How to Wax a Cotton Jacket – Otter Wax Tutorial

Hey there folks this Brandon and with this
video I want to show you how to wax a cotton jacket or coat. The reason for this is because
I’m trying to gear up for winter and fall. It’s getting really rainy and I just got this
new coat and it’s not water resistant or water proof. You’re going to need a few tools, here’s
the tools you’re going to need. One, you’re going to need a cotton jacket, hat, coat,
whatever it is you’re trying to waterproof. It’s got to be cotton, and I’ll get to that
in a minute. Second, you’re going to need some Otter wax, this is the wax we are going
to use to waterproof the jacket. I’ll get into more details as to why we are using this
instead of some other options in just a moment. Third, you’re going to need a heat gun or
a heat tool to help melt the wax to make sure that it gets on the jacket evenly. Fourth,
you’re going to need a really inexpensive, cheap paintbrush to help spread the wax on
the jacket once its melted, and finally you’re going to need a pillowcase and an electric
dryer, I’ll explain why in just a moment. I’m going to get to the step by step instructions
in just a minute, but I want to briefly talk about why I recommend that you only do this
to cotton garments. I’m going to be talking specifically about
jackets for this example, the reason is this. Most winter clothing is made out of wool or
cotton or some sort of man-made material like polyester. You’re not supposed to use wax
on wool and the reason for that is because wool comes from animals and animal hair is
naturally water repellent. If you have a nice wool jacket like a pea coat or some sort of
woolen winter coat you don’t need to water proof it using any sort of wax. The wool will
naturally repel water. Cotton on the other hand comes from plants which are designed
to absorb moisture, therefore this is not a waterproof or water resistant material which
means that we need to wax it. Now of course there are other options out there. There are
Gore-Tex fabrics and all sorts of man-made materials, but I prefer to use a more traditional
cotton jacket because of the way it feels, the way it drapes on the body, the way it
hangs and because it’s very breathable. Waxing a cotton jacket is a little bit time consuming,
but it’s one of the best solutions for giving yourself a nice stylish, comfortable jacket
that’s also weather repellent. The problem with using Otter wax is that the instructions
that come with it are really limited. These are the instructions on how to use the Otter
wax and they’re completely wrong. If you follow the Otter wax instructions you’re going to
ruin your garment or you’re at least going to make it not waterproof. Instead we need
to figure out the traditional way of waxing a garment just using this product instead
of mixing our own wax. Let me briefly talk about this jacket. I had
this custom-tailored for myself using a website that allows you to put in your measurements
and choose fabrics and create your own jacket, press go and it ships straight to your door.
I included a link in the description of the video if you want to make your own. The reason
for that is that is because I have very odd proportions, I’m a larger individual, as you
can see with short stubby arms. Every jacket that I buy off of the rack I’ve got to get
adjusted somehow. It ended up being cheaper for me to just get a custom tailored, custom
fit jacket and so that’s what this is. The thing is if you buy a jacket, high end cotton
trench coat from Burberry or some place that has a great track record of making well made
garments you can buy them that are pre-waxed but they’re going to be like $300 to $400.
It’s really expensive to buy a high quality, pre-waxed cotton jacket. What we need to do
with this video is figure out a very cheap way to do it. It’s really cheap inexpensive
and it doesn’t even take a lot of time. In 24 hours you’re going to have a completely
waxed waterproof jacket. You only need to reapply the wax once a year if that, if you
don’t use it a lot you may not even have to reapply the wax for multiple years, so let’s
get right into it. The key to using Otter wax to wax your jacket
is to use a lot of force and quick friction. The reason for this is you need to impregnate
the fabric with the wax. The only way to do that is if the wax is in liquid form. You
can try to heat the wax using your heat gun and then heat the fabric before applying the
wax. Make sure that you don’t burn the fabric. Don’t hold the heat gun in one place over
the fabric. Make sure that you sweep it back and forth and keep it always in constant motion.
Then it’s the hard part, you’ve just got to get to work. Grab the wax, sit down or get
into a crouch position, lean over your work space and dig in. You need to do firm, fast,
repeated strokes. The color of the fabric is going to change, there’s no getting around
that. Your fabric will get darker even after the wax dies, the color will change to a darker
shade of the original color of the fabric. I found that it was nearly impossible to get
very much wax on the fabric in large broad strokes. Instead I only found success by doing
short quick vigorous strokes in a small area. Once the wax was applied, I would take the
heat gun to melt down any solid wax that had curled up then use the brush to spread it
out evenly. This is a long hard project. It was much more
difficult than I thought it was going to be. I got tired very quickly and I had to take
frequent breaks. Also, some of the more awkward parts of the garment are going to be fairly
tricky, for example, seams on pockets, seams between layers of fabric, and button holes
are especially tricky. I found that you can use the edge of the wax bar pretty well for
seams. You’ve just got to make sure that you rub it in really well. Another thing that
I noticed while waxing this jacket is that it’s much easier to apply the wax when you
have a very hard surface beneath the fabric. When I moved to the shoulders it was much
more difficult to get the wax off of the bar and on to the fabric because I had this soft
cushion in the shoulder pads that was making it harder for the wax to get grip. I had to
redouble my efforts and work ten times harder to get the wax off the bar for the shoulders.
For this jacket the shoulders were particularly important because that’s where the rain is
going to fall; it’s going to fall on your shoulders. This wax is good for work garments and for
casual pieces of clothing that you’re going to use every day. Backpacks, jeans, work shirts,
and cotton coats like this trench coat. As you can see while I’m waxing this coat, the
