How can I make fabric stiffener?

Fabric stiffener, also referred to as fabric starch, is used in sewing and fabric crafts. By dipping the craft item in the fabric stiffener, it can be shaped or moulded. Craft and sewing stores sell commercial fabric stiffeners, but women have been making their own with simple household supplies for many years. Before mixing up a batch of homemade fabric stiffener, it's important to determine whether you need a permanent fabric stiffener or non-permanent. A non-permanent stiffener can be washed out if necessary and may have to be reapplied eventually, unlike its permanent counterpart.

Mix 1 1/2 cups of cold water with 1/4 cup of cornstarch in a cooking pot. Stir until mixture is smooth.

Heat the mixture over medium heat. Stir the mixture and continue to heat until the solution becomes translucent and thickens slightly. Remove from the heat, and allow the mixture to cool completely before using.

Pour any unused fabric stiffener into a plastic container with a lid. Store the solution in the refrigerator for one week, if necessary.

Pour 1 cup white all-purpose glue or craft glue into a mixing bowl.

Add 1 cup of water to the glue in the mixing bowl.

Stir the glue and water together until completely blended. Store the solution in the refrigerator between uses.


Dip your project in the homemade fabric stiffener to coat it thoroughly. Squeeze the excess liquid out of the craft without twisting or scrunching it. Shape the craft item and allow it to dry completely until it's hardened. Commercial fabric stiffeners can be purchased at craft and sewing stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Cooking pot
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • Wooden spoon
  • Plastic container
  • 1 cup white glue
  • Bowl
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About the Author

Mary Ylisela is a former teacher with a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education and mathematics. She has been a writer since 1996, specializing in business, fitness and education. Prior to teaching, Ylisela worked as a certified fitness instructor and a small-business owner.