How to Stiffen Nets

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You can stiffen the net under a tutu in several ways.
You can stiffen the net under a tutu in several ways. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

A variety of projects may require you to stiffen a net, from making the buoyant tulle under a ballet skirt, to forming a crocheted yarn net into a basket, to conditioning the heavy mesh of a lacrosse net. There are several different ways to stiffen netting, and you should pick the one that is most appropriate for your project.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottled fabric stiffener
  • Ziplock bag or glass bowl
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Water
  • Saucepan
  • White glue
  • Paintbrush
  • Spray starch
  • Spray-on clear acrylic paint

Commercial Fabric Stiffener

Pour the solution into a ziplock bag or glass bowl.

Fabric stiffeners (such as Crafter's Pick and Stiffy) can be found at craft stores.
Fabric stiffeners (such as Crafter's Pick and Stiffy) can be found at craft stores. (Image: Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

Insert the net and saturate it with the solution.

Remove the net and wring out the excess solution.

Shape it if desired.

Allow it to dry completely.

Sugar Solution

Mix 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water together in a saucepan.

A non-chemical stiffening method is a solution made from half sugar and half water.
A non-chemical stiffening method is a solution made from half sugar and half water. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Boil for 2 tp 3 minutes; then allow the solution to cool enough to handle.

Soak your net in the solution for around 15 minutes.

Wring out the netting and shape it.

Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.

White Glue

Dilute white glue with water until you can easily apply it with a paintbrush.

If your netting project cannot be immersed in liquid, you can use a mixture of white glue (such as Elmer’s) diluted with water.
If your netting project cannot be immersed in liquid, you can use a mixture of white glue (such as Elmer’s) diluted with water. (Image: NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Drape your net around an object (such as a glass bowl) that will give it the shape you desire.

Paint the entire net with the glue solution.

Allow it to dry until the glue is clear and stiff.

Spray Starch

Shape your netting if desired, then spray it thoroughly with spray starch.

You can find spray starch at most supermarkets.  Choose the product with the strongest hold.
You can find spray starch at most supermarkets. Choose the product with the strongest hold. (Image: Ablestock.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Allow the starch to dry completely.

Apply additional coats until the desired stiffness is achieved.

Clear Acrylic Spray Paint

Shape your netting as desired; then spray it thoroughly with clear acrylic spray paint.

Clear acrylic spray paint can be used to stiffen netting.
Clear acrylic spray paint can be used to stiffen netting. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Allow it to dry completely.

Touch up or apply additional coats as needed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Whichever method you choose, you should test a small piece of your net before applying the process to the whole thing. Depending on the netting material, it is possible that colors will bleed or dull once coated. If colors bleed when using a soaking method, try a spray-on method. If the material appears too dulled under the glue or acrylic solutions, try a soaking method.

References

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