wax doesn’t apply in a clean even finish. There are parts of it that look a little mottled
and discolored, that’s due to the lining. Sometimes you’re going to rub the wax over
the lining which is going to cause dark streaks, and there are going to be some places that
don’t take the wax quite as well as others. Those are going to cause little light streaks.
When you dry this in the dryer it’s going to change because the wax is going to melt
and the motion of the dryer is going to cause the wax to spread out which is going to give
you a much more even tone, but you will never have a solid color like you did originally.
This waxing process gives your coat texture. It makes it look kind of vintage and worn
and a little bit edged. I actually like this look, I think it gives the coat some character.
I think it makes it look much more interesting so it doesn’t bother me, but if you’re trying
to wax a garment that you’re using for dressy occasions, instead I would probably not wax
it and use an umbrella or something like that. I miscalculated when I purchased my bar of
wax, I bought one large bar of wax and I thought that it was going to be enough to cover my
entire garment, but I was wrong. I got over halfway done with it when I completely ran
out of wax. I did half of the back, half of the front and the entire collar, and then
I ran out so I had to purchase another bar to complete the job. Since I had to take a
break with half of my coat done and the other half not done I decided to use this opportunity
to experiment with a before and after look. I went ahead and put it in the dryer. As you
can see the dryer melted the wax and the motion of the tumble dryer caused the wax to spread
out. This evened out the look of the wax and it dried perfectly. I filled a little spray
vile with water and I tested both sides of the fabric. I tested the untreated side, and
as you can see the cotton soaked the water right up. Then I tried the waxed side and
as you can see the water immediately started to bead. Here’s a close up shot. This is what
the fabric looks like after the wax has been applied and after it has dried in the dryer
and then dried on a rack for 24 hours. As you can see the fabric is darker and there
is a lot of textural detail. It looks worn and sort of vintage. Here’s a shot with some
water sprayed on top, as you can see it beads up beautifully. After I took this shot I soaked
up the water with a rag and it didn’t even leave a mark, the wax works. Once you’ve completed waxing the coat, put
your coat in a pillowcase, tie an end in the pillowcase, put it in your electric dryer
put the dryer heat on about medium heat and then dry it for about 10 to 20 minutes, you
might decide to do it for an entire load, and that’s going to be OK. The reason you’re
doing that is because the heat from the dryer is going to melt all of the solid wax and
then the force of the dryer is going to make all of wax spread out. It’s going to even
out the tone of it as you can see. This is the after, as you can see there are fewer
streaks that you saw when you were doing the waxing. That’s because I put it in the dryer
and that caused the wax to spread out and cover all of the different spots. I will point
out another thing as you can see this side of the jacket is much more even in tone, it’s
very flexible, I can move and it’s not making any marks. This side of the jacket is a little
less even in tone, especially right around here, I’m moving my arm and as you can see
where the wrinkles are forming it’s making small marks. The reason for this is because
I just finished waxing this side of the coat and this is the side of the coat that’s been
drying for several days while I’ve waited for my new bar of wax to arrive from Amazon.
So this is after just a few hours and after having dried it in the dryer and as you can
see it hasn’t dried fully. This is why it’s important to wax your coat, put it in the
dryer, and then set it out to dry for 24 to 48 hours. If you do so your coat will act
just like a regular piece of fabric. Its not going to have a waxy feel to it, its not going
to have a waxy smell to it, it’s not going to move like a thick waxy fabric, Its going
to feel normal. Whereas this side still feels a little waxy to the touch, it’s got a faint
waxy smell to it and it just doesn’t move like a normal piece of cotton fabric. So dry
it in the dryer, and then hang it out to dry in a warm dry place for between 24 and 48
hours. After you pull it out of the dryer you may
see places on your garment where you applied the wax a bit too thick. You can fix this
with your heat gun. Take out your heat gun, put it on the lowest heat possible and then
gently bring the heat gun into contact with the really thick wax pieces until it melts.
Now you don’t want to burn your garment so instead make circular motions pass it backwards
and forwards until the wax melts, then take out your brush and gently brush it down. Now
I want to show you exactly what to expect; here’s a before and after. Here is before
and here is after the waxing and drying. This was a much more complicated project then I
thought it was going to be. I did the math, all said and done, waxing this coat took 4
hours – two hours to do one side and two hours to do the other side, and it hurt; my muscles
are aching afterwards. I’m still glad I did it, I’m going to have a nice waterproof jacket
now. I’ve already tested it, its waterproof, it works, it looks great, it feels great.
I’m pleased with the construction and the quality of the material so it was worth it
for me to do. I do recognize that most of you are probably going to be doing this on
smaller items, even those of you who are going to be doing a coat, you’re probably a lot
smaller than I am, so the coat that you’re going to have to deal with is probably half
this size so it will probably take you half the time. Just learn the lessons that l learned
and put aside an entire afternoon to work on waxing your jacket if it is a very large
piece of fabric like mine is. Then just dedicate the time necessary to get it done, and then
enjoy your coat. Don’t forget I’ve got links to the wax that I used in the description
of this video, I’ve got a link to where you can get either this exact jacket, or any other
jacket that you might want to build, custom tailored to yourself in the links of this
video. Be sure to expand the description and check out all of the links that I’ve posted
there. I’m going to cover a lot of the stuff and the tools that I used in this video right
there easy and convenient for you. So be sure to check that out before leaving.

