How to Stiffen Vinyl Fabric


Stiffening fabric is necessary for several different craft projects. Making a fabric more rigid makes it easier to mold and to get it to keep its shape. This can be accomplished with any type of fabric, including vinyl. Vinyl fabric is typically two-sided. One side is the actual vinyl and the other is a cotton or polyester backing. This gives the fabric more weight and also makes it possible to stiffen it. Make vinyl fabric stiff with relatively inexpensive materials found in most craft or fabric stores.

Things You'll Need

  • Fabric stiffener or fabric glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Lay the piece of vinyl fabric on a flat surface so that the cotton or polyester backing is facing up.

  • Dilute the fabric stiffener with water according to the manufacturer’s directions, if necessary. Not all fabric stiffeners require dilution. You also may use fabric glue instead of fabric stiffener.

  • Paint over the entire cotton or polyester backing with the diluted or undiluted fabric stiffener. Apply a relatively thin layer--avoid painting thick globs.

  • Let this first layer of stiffener dry completely.

  • Apply multiple layers of stiffener in this way until the vinyl fabric reaches the stiffness desired.

Tips & Warnings

  • Some fabric stiffeners come in spray form. Make sure to apply spray fabric stiffener in a well-ventilated area. Spray in even coats, 6 to 12 inches from the fabric backing.

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