How to make your own fabric hardener

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How to make your own fabric hardener
Apply a small amount of fabric hardener to lace edges, forcing them to lie flat. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Fabric stiffener causes fabric to become rigid and hold its shape. Use fabric stiffener to harden crocheted or knitted ornaments or to temporarily stiffen fabric while you are working with it. Commercial fabric stiffener typically contains starch, but you can make your own stiffener at home using white craft glue. Making homemade stiffener is an easy, inexpensive project for the home crafter.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • 1 tablespoon white glue
  • Water
  • Bowl
  • Fork
  • Paintbrush

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  1. 1

    Combine 1 tablespoon of white glue with 2 tablespoons of water in a bowl.

  2. 2

    Mix thoroughly with a fork.

  3. 3

    Apply the stiffener to one side of the fabric using a paintbrush. The mixture is invisible when it dries, so the stiffer you want the fabric, the thicker you should paint on the coat of glue mixture. Arrange the fabric as you want it to be when dry; for instance, if you want lace to be perfectly flat, slightly crimped, or -- in the case of a Christmas ornament -- formed around a deflatable object (such as a balloon) until it dries to the desired shape.

  4. 4

    Allow the fabric to dry thoroughly before handling. For added stiffening, paint the other side of the fabric; dry thoroughly.

Tips and warnings

  • Increase the amount of glue-to-water ratio if you want added rigidity.
  • If the fabric becomes soiled, clean the item by gently sponging it with water and allowing it to dry. Since white glue is water soluble, the piece may lose some stiffness during cleaning. Repeat Steps 1 to 4 to restore the fabric's original rigidity.
  • Do not attempt to keep leftover fabric hardener. Wash all your tools as soon as you are done and mix up a fresh batch when you need more.

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