62 thoughts on “How to Wax a Cotton Jacket – Otter Wax Tutorial

  1. Why not melt down the wax & paint it on? Troops used need wax on their parade boots to harden them to enable glass-like Polish ( called 'bulling') and we would melt down & paint the beeswax on

  2. After waxing a few jackets using different types of wax, I found I really like the heat activated stuff over the bar. Actual application of the wax feels easier, even if it's not.

  3. Brandon, thanks for the video. My barbour-like coat is in the dryer as we speak. You were very helpful. I used the Otter Wax fabric dressing, hoping to have good results as well.

  4. Thank you for taking time to make this video, it was very helpful. I have an old canvas jacket of an almost identical color that I just got dry cleaned, and now will be a good time to apply the wax to slow the build-up of dirt on the sleeves and back. Thank you again, cheers.

  5. a couple of things, lots of hard and UN-neccessary work (in my opinion) why not melt your wax bars and add linseed oil, while it is still warm simply brush or paint it on, then dry it with a hair dryer on low heat(so not to scorch the fabric …….or a can of scotchguard (as used on lounge chairs) will do the job also and wont require heating (it won't last as long but you should get at least one season out of it then re-touch as needed), just my 2 cents worth thanks for sharing the video

  6. I love this video ! Thinking of trying it on my shoes. One question though, would a hot sunny day melt the wax off my shoes ?

  7. I really like the before and after part of the video and also the bit where you demonstrated why you should let the waxed garment cure. really well made and the coat looks awesome. reminds me almost of leather.

  8. Thank-you for taking the time to inform & educate the rest of us by uploading this how to video. I have a couple questions. can you use bees wax? How about paste wax that comes in a tin such as butcher's wax? Will either of these work? The paste/butcher's wax in a tin, seems to make sense to me because it is relatively soft & easier to apply.

    Thanks in advance for any response & input on my questions. Also, as an after thought, doesn't the wax coat the inside of your dryer when you put the waxed jacket in & dry it? You mentioned something about a pillow case but I seemed to miss most of what you were saying. Cheers.

  9. That was awesome, thanks for taking the time to make and upload this video! Looks way better after the wax job too

  10. Awesome! How long does it last? I'm assuming to make a t-shirt completely waterproof, you'd have to do this to both the inside and outside, right? I'm going to Lake Tahoe and I'll be IN the water a lot (swimming, diving, etc.). And like to make one or two of my shirts waterproof so when I get out of the water my shirt is dry. Is that realistic?

  11. Thanks for the video. Did having your coat in the dryer not leave a wax residue, etc. inside the dryer cylinder? I just wax-coated a canvas backpack.

