Washing Engraved Canvas

I have seen a lot of comments about engraved designing on canvas washing away. I am making this post to go over options for protecting your design from washing away. This post is not as much about setting as it is about preventing wash away. Therefore, the photos just show three settings in the format of speed/power. All engravings were 270 LPI and 1 pass.

These are the items referenced in the post:
Waterproofer: Amazon.com: New Waterproofing Spray Fabric Protector Spray for Marine Canvas Boat Tops, Vinyl Seats and Tent Water Proof: Health & Personal Care

Spray shellac: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08MWXMMJ1/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

First, the fabric used is this post is 12 oz canvas. Here is a photo of a baseline comparing the fabric pre washing (on left) and post washing (on right) with no pre or post engraving treatment:

A good amount of the engraving washed away. So the first option to explore is using water proofer post engraving but pre washing. Here is a photo showing a comparison where left is post washing with no treatment and right is the results after the following operations:

  1. Engrave
  2. Spray waterproofer
  3. Wash

Another option is using shellac pre engraving. Here is a comparison of post engraving but pre washing with nothing on the left and shellac on the right:

Shellac did not burn as deep but is does strengthen the fabric a lot and so there is more to be explored with higher settings on canvas that has been pre treated with shellac. Here is a photo comparing post washing with shellac:

I also have a bright pad and figured some photos that show the state of the fabric (by seeing how much light shines through) might be useful in determining the overall effect on the fabric:

Hopefully this information is helpful for anyone wanting to do canvas engraving.


Nice experiments, thanks for writing it up.


Thank you for this very helpful set of experiments. Bookmarked!


Thank you for writing all if this up. So helpful!


Thanks, I love using canvas. My daughter sews with canvas a lot!!


What projects does she do? Whenever people find out I sew they always ask if I can make canvas window curtains for some reason…which always sounded weird to me lol.

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Thanks for the writeup @MyDogsThinkImCrazy!
Might come in handy in the future.


She has made some tents, and a lot of bags. she has a couple of sailrite sewing machines she raves about:-)

Which ones does she have? This one is mine. I dressed it up as an angler fish

And the vinyl is glow in the dark so it always makes me laugh when I finish a project and turn off the lights to see this:

Sailrite really makes a champ of a machine. This thing will last forever.


I always enjoy seeing write ups on testing. Thank you for your contribution!


Are you using a spray shellac to cover the area you intend on engraving and how does it affect the overall feel of the material?

It does make it still. It’s not as much worth it with cotton fabrics, IMO. If you wanted to stick with cotton then having it interface with a polyester fabric is the best results because it will melt it more into the polyester as opposed to just making ash.

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Ooo angler fish! So awesome.
Amazing write up!!!

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