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How to make fabric stiffener and paper stiffener at home? Answered

I've been searching for homemade fabric stiffener and paper stiffener and found many as well. There are many ways to make fabric and paper stiffener at home, but do they really work? Which one of them are really effective? 



Best Answer 5 years ago

Time for science! (or the scientific process)
  1. Get some uniform scraps of fabric and paper,
  2. Whip up small quantities of the recipes in question
  3. Prepare a piece of fabric and paper with each recipe. Make sure to label each test piece.
  4. When they dry you can directly compare each sample and choose the one with the properties you need.
  5. Document all the results so that you can reference them later and so you can make sure time doesn't cause adverse properties in the samples.
If you document it well enough you probably can get a very useful Instructable out of it as well.

Most fabrib and a lot of paper is stiffened with watered down PVA Glue (white glue)

This dries clear. A mix of about 50:50 should do the trick - It should look like milk. You can spray this on or brush it onto fabric.

For a light stiffening of fabric just use starch.

Starch? Like the kind used for clothing?

I've never used it before, but I think it comes in a spray bottle,
Or maybe you mix powdered food starch with water and put that mixture in a spray bottle,

Erm... then what?  Do you just spray it on the part of the clothing you want to get stiff?

not sure about the recipe, but yes, you spray the spray starch on the areas of the clothing you wish to stiffen, and then you iron the sprayed area

That makes sense. I am guessing the iron sort of flattens the cloth, and the heat drives out the water, and the starched cloth is stiff when dry.

Although I'm still not sure why I would want to make parts of my clothes stiffened.  I think I prefer the rumpled and grungy look.

that is how grandmothers stiffened the collars of gradad shirts to look smart in the past. Fasion has changed a lot since

You can buy starch powder for stiffening clothing in most supermarkets (here anyway) - The modern version comes in a spray can.

My wife even now starches sheets and shirts.

Yes, PVA glue works quite well. But for how long can I keep the mixture (50:50 pva glue & water)? would it work after a few weeks of mixing?

Has anyone stiffened tissue paper? I need it to be as-is for my craft and then use something as a preservative or protective coat. Any Ideas please????

I'd be wary of using starch on fabric that you intend to keep (without washing the starch out) for some time, in case it attracts moisture and goes mouldy. I've used diluted PVA with success on many occasions, eg for roller blinds. It gives a certain amount of waterproofing to the fabric and helps it resist dirt. As well as spraying or brushing it on, you can make a shallow bath out of a suitable cardboard box lined with polythene and soak the fabric in it, but the fabric does need to be fairly flat or it will dry with creases in it. Once it's dry, just repeat the process if it's not stiff enough.

Can't find it anywhere in Canada. Used to be a staple when I was a girl. Lots of it in the USA though


5 years ago

I've had good luck with fabric by dissolving corn starch packing p-nuts in water and painting it on. The fabric was too slinky to sew before and came out like a board. I ironed it while still damp. (You can cover your iron face with aluminum foil to save on clean up). It washed out just fine when I was through sewing it.

Just curious, what are you trying to do and why not use a heavier paper - like tag board?

Thanks for the suggestion.
I can't use heavier paper because I'll need to fold the paper into different shapes and then stiffen it! which won't be possible if I'm using heavier paper. I'm going to make a lot of'em, so I was wondering how to make fabric and paper stiffener at home.