How to Make an Oilskin Coat

by Melissa Martinez ; Updated September 28, 2017

Heat from a blow dryer helps soak in the cream to make an oilskin coat.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

An oilskin coat is also called a duster or an Australian duster. They are heavy cotton coats that have a layer of oil on them that makes them weatherproof. The oil is melted refinishing cream that protects the coat and the wearer from wind, rain and even the sun. You can buy an oilskin coat ready-made and treated with refinishing cream, you can also do it yourself. Making your own oilskin coat is possible, even if you have no previous experience in making one.

Lay the canvas coat out and make sure there are no dust or dirt particles on it. If the jacket is brand new then you should be fine. If it is an older coat, ensure no particles are on it or else the refinishing cream may have a hard time soaking in. If necessary, soak the coat overnight in a bathtub of water and a capful of mild liquid detergent. Hang it up to dry before proceeding.

Place the coat on an outdoor work surface on a bright, sunny day. Make sure you are in full sunlight when you do this. The brighter and hotter the day, the better.

Lay the can of refinishing cream in the sun with the lid off. Allow the sun to melt the cream until it starts becoming oily. If you want to make the process go faster, you can use a blow dryer to melt the cream.

Dip the lint-free cloth into the newly melted can. Rub it into the coat sparingly, making sure to cover the entire coat. For the seams of the coat, put two applications on.

Allow the coat to dry while still fully exposed to the sun, which will help the oil seep into the coat. Once dry, the coat is ready to be used as you normally would use an oilskin coat.


  • If you don't have a blow dryer handy, placing the can in a bowl of warm water will help as well.

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About the Author

Melissa Martinez has been a freelance writer and copy editor since 2003. She specializes in Web content and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle" and is now the section editor for a minor league sports news wire. She attended Seattle University.