How to Use Sugar to Starch Crochet Cotton

Starch a crocheted cotton doily with sugar water.
Starch a crocheted cotton doily with sugar water. (Image: Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Crochet cotton is a fine thread often used to create doilies, tablecloths and decorative snowflakes. Because it is so thin but is also durable, crochet cotton is ideal for creating open, lacy pieces. If you don't want your finished work to be limp, you must apply a heavy layer of starch. Liquid fabric starch is one option, but you can also stiffen crochet cotton items inexpensively with sugar and water.

Things You'll Need

  • Granulated white sugar
  • Water
  • Saucepan
  • Measuring cup
  • Spoon
  • Straight pins
  • 2 large towels
  • White paper

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Measure 1/2 cup of granulated sugar in a measuring cup and pour it into a saucepan.

Add 1/2 cup of water and stir well. For more or larger items, you can use more sugar and water, just keep the ratio equal.

Heat the sugar/water mixture to boiling and turn off the heat. Allow the mixture to cool.

Wet the item you wish to starch with plain water, then immerse it in the pan of sugar water for one minute to allow it to become fully saturated.

Lift the item out of the sugar water and blot out the excess liquid with a clean towel.

Fold the other towel in quarters and lay a piece of clean white paper over it.

Lay the crocheted item on the paper, arrange it into the shape you want and use straight pins to secure it through the paper and into the towel. Allow it to dry until stiff, which may take several days depending on the thickness of the item or the gauge of the crochet.


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