How to Stiffen Crochet Projects
By Joanne Jones

Have you ever seen a crocheted Christmas ornament and wondered how it kept its shape? It's done through a liquid stiffener. The stiffener can be used on lace, ribbon, dollies and other similar items. It's easy to apply. Then you simply shape your crocheted piece and allow it to dry.

Once the crocheted item has dried, it will retain whatever shape you gave it. Isn't that wonderful? Here are some easy to follow instructions on how to apply the liquid and shape your project.

If you don't need your crochet piece to retain its shape, for example doilies, then you can thin the liquid stiffener with water. Use one part water and one part liquid stiffener. Soak the doilies thoroughly in the liquid solution. Next, take them out and remove the excess liquid using paper towels. Lay the pieces flat and allow your crochet projects to air dry.

To shape your crochet project, you can use Styrofoam shapes, plastic tubs, corrugated cardboard or any other materials that you have handy. You may need to use pins to hold the crochet piece in place while it is drying. Since the crocheted item will stretch when it is wet, it is best to measure or fit the piece when it is dry. If you need to pin it in place, this will be the time to mark where the pins will go. You can also draw lines on your shaping material if you need to. Once you have drawn your lines and marked the pin holes, you will then need to cover the shaping material with clear plastic wrap and secure it in place with tape. The plastic wrap will ensure that your crochet project will be able to easily come off the material it has dried on.

To make your crochet project hard, pour the liquid into a bowl or even a plastic bag. Allow your crochet piece to become completely soaked. If you like, you can leave the piece in the liquid for a few minutes. Then take the crochet piece out of the solution and use a paper towel to remove the excess liquid. Be careful not to wring or twist it, you only need to press gently. Shape the piece and allow it to dry. Once the piece has finished drying, you can remove any excess stiffener by using an old toothbrush. Tip: If you are using pins, make sure to use rust proof ones.

If you don't like the way the finished project looks, you can always reshape it. If the piece isn't completely flat, you can always place it between two towels and gently iron the piece. Once it has cooled, it will retain its new shape. Another option is to briefly expose the crochet piece to the steam from a kettle. Reshape and allow it to dry. This last option works very well if you are only reshaping a small area.

Cleaning is easy; so don't worry if it becomes dirty. For a light cleaning, simply use a damp cloth to gently wipe the crochet piece. If the piece still has dirt on it, you can wash it in warm, soapy water. This will remove the stiffening agent that was used on the piece, so you will need to repeat the steps above in order to regain the original shape.

Please visit Beautiful Creations for more helpful crochet tips and tricks. While you are there, check out our Crochet Threads page to see a large selection of crochet thread in a wonderful assortment of sizes and colours.

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