How to Stiffen Nets

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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.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bottled fabric stiffener

  • Seal top bag or glass bowl

  • 2 cups sugar

  • Water

  • Saucepan

  • White glue

  • Paintbrush

  • Spray starch

  • Spray-on clear acrylic paint

You can stiffen the net under a tutu in several ways.

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Commercial Fabric Stiffener

Step 1

Pour the solution into a seal top bag or glass bowl.

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Step 2

Insert the net and saturate it with the solution.

Step 3

Remove the net and wring out the excess solution.

Step 4

Shape it if desired.

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Step 5

Allow it to dry completely.

Sugar Solution

Step 1

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

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Step 2

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

Step 3

Soak your net in the solution for around 15 minutes.

Step 4

Wring out the netting and shape it.

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Step 5

Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours.

White Glue

Step 1

If your netting project cannot be immersed in liquid, you can use a mixture of white glue (such as Elmer’s) diluted with water.

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

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Step 2

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

Step 3

Paint the entire net with the glue solution.

Step 4

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

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Spray Starch

Step 1

You can find spray starch at most supermarkets. Choose the product with the strongest hold.

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

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Step 2

Allow the starch to dry completely.

Step 3

Apply additional coats until the desired stiffness is achieved.

Clear Acrylic Spray Paint

Step 1

Clear acrylic spray paint can be used to stiffen netting.

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

Step 2

Allow it to dry completely.

Step 3

Touch up or apply additional coats as needed.

Warning

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.

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