Most crocheted items are usually soft and fluffy when finished. But some crocheted items look best when they hold their shape.
Suppose you are one of those looking for ways to firm up your crochet projects, then, good news for you. There are many ways you can do to make yarn stiff for your crafts. You can find various fabric commercial stiffeners in the market. But you can also make your yarn stiffeners from everyday household items.
You can use these yarn stiffeners on crochet projects like doilies, flowers, and other crochet ornaments. Different crochet products need a level of stiffness to make them work and look as they should be.
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What can I use to stiffen yarn?
There are many techniques to stiffen yarn for crafts. You can buy ready-to-use materials to stiffen yarn or try to DIY fabric stiffeners. Here are common household materials you can use to stiffen your yarn.
- White Glue
One of the simplest yarn stiffeners you can do is a mixture of white glue and water. Start by mixing equal parts of white glue and water. The ratio of glue to water depends on how rigid you want your crochet to be.
Dip your crochet piece into the white glue and water solution thoroughly. You can also use a spray bottle to spray your homemade stiffener solution on your crochet fabric. Squeeze out extra stiffener solution from your crocheted piece.
Block your crocheted item on flat cardboard using pins until you get the desired shape. Air dry your crochet piece completely.
Remember that spraying with glue and water solution is permanent and cannot be washed off. Also, do not iron your crochet project with the glue and water stiffener; it may turn brown or get burned.
One of the most comfortable and most convenient methods to make yarn stiff is to use starch. Starch has been used as a stiffener for fabrics for a long time now. It is no wonder why it is because it is a common pantry staple.
To make the starch solution, mix a tablespoon of starch to half a cup of water. Simmer the mixture in a pan over medium heat until you form a thickened and translucent solution. Remove from heat and let cool.
Soak your crocheted piece in the starch solution. Remove excess starch solution. Pin your work on a clean piece of cardboard for flat crochet projects like lace doilies or earrings.
If you are stiffening crochet to form a bowl, find a bowl that can serve as your mold. Wrap the bowl with plastic wrap and place your crochet piece on the bowl’s bottom to duplicate its shape. Let your crocheted project dry thoroughly to retain the shape of the bowl.
If you do not want to make your own stiffener starch solution, you can find liquid or spray commercial starch available in the market. Arrange your crochet pieces and apply the commercial starch fabric stiffener in the same way you use your DIY fabric stiffener.
Note that starch stiffener is only temporary, and your crochet may lose shape if it gets wet. Starch stiffener is best used on temporary ornaments like Christmas crochet decors. It is also not advisable to use on white crocheted items as it yellows over time.
The sugar-water solution is another easy way to stiffen crochet fabric. Sugar is an ideal ingredient for a yarn stiffener because it is one of the most common items you can find in most homes.
First, you have to make the sugar and water solution. Mix equal portions of sugar and water. Boil the sugar and water solution, then let it cool for a bit. Dip your crocheted item in the solution. Squeeze the excess stiffening solution but do not twist.
Block your crochet piece if needed using pins over a flat surface. Let your crochet project dry thoroughly.
Sugar and water solution as a stiffening agent gives your crochet piece a hard and natural look.
Using wax to stiffen your crochet is also a handy technique but involves a bit more work. It can also add a little weight to your crochet project.
Start by choosing candle wax with the same color as your crochet piece so it can blend in easily. Have wax paper, a tray, and flat iron ready also. Wash and dry your crochet fabric before using a wax stiffener.
Grate wax on each side of your crocheted piece on the tray. Place your crochet piece between two pieces of wax paper. Iron each side of your crochet piece carefully to make the wax melt into it evenly.
Grate more wax into your crochet piece if you want to add more stiffness. Note that you have to shape your crochet while cooling. It will be harder to shape your crochet piece once the wax has hardened.
How do you stiffen fabric for crafts?
DIY stiffener solutions of glue, sugar, or starch are handy in making your crochet projects firm. You can find liquid and pressurized fabric stiffeners in the market if you are not thrilled to make the stiffening agents on your own. You can try these other techniques that may provide better rigidity to your crochet projects.
