The thing was… the canvas was just. so. pristine.
I found some Otterwax - a 100% natural waterproofing treatment for fabrics. Otterwax has crazy manly packaging! Only uber-manly things could possibly come from packaging this earthy looking.
Otterwax is rubbed into, then absorbed by the fabric to give the fabric its waterproofing qualities. It’s not super complicated to do (you can watch how in their instructional videos), but it took me four rounds of waxing to figure out that this thirsty canvas needed the wax smeared on thick.
The fabric is wet looking and sticky and slimy when wax is first applied. After the 24 hour “curing” process, after the wax has had a chance to be absorbed into the fibers, the wet and sticky-ness goes down a bit, but completely. With the wax coating the surface of the fabric, it looks as would be expected for “waxed denim” clothing, slick and leathery. It is not really a texture that works real well for a bag, that will be rubbing against clothing and such.
To help with the curing process, I heated up the applied wax with a blow dryer. As the wax heated up, it melted and the canvas absorbed it.
The canvas still has a slight sheen to it, and a stiffness from the wax in the fibers. It deepened the color of the canvas and “distressed” it. (In the picture below, the original fabric is on the left, and the treated canvas on the right.) More importantly, with the wax absorbed within the canvas, no more slimy or stickiness!
Yes, it is waterproof too, just as promised.
This completes the exterior of the “Manly Poppins” bag.
I’ve got a fun idea for the interior that I am excited to share. Or I will be excited to share after I, you know, finish sewing it… in another 3 months or so, or whenever my children stop demanding Halloween costumes of me.