Stiffening Crochet (Plus Stiffener Recipes)

Apparently there's a weird virus going around that doesn't cause much by way of cold symptoms, but leaves the victim utterly exhausted nonetheless. That virus came to visit our house this week. First the Animator, and then The Animator's Wife, which is how it came to be that we purchased one of Stitch Diva's patterns.

The Animator's Wife enjoys the challenge of creating her own patterns, but sometimes it nice to just sit and work on a project and not worry about how it's going to be constructed, especially when you're so tired you can barely function enough to be a mother. You see, The Animator and His Wife were invited to a Mardi Gras party this weekend, and The Animator's Wife just had to crochet her own mask. Well Stitch Diva has a lovely crochet mask pattern--why not use hers?

So alas, we do not have a new pattern for you this week as we had originally planned. But we did think this would be a good opportunity to go over crochet stiffening techniques.

Why would you want to stiffen your crochet? Well perhaps you crocheted a Christmas ornament that you'd like to hold its shape. Or maybe you're making a lacy crocheted bowl. In our case, it was a face mask that we needed to hold it's shape.

You can use a number of different mediums to stiffen crochet. Premade formulas are available at most craft and yarn stores, but we'll share our favorite recipes at the end of this post. The process is the same regardless of the medium.


1. Begin by preparing your medium in a bowl or platter large enough to contain the crocheted piece.



2. Make sure the crocheted piece is completely finished. Weave in all ends before stiffening.


3. Dip the crocheted piece in the stiffening medium and mix well. Make sure it is completely saturated in the stiffener.

How to Stiffen Crochet (via CrochetKitten.com)

4. Spread the crocheted piece out on a flat surface (or in the case of the crocheted mask, a styrofoam head) to dry. Be sure to stretch and mold the crocheted piece into the final desired shape before it dries, especially if you're using a permanent stiffener.

Crochet Stiffener Recipes

Cornstarch Stiffener
This is a non-permanent stiffener that washes out with soap and water.

Ingredients
1 part cornstarch
1 part cold water
3 parts boiling water

Directions
Dissolve cornstarch in an equal amount of cold water. Bring remaining water to boil on the stove. Add cornstarch mixture to boiling water. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened and transparent. Allow to cool until cool enough to handle. Stiffen crochet as illustrated above. Store excess in a covered container in the fridge.

White Glue Stiffener
This is a permanent stiffener. It dries transparent, but may leave a matte finish on your crochet. For a shiny finish, use the cornstarch stiffener (above) or glitter glue stiffener (below).

Ingredients
1 part white craft glue
1 part water

Directions
Whisk ingredients together with a fork or whisk until well blended. Stiffen crochet as illustrated above. Store excess in a covered container.

Glitter Glue Stiffener
This is also a permanent stiffener. It dries transparent, but glittery.

Ingredients
2 parts white craft glue
1 part glitter
3 parts water

Directions
Whisk ingredients together with a fork or whisk until well blended. Stiffen crochet as illustrated above. Store excess in a covered container.