Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag (For When I am a Relic Hunter)

It's pretty common knowledge that the key to being a world adventurer and relic hunter is not an overpriced degree in Ancient Civilizations and Biblical Studies from an overrated university; it is, in fact, the perfect bag. See above for photographic evidence (Indiana Jones, Sydney Fox!). How else will you carry your texts, maps, weapons, survival necessities, and (of course) the priceless artifacts you have bravely recovered? Phone charger? Check. Leather whip? Check. Holy grail? Check.

I made myself a canvas bag during my not-so-short-lived phase of wanting to become a world traveler and rescuer of obscure relics. I didn't have time to become fourth-semester proficient in an ancient language, but I did have time to sew this bag. I had been researching waxed canvas online for some time, but the price tags of my favorite Moop bags led me to the conclusion that I had better learn to topstitch and wax canvas if I wanted one.

I watched a lot of tutorials about waxing canvas. Most instruct you to mix paraffin wax, beeswax, and turpentine. I wasn't crazy about the idea of putting turpentine on my lovingly-constructed bag--I was especially nervous about the smell. Eventually, I found instructions for waxing canvas using a mixture of only paraffin and beeswax. I decided to give it a try.

I mixed equal parts of each wax in a bowl over a simmer pot of water. I used 8 oz of each, but I probably could have gotten away with 4 oz. of each. Wax is highly flammable! It must be melted with caution (hence the double boiler)!! I spread craft paper on my work surface before I began. I used a very inexpensive brush for this project, as it isn't really usable afterward. Once my wax was completely melted, I brushed it onto the bag, trying not to coat it too heavily. Then I used a heat gun on the low heat setting to impregnate the fabric with the wax. I tried to wipe off any excess wax that remained on the surface. This was a time-consuming process. I worked in sections, waxing, then heating. The finished bag was quite stiff--much heavier than the original canvas. I decided to distress the bag a little by throwing it in the dryer with some tennis shoes, using the air dry setting.

I am in love with this bag. I'm not sure how it will hold up in the summer heat (it's ten below outside as I write this), so check back in the summer for an update. Even if I never have an adventurous life, this bag will carry my mundane stuff around like a champ. And I'll feel awesome wearing it :) Be creative and enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. The bloodline established by dispatch riders and couriers throughout the Second warfare is additionally evident within the newer luggage utilized by couriers. The previous canvas traveler luggage that they accustomed carry orders and messages were additionally closed by an outsized flap and were worn across the shoulder.