How to Stiffen or Starch Crochet Articles

By A Guest Writer – 101 Comments

A Guest Post by Amanda Kidd.

If you are interested in stiffening your crochet, then you are lucky to have plenty of methods at your disposal. The list of various methods range from commercial to homemade. The most traditional formula is the sugar solution and it works excellently even today. As for you, what you want to do with your crochet will decide the type of solution that will suit your purpose.

  1. Hair spray
    This will involve treating your item with a hair spray and then pinning in place. Watch out for any rust on your pins or else there could be unwanted spots on your item. Wait until the hairspray is dried up and semi hard. This method is great for temporary crochet items, such as Christmas decorations.
  2. Starch
    This is the handiest method of all. You are required to wash your item and then dry it properly. Make sure that you have a prepared surface to lay your crocheted article on. A flat surface like a blocking board or a cardboard box will work. Just place your item on the board, pin it up with rust-free pins and spray the starch. For those who are planning for a curved look may opt for a glass bowl or pie pan.
  3. Glue and water
    For this method, mix glue and water in equal proportions and soak your crocheted article in it. Squeeze a bit but don’t twist your crocheted article as you may end up ruining it. Try arranging your crocheted item in different shapes until you get the desired look, then let it dry. Note that this method is permanent and cannot be washed out like other methods.
  4. Liquid starch
    When it comes to adjusting how stiff you want your crocheted article, liquid starch is the best method. Apply the starch directly or spray it by mixing with water first. The more water added, the less stiff it’ll be. Again remember not to twist your item while squeezing once you have dipped it properly in the solution.
  5. Sugar-water solution
    Boil equal portions of sugar and water together. Let it cool a bit and dip your crocheted article into it. Again squeeze it but not twist. This method gives the crochet a hard look and imparts a natural feel to it.

How to give the desired shape?

There are two simple and easy ways to shape your item. Choose according to your preference.

  1. Use a towel to dry the item. Now press the wrong side with a mild iron setting after covering with a thin piece of cloth or handkerchief. Press until properly dried and remember not to use a hot iron over it.
  2. If you have an item such as a ruffle doily, prepare a flat surface and pin up your crocheted item on it. Give a gentle stretch to the item by placing forms like film cartridge containers, spice bottles or any round object, at regular intervals where you want the item to curve. Then allow it to dry.

Amanda is a writer and blogger. She loves writing about the most expensive stuffs in the market and recently her interest has aroused in the most expensive wedding dresses.

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  1. Pam R says:

    I have several doz crocheted easter eggs I’m trying to starch. I have inserted a balloon and blew it up and tied it off. I can’t seem to get the right measurements or cooking instructions for the sugar water. It either doesn’t get hard or it is sticky. I tried liquid starch and that didn’t get hard either. I’m at a loss. I’ve tried this a half a dozen times with no luck. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    • Rachel Choi says:

      Hi Pam! For the sugar mix you will need 1 part water to 2 parts sugar (some people use even more sugar, the more sugar the harder). Heat until the sugar melts and it looks clear, but don’t let it boil.

  2. Em V says:

    What does “This method is great for temporary crochet items” mean?

    Is hairspray not a long term solution?

    • Denise says:

      This is literally my same question. Do you have any new insights since you asked this? Or did you try it yourself??

  3. Tammy says:

    I have a blanket for a twin size bed a crochet one and I am wanting to stiffen it if I use the liquid starch can I put it in the washer to do this or by hand would be better

  4. Toni says:

    What can I use to stiffen a rope and crochet basket. Cotton yarn around rope.


  5. Jessica says:

    Hi…any suggestions on restoring hardened crocheted items that have lost their original shape? I have a beautiful crocheted angel used as a Christmas tree topper and it has lost some of it’s shape. The wings are curling inward and no longer stick out to the sides, and I really would like to restore it and take better care of it! Thank you!

    • Tsukihime says:

      I think if it’s cotton you will have a better time re-setting it. I haven’t tried many methods for stiffening yarn myself but I think if you get it wet with a starch/water solution or a glue/water solution it should work fine. Just remember to let it completely dry before moving it. I’d say if your angel isn’t malformed but it’s just the wings, try to get just the wings wet if possible? Then lay the wings on a surface that keeps the wings flat and let it dry.

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