  12. A lot of work for the same gains… Easier ways to wax a jacket without all that rubbing!! Nice finish tho well done..

  13. Has anyone ever tried Nikwax cotton proof spray? It is a lot easier than using solid wac and has the dame results. But I dont think it lasts as long as solid wax and has to be re-applied every couple of month I think. Also what about waterproofing wool coats? I know nikwax makes a spray for fleece and wool called nikwax polartech. Has anyone tried that on wool coats? I have heard that Scotchguard works best on wool clothing.

  14. Wool does benefit from waxing. It gets very heavy when wet. If you ever run your hand over untreated sheep's wool, you'll find it is covered in lanolin. Guess what people used to waterproof clothing in ye open days? ?

  15. OH MY GOD OXHORN!!!! I haven't seen you since I played WoW almost 12 years ago!!!! Staying away from those hippie elves still? Lol! What a crazy coincidence, i was just looking for an instructional on waxing my highwayman coat…

  16. Great man! The original instructions are shit! Re-done it with your instructiond and it way better! Think ill send and email to otterwax ???

  17. Holy balls, this is random as shit. I've been watching your F04 vids all week, and just searched out for this to wax my M65 field jacket, lol.

  18. is there a way to melt the wax, add some sort of metallic pigment to the wax, let the wax solidify again, and use that to coat denim jeans for a new look?

  19. Thanks Ox!! Huge help as the otter wax doesn’t mention anything about heating in the instructions I had. Awesome to see you pop up when I was searching the how-to’s ?

  20. Heated tin of proofing wax? Might reduce elbow grease (pun intended)
    I still think you’d need the bar for seams.
    I’m inspired to brave the arm ache after watching this. I have a navy deck jacket that has been frankly disappointing in terms of wind and water resistance that I must try this with.
    I very much enjoyed your video, you have an excellent presentation style. Thank you.

  21. Oh dear lord. There has to be an easier way to do this. How about a wax spray or melting the wax first? Once in liquid form the paint brush should make it much easier to apply,.

  22. Thanks for the video. I found out about this product recently and it caught up my curiosity. All natural wax for clothes. I was already aware that most waxes that are meant for clothes are not natural but instead often include paraffin. It's not that those products aren't good, but I just don't think that we need as much chemicals and synthetic materials as we them use today.

    I'm not entirely convinced though that waxed jackets are truly as waterproof as they're claimed to be. I've never managed to make my factory-waxed Fjällraven jacket anywhere near waterproof, not even by applying more Greenland Wax to it. But it's waterproof enough for my purposes. It's just the heavy rain in low temperatures, below +10 celsius (or so) that I need to avoid. Above that it's warm enough even if the clothes get wet (and polyester/cotton mixture dries very fast once the rain stops). And once it gets below freezing point, waterproofing isn't required anymore. And the wax does make my jacket slightly water-repellent, just enough so that even when it's wet, it let's some moisture through, but clothes under the jacket never really get soaked.

    Now that I've found a natural wax for a jacket I just need to find a proper jacket that doesn't have any polyester/polyamide etc. And that's pretty hard. I like the looks of Barbour jackets but even those often have polyester or polyamide lining. Totally unneccessary if you ask me.

  23. Great video as always, i watch a lot of your fallout videos and enjoy them very much, I know that this is an old video but may i ask how your coat is holding up nowadays is it still as just as waterproof or has the wax needed to be reapplied. thanks

  24. Love your style and pipe collection. But maybe there's an easier and more durable way? For my Barbour jackets, this is the rewaxing procedure (granted it's rewaxing and not from the pure fabric): buy a tin of Barbour Wax, melt it in a pot of hot water, apply liberally with a cloth, wipe down with another clean cloth while using a hairdrier to ensure wax gets well into the fabric and stitching, and finally hang overnight in a warm place. Then it's protected and ready for wear. And the great thing about waxed jackets is that develop a nice individualised patina and look better with time.
    Ah, now I noticed Kris suggested same below – the Barbour rewaxing way does put on a lot of wax, but the after-wiping and hairdrier does remove the excess quite well.

  25. You can lanolize a wool coat that isn't repelling water well anymore.

    I use wool diaper covers, lanolin is the oil taken from sheep wool so the process is just adding that back into the wool. Which is necessary since I buy old wool sweaters and cut them up and sew them into covers. Usually by the time I get the sweaters they have been improperly washed and all the natural lanolin is gone.

  26. Easily the best how to wax a jacket video on YouTube. Thanks for getting right down to it and not blabbing on about x,yz like every other youtuber. Great tips, i'll wax my tin coat tomorrow.

  27. Wouldn't it work to put the wax in a small coffee can, place in a water bath to melt it (double boiler method), then paint brush it on?

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