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How to Waterproof Canvases With Linseed Oil

by Luc Brodhead

Canvas has many useful applications in the outdoors. As a heavy-duty fabric, it can be used as tent material or a covering for boats and other equipment. The weave of the material swells when wet, repelling water without any chemical treatment. However, waterproofing is highly recommended, due to the likelihood that canvass will mold after a short period of time. Petroleum and fluoropolymer-based products are popular synthetic options for this task, but they have been shown to cause environmental and respiratory health problems. Linseed oil provides a safe and healthy alternative when waterproofing canvas, and can be applied in a few easy steps.

Washing Canvas

Before applying linseed treatment, clean any dirt or stains from your canvas sheet.

Shake off any loose dirt or debris .

Combine 1/2-cup of bleach with one gallon of warm water. Sponge stains on both sides of canvas and allow to fully dry.

Treating Canvas

Spread canvas sheet flat on a even surface, such as a driveway or garage floor.

Apply one even coat of linseed oil to the surface of the canvas using a rag.

Wait for 30 minutes, then wipe off excess oil with a clean rag.

Allow 24 hours for the coat of linseed oil to dry before flipping canvas to expose the untreated side.

Repeat Steps 2 & 3 for the untreated side.

Items you will need

  • Untreated canvas
  • Cloth rags
  • Raw Linseed Oil
  • Bleach
  • Sponge

About the Author

Luc Brodhead began professionally writing for a local newspaper in 2009. He has written primarily in the academic setting, developing his writing skills in the fields of literary criticism, politics, and environmental writing. He received his Bachelors in English from Whitman College in May 2010.