Waterproofing Wax Recipe for Canvas and Leather

I recently bought a new camera bag and it’s a canvas kind.  It came with a tin of
refinishing wax for water proofing the canvas.  I wasn’t sure how to correctly apply the wax because the instruction was vague: “Rub a small amount on area to be finished.  Move warm hair dryer over area while rubbing with cloth to blend compound thoroughly into fabric”.  As an engineer, a “small amount” doesn’t tell me the actual amount required.  So I checked YouTube to see whether there’s an instruction video on how to apply refinishing wax on canvas.  I instead came across a video on how to make your own refinishing wax to apply to a canvas bag.  The video might not stay up forever, but here’s the Link.

In any case, the video said that the formula for the wax compound is 2 part bees wax, 1 part boiled linseed oil, and 1 part turpentine.

He also said that you could use either bees wax or paraffin wax.  He chose bees wax and it was a 1/2 lb. stick that he cut up and melted to mix with the other liquid.  One of the comments was saying how the guy in the video was melting a 1/2 pound stick of bees wax and claimed that it was 8 ounces of fluid so he added 4 ounces of boiled linseed oil and then 4 ounces of turpentine to make his final compound.  This was interesting because 1 lb. weight is equal to 16 ounces weight and if it’s water then 16 ounces weight is the same as 16 fluid ounces since water density is 1.00.  However, can the same thing be true for bees wax?

Oddly enough, a pound (weight) of bees wax is around 15.96 fluid oz. according to this handy online weight to volume converter for various liquid:


So his measurement of 1/2 lb. of bees wax is around 8 fluid oz. So 8 oz. (1 cup) bees wax: 4 oz (1/2 cup). linseed oil: 4 oz. turpentine (1/2 cup) formula is correct. Basically, 2 parts bees wax to 1 part boiled linseed oil to 1 part turpentine as he stated.

However, paraffin wax is different. 1 weight lb. of paraffin wax is 17 fluid. oz. according to the converter. Therefore, he would need to use a little bit less than a 0.5 lb of paraffin wax to use the same liquid amount of linseed oil and turpentine.

Doing some more searches, I found another source to confirm the bees wax weight to liquid conversion. It also offers another way to figure out the weight to liquid conversion using a water displacement method.

According to Super Formulas Arts & Crafts How to make more than 360 useful products that contain honey and beeswax by Elaine C. White., there’s a section entitled Measuring Beeswax. Here’s the excerpt:

Measuring Beeswax
Usually there is a great difference between the liquid volume of an ingredient and its dry weight. This is not true of beeswax.

Example: 1 ounce weight of solid beeswax is equal to 1 ounce liquid measurement of melted wax. The following chart can be used to measure beeswax as a solid or as a liquid.

Melted beeswax or liquid measure= Solid wax or Dry Weight
1 Tablespoon melted beeswax or liquid measure=1/2 ounce solid wax or dry weight
2 Tablespoons or 1 ounce= 1 ounce
1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons = 2 ounces
1/2 cup or 8 tablespoons= 4 ounces or 1/4 pound
1 cup or 16 tablespoons = 8 ounces or 1/2 pound
2 cups or 16 ounces= 1 pound or 16 ounces

The liquid displacement formula
Solid beeswax can be measured by displacing liquid. For example, to measure 1 Tablespoon beeswax use the following method:

Since 4 tablespoons of liquid equal 1/4 cup, add 3 tablespoons of water to a clear measuring cup. Add lumps of solid wax until the water reaches the 1/4 cup line. Pour off the water. The remaining wax equals 1 tablespoon. Set the wax aside to dry before using it in any formula.