- Use a smaller hook.
Use a smaller hook than the recommended size on the yarn label. A smaller hook can make tighter and stiffer stitches than what the regular hook can make. Using a smaller hook for crochet projects is the technique used to make amigurumi items. The finished product is rigid, and the stitches are very tight that you cannot see any space between them.
- Use a different stitch.
Another way to make your crochet hold its shape is to use a different stitch than what is in the pattern. Replace the single crochet stitches in the pattern with half double crochets. You can make a hat hold its shape by using hdc instead of sc. Switching stitches from sc to hdc can make crochet projects made of wool or acrylic firm.
Changing stitches is also helpful if you want a stiffer brim for your crochet hat. Use a reverse single crochet stitch on the hat’s brim instead of the stitch indicated on the pattern. You can create a rigid brim by using the reverse single crochet stitch sans stiffening agents.
- Crochet over a wire.
Sometimes, parts of your crochet project need to be firm and hold their shape. If you do not want to soak your crochet work or spray on a stiffening agent, you can try crocheting on a wire.
You can crochet on a laundry line or any wire to make your work shape up. Crocheting over a wire is useful to crochet projects like baskets and rugs and also make sturdy basket handles. Some crocheters use wires that give rigidity to the crochet work and add to the design as well.
You can also use fishing line to crochet over to stiffen your work. Fishing lines come in different sizes, so you have more options to use on your project. Fishing line and pipe cleaner wires can add firmness to hat brims, stiffen parts of toys like bunny ears, and give shape to crochet jewelry.
- Use a different type of crochet thread.
The rigidity of crochet work also depends on the type of thread used. Crochet is more commonly associated with delicate, handcrafted items like sweaters, shawls, or afghans. But there are also available threads in the market that can create a crochet piece that can stand by itself.
You can try different thread weights to add stiffness to your fabric. If you are making crochet baskets and storage bins, t-shirt yarns are the best bet to do the job.
When you make intricate crochet ornaments or lace doilies, you can use DMC, Anchor, and other threads in sizes of 20 and 40 to make stiff crochet items. You do not need stiffener solutions if you use these types of threads for your crochet projects.
How do you stiffen yarn ornaments?
From the various methods to stiffen yarn for crochet, the best way to hold up the shape of yarn ornaments is to use candle wax. This technique to harden yarn crafts has been around for a very long time.
Using wax to stiffen crochet projects is relatively easy and straightforward since the key material to use is easily found in the household.
Follow this step-by-step procedure to help you stiffen your crochet projects with candle wax. This technique is best to use on elaborate yarn ornaments like crochet earrings or lace doilies.
I. Prepare the materials that you need.
Candle wax, preferably the same color as the crochet piece you need to stiffen
II. Stiffening with wax.
Place your washed and dried crochet piece on the plastic tray.
Grate the candle wax directly onto the crochet project. Cover it thoroughly with the grated wax. Once fully covered, press on the wax for it to stick to the crochet item.
Turn your item over and grate candle wax on the other side until it is also fully covered. Gently press on the wax for it to adhere to the other side of the crochet piece.
Place the crochet piece between the two sheets of wax paper. Press each side with a hot iron until the wax melts evenly on the crochet piece.
A few tips when using candle wax to stiffen your crochet projects:
- You can increase the level of stiffness of your crochet project by repeating the steps in stiffening with wax. Repeat the process until you achieve the right amount of stiffness you want for your project.
- If you need to curve and shape some parts of your crochet item, do it while the wax is still warm. Once cold, it will stiffen and hold its shape.
- Do not use this technique on acrylic yarn, as the heat from the hot iron may burn your crochet piece.
- You can use half-used candles as long as it has a similar color as your crochet project to avoid discoloration of your item.
- Using candle wax is a great technique to harden crochet items like Christmas ornaments, snowflake designs, and intricate doilies.