Crocheted pieces that need starch or stiffening are usually those made with thread rather than yarn. Yarn pieces can be blocked and shaped with water or a bit of spray starch. Thread projects that require a stiff shape, such as crocheted snowflake ornaments, doilies with ruffles, or soft lace can be stiffened with a starch solution. These solutions can be purchased or made from materials on hand at home. There is some messiness involved, but this can be limited with proper preparation.
Choose the best stiffening solution for your project. Commercial starch and glue can be used as well as a cooked cornstarch solution, or sugar and water. The type of starch will depend on how stiff you need the item. For a very stiff Christmas ornament use a thick paste starch or a heavy cornstarch solution.
Prepare the solution. Mix 1/4 cup of cornstarch with 1 1/2 cups of cold water, mixing until smooth. Cook over medium heat until the mixture is clear and thick. Allow it to cool before using. For sugar and water, mix equal portions and bring to boil. Remove from heat and cool. For commercial starch, follow the directions on the box.
Dip your project in the stiffening solution, or dab it onto the fabric. If the item becomes soaked with the solution, gently press excess out. Do not wring or twist the crocheted item.
Shape or flatten the crocheted item. If the item is to have ruffles that need to stand up, for example, shape them around a small glass or other object. If the item needs to be flat, like a crocheted snowflake, press it out smoothly. If needed, pin flat to a towel to absorb the moisture and preserve the shape. Allow the item to dry.