How to Wax Your Own Domke Lookalike Canvas Camera Bag

Good camera bags are expensive. You might have payed thousands of dollars for your gear setup. It’s only logical to carry the precious hardware in a worthy bag. There are all kinds of bags, the options are overwhelming, but still not good enough for photographer Allen Mowery who was “just sort of shot in the face with all the options available and the very price points that accompanied them.” He kept coming back to the waxed Domke canvas bags. They are beautiful, durable and looking reminiscent of a bygone era. But too expensive.

Photographer Allen Mowery explains how to make your own Domke canvas camera bag.
Photographer Allen Mowery explains how to make your own Domke canvas camera bag.
Waxed canvas camera bags are durable, water-resistant and take quite a beating when they need to! This quality though comes at a steep price.

So Mowery bought a cheap knockoff imported bag for $20, added a Tenba bag insert for $22. All he still needed was the protection and sense of nostalgia that comes with the more antiquated technique of waterproofing by waxing. Says Mowery: “The wax gives the bag an added visual dimension.”

In this thorough video tutorial he explains in-depth what materials to use and how exactly to wax a canvas bag to make it durable, water-resistent and, well, give it that classic look. Turns any canvas messenger bag into an original!

Et voilà, from cheap knockoff import to Domke look-alike. You can also follow the detailed how-to instructions on allenmowery.com.
Et voilà, from cheap knockoff import to Domke look-alike. You can also follow the detailed how-to instructions on allenmowery.com.

  • B. D. Colen

    This is all very cool – and cost saving – but it poses an interesting question: Do people buy Domke bags because they look “cool,” or because they can carry them to hell and back, beat the living s*&t out of them, and know that they are so well made they will hold up and protect the equipment inside them? If – please God – it’s the latter, then one has to ask if a $20 cheap import will do the same thing. It strikes me that buying a cheap bag in order to fool people into thinking that you are carrying a Domke is not unlike gluing a red dot on your camera. There is only one way to know if a photographer is capable of producing “professional” quality images – look at them, not at her bag or her camera.

    • Buy the camera that looks best on you, that seems to be the mantra of many photographers these days. Accessories and bag are part of this new chic culture… As you say B.D., there is only one way to tell the difference. Also, $150 is not that big of a price for quality, even though depending on the place you live it costs very little to fix a “tuned” knockoff bag that starts falling apart…

    • Philcycles

      I beat the very devil out of my Domkes. I use them when I can put the bag down so they get used fast. They’re tough. I buy them used from the people who use them as fashion items at a big discount.

  • Philcycles

    Oh, Barbour and Belstaff, English makers of waxed jackets, make wax dressings that work great.