Whether you just found a treasure at a thrift store or made your own crocheted items, you may need to stiffen or starch them before use. Crochet items that look best with stiffening include doilies and other lacy household items. Adding a starch stiffener helps them lay flat to show off intricate designs. The process requires precision to make sure the design looks perfect before starching, but the finished product is worth the work.
Things You'll Need
Wash the crocheted item, if necessary, and roll it in a towel to dry. Avoid wringing the wet crochet to prevent stretching or damaging the item.
Cut a piece of cardboard 2 to 3 inches larger than the crochet item and cover it with parchment paper. Tape the parchment paper to the bottom side of cardboard to hold it in place.
Lay the crochet item right-side up on the cardboard and pin it to hold the desired shape. Verify a round item is pinned to look round because it will hold the pinned shape after stiffening.
Mix laundry starch with 1/4 cup of water until it is smooth and dissolved. Boil 1/2 cup of water in a saucepan and add the starch mixture. Remove the pan from the heat and add 1 cup of cold water. Mix the solution and let it cool.
Mist the crocheted item with water to dampen it. Fill a spray bottle with the cool starch solution and mist the crocheted item with the solution until it is saturated. Blot excess moisture from the item and let it dry.
Remove the pins from the crochet item once it is completely dry.
It is possible to dip the item in the starch solution for five minutes, carefully wring out excess liquid and then pin it to the cardboard. This method may cause the item to stretch, but will stiffen it more than misting with the starch solution.
Another option for starching is mixing 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, and heating it in a saucepan until all sugar dissolves. Let the sugar solution cool and then mist it on or dip the crocheted item to stiffen it.