How to stiffen fabric permanently

Written by ann jones
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Create permanent sculptures out of fabric using liquid fabric stiffener, available from craft stores under several different brand names. Fabric stiffener is a thick glue formulated especially for stiffening fabric permanently. Hang sheets of stiffener-covered fabric from a clothesline to turn them into flat boards or drape over a mould like a balloon or cardboard box. Your fabric assumes the shape of the mould and retain that shape permanently.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Rubber gloves
  • Newspaper or plastic garbage bag
  • Liquid fabric stiffener
  • Large plastic bowl
  • Paintbrush (optional)

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  1. 1

    Cover your work surface with newspaper or a plastic garbage bag. Put on rubber gloves to protect your hands.

  2. 2

    Fill a large plastic bowl with enough liquid stiffener to cover your fabric.

  3. 3

    Submerge the fabric in the stiffener. Squeeze the stiffener through the fabric with your hands to saturate it completely.

  4. 4

    Wring the fabric over the bowl to squeeze out any excess stiffener.

  5. 5

    Shape the fabric over your mould or hang it to dry.

Tips and warnings

  • As an alternative, you can paint fabric stiffener onto the fabric using a paintbrush.
  • Humidity can affect drying time and stiffness. Work in a low-humidity area to ensure best results.

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