineral spirits is petroleum based solvents such as naphtha (highly flammable). The organic alternative is turpentine which is distilled tree resin.

0
DownT1
DownT1

Reply 2 years ago

One of the pictures shows the label on the bottle of the mineral spirits used, that includes the brand name of the product. In the era of internet it should not be too difficult to find out, or at least to get a good idea what is in the particular product by searching the internet or obtaining the contact email of the manufacturer. You can derive some additional info from its MSDS sheet. The ingredients will not be clearly given there but you can find some answers.

To defend the author - he used the actual name of the product as written on the bottle.

I like this instructable very much personally. Good job and thank you!

1
thejanis
thejanis

Reply 2 years ago

Mineral Spirits is a fancy name for "White Spirit", same stuff available all over the world. I used odorless white spirit and it worked like a charm.

0
Hawksine
Hawksine

Reply 2 years ago

the same solvent used to clean up oil paints.

0
TonyO36
TonyO36

Reply 2 years ago

I'm not certain, but I believe it's Meths.

0
TJLee089
TJLee089

Reply 2 years ago

If "Meths" is ethyl/methyl alcohol, that definitely is NOT minerals spirits.

0
Jelly8
Jelly8

Question 3 months ago on Step 5

I can’t get mineral spirits in Australia is it the same as mineral Turpentine?

0
sobekcroc
sobekcroc

Question 6 months ago

Hey, sorry if this has been asked before. I want to make rain pants with this solution. What's the friction of the final product like, on other textiles as well as itself? My last pair of store bought rain pants have torn my fabric covered bike seat right up because of their texture and I'd like to avoid that.

0
dkrall
dkrall

1 year ago

Could this be used in a spray bottle instead of brushing

0
ScottO67
ScottO67

Reply 9 months ago

Yes you can. I mixed a quart of oderless mineral spirits ( even though there's still an oder LOL) and a whole caulking tube of 100% Silicone and thought maybe it would be too thick to spray. I poured the mixture into a 1-gallon spray bottle after a thorough mix with a paint stick, pumped it up and squeezed the trigger and a fine to medium spray came out! It couldn't have been better! Waterproofing my canvass BBQ cover, but should have bought extra mineral spirits + a standard tube of silicone to add to fully cover the whole BBQ cover. I sprayed it about an hour ago and it's starting to dry already and look natural to the area I didn't hit. Luckily I find that I can mix more and start off where I left off. YES, I recommend using the spray bottle!!!!! NO MESSY BRUSHES and cuts your time sign=significantly shorter and sprays much more evenly!! Now I'm trying to see if I can salvage my spray bottle after a heavy rinse. If not, fine. I'm thrilled anyway!

0
mikeasaurus
mikeasaurus

Reply 1 year ago

Possibly, but I think it might be too viscious

0
caitlan.dewalle
caitlan.dewalle

10 months ago

Thank you! I am working with platinum cure silicone and wanted to see what others have done while i wait for it to cure.

0
pintail120
pintail120

10 months ago

I have purchased the following products from Toolstation in the UK:
99701 Dow Corning acetoxy silicone
69849 White spirit

I can confirm this combination has worked, I had tried a previous combination of Silicone and White spirit that was slow curing silicone and not acetoxy based, this did not work and I found that nothing disolved this version of silicone, it appears the silicone has to be the acetoxy version. That evening I then mixed the two items until I achieved the maple syrup consistency and painted it onto my motorcycle trousers, it seems to turn into a very watery consistency and totally penetrates the garment. The garment then seems to have a watery excess surface coating(I did apply very liberally), I then removed the excess silicone with paper towels as I did not want any extra drying on the surface. Acetoxy is the quick drying version of silicone, so this meant my biker trousers were ready the next morning. I have not tested them in the rain yet, but I am convinced the garment is going to be very water proof. As the OP says multiple layers can be added. After checking the mixing container the next morning the left over silicone has set and there is no white spirits left in the container, just a rubbery silicone that has set, I am sure this consistency has then penetrated the garment and cured within the garment. There is also distinct parafin smell from the white spirit as the mix cures on the garment, but I think this will eventually disipate over time.

1
caroline.henning
caroline.henning

1 year ago

Thank you so much. There are lots of YouTube videos showing people doing this but NOT ONE tells you the proportion of silicone to white/mineral spirit (it’s white spirit in the UK). I thought it would be obvious, but only to you apparently!
An oasis of sense in the desert of assuming!