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DIY Backpack Rain Cover Guide

Priscilla Greene |

Everybody loves a high-quality backpack for school, work, leisure activities, outdoor ones, and so on. If your favorite rucksack is a cotton canvas drawstring one, you know how practical and useful it is. The only problem with backpacks is that rain is their biggest enemy. Backpack enthusiasts also know how important it is to offer their backpacks a nice DIY backpack rain cover to keep their belongings dry and safe.

If you are a college student wanting to protect his books on rainy days, or a young urban professional who does not want his work laptop, papers, and personal stuff to suffer during bad weather, it is time to put your creativity to work. Today, we will present you with a DIY backpack rain cover guide for you to adapt to your own style and model of backpack.

DIY Backpack Rain Cover Guide – Waxed Canvas

diy supplies

First, you need to match the size of the future rain jacket with the size of your backpack. Let us see what you need and should do!


  •         Waxed canvas you can buy online or from a specialty store;

NOTE: If you want to engage fully in your DIY project, you can also waterproof the canvas yourself by following this canvas bags waterproofing guide;

  •         Fabric elastic band or drawstring (similar to the one you already sport on your drawstring backpack);
  •         A cord lock in case you opt for drawstring instead of elastic band;
  •         Tape measure;
  •         Scissors;
  •         Sewing machine and also needle and thread in the color of the waxed canvas;
  •         A cord lock in case you use drawstring instead of elastic.

What You Need to Do

The first thing you need to do is measure the waxed canvas so you can create a backpack cover that protects your backpack in its entirety. Your backpack rain jacket will look like a sizeable shower cap, so it has to cover the backpack on all sides. Here are the main steps you need to make:

  •         Place the backpack in the center of the canvas and cut the canvas in a shape that matches the shape of the backpack, making sure the final rain jacket will cover not only the exterior but go over on its back side as well;
  •         Cut the canvas with the scissors keeping in mind to leave at least 1 inch to create a hem to insert the elastic band or drawstring;
  •         Fold the 1-inch lip of the waxed canvas to create the hem and use your sewing machine to create the hem;
  •         When you sew the hem, make sure you leave a space to insert the elastic band or drawstring inside the hem;
  •         If you use elastic band, insert the elastic inside the hem with the help of a safety pin and go through the hem tightly to create the shower cap we were talking about at the beginning;
  •         Use the needle and thread to sew the ends of the elastic band; use the same needle and thread to sew the space in the hem;
  •         If you use drawstring instead of elastic, make sure you use the two loose ends of the drawstring with the cord lock;

Test your new backpack rain cover by pulling the strings to wrap your backpack with the cover; if you used elastic band instead of drawstring, make sure the “shower cap” wraps tightly around your backpack.

DIY Backpack Rain Cover Guide – Repurposed Umbrella

repurposed umbrella

Using the same principles as above, you can replace the waxed canvas with the waterproof canvas of an umbrella you no longer use or one that broke. If you repurpose an umbrella, you will not only protect the environment but also save money.

NOTE: If you use a used umbrella, make sure you use the wrong side of the canvas.


  •         The canvas from a broken or an unused umbrella;
  •         A piece of waterproof wax cloth to cover the top hole in the umbrella canvas;
  •         Needle and thread in the color of the umbrella canvas (or a piece of waterproof cloth that matches the print and patterns of the umbrella);
  •         Scissors;
  •         Sewing machine;
  •         Fabric elastic band or drawstring;
  •         Cord lock if you use drawstring.

What You Need to Do

The first thing you should do is to remove carefully the umbrella canvas from the rest of the metallic parts without harming the canvas. Next, you need to measure the canvas circle you now have against your backpack.

  •         Place the backpack in the center of the umbrella cloth and fold the circle around the backpack;
  •         Trim the canvas so it covers all sizes of the backpack in a round shape – keeping in mind that at the end you need to have a circle-shaped piece of canvas to turn into a shower cap;
  •         If you do not know how to properly cut the canvas, fold the circle until you get a cone and then use the scissors to trim the part you do not need;
  •         Do not forget to leave an inch of fabric you will fold to create the hem through which you will insert the elastic band or cord;
  •         Now that your piece of umbrella has the correct size and shape, you should cut a round piece from the waterproof canvas and sew it on the back (the wrong side) of the umbrella cloth in order to cover the umbrella hole;
  •         Use the sewing machine to make the hem and cut a small piece in the hem to pull the elastic or cord through;
  •         Just as we presented above, you can pull the elastic through the hem to create a fix shower cap, or you can use drawstring – just like the one on your canvas drawstring bags.

NOTE: By using drawstring to create your DIY backpack rain cover – with either the help of waxed canvas or a repurposed umbrella – you will be able to fold the rain cover better when you need it. It will simply turn into a square or circle of cloth to dry, fold, and store when you do not need it. A fix shower cap featuring an elastic hem is a little harder to dry, fold and store without creases.


Making your own DIY backpack rain cover is not hard. In order to waterproof your backpack with a cute rain jacket you can also use a piece of vinyl or the fabric from an old waterproof winter jacket. You can repurpose an old or small ski jacket, as it comes with excellent waterproof features and is very resilient to the elements as well.

Have you ever tried to make your own rain cover for your canvas backpack? How did it go? What fabrics and methods did you use?