If you love crocheting doilies but you’d like to use them in even more creative projects, then you’ll be glad to look for the best fabric stiffeners.
Of course, you can also make doily bowls with doilies that you buy. You don’t have to love crocheting to be able to do these nice projects.
Those creative projects that involve crocheted doilies and fabric stiffeners lead to making doily fabric bowls. These bowls are delicate, beautiful, interesting and they’re completely made by your hands.
Overall, fabric stiffeners are also used to make fabrics firm and rigid for craft projects.
If you want to see how easily a doily bowl can be made, check out this short YouTube video. It’s just an introduction to simple doily bowls because there are so many other beautiful projects online.
Besides covering stiffeners that we can use for a variety of craft projects we’ll also talk about hat stiffeners and a bunch of other things. It’s going to be interesting.
You can also check out my reviews for the best sewing books if you want to expand your range of skills and projects.
Best Fabric Stiffeners Reviews
The good news is that there are only a few products that we should pay attention to when we’re looking for the best fabric stiffeners.
You won’t spend too much time going through an endless list of products. Choosing a fabric stiffener is going to be quick.
I will also talk about diluting glue to use it as a fabric stiffener.
But if you want a quick, easy to use product, you might prefer a spray fabric stiffener and you might not want to go into the whole diluting glue thing.
Some people will choose to use the spray products while others are going to prefer the glue or liquid stiffeners options. It’s good either way, just choose whichever would work best for you.
If you want to change the color of your clothes or improve some that have faded, then you can check out my recommendations for the best black dry for clothes.
1. Mod Podge Waterbase Sealer, Glue, and Finish: Overall the Best Glue as Fabric Stiffener
If you want the best fabric stiffeners to come in the form of a glue, then you’re pretty much looking at one of the best choices you could make.
The price for this glue is not exactly cheap but you must also take into account that this is a 32 oz bottle.
So, the idea is that we get a lot of glue for a really decent price. If we take into account the 32 oz quantity, we would actually say that the Mod Podge Glue is one of the cheapest on the market.
It actually comes in a variety of sizes, starting with 2 oz all the way up to a gallon. The 32 oz is among the most popular ones so I chose to recommend this one.
And one of the most popular. It’s a favorite for many people, whether they’re using it as a fabric stiffener or for some other projects.
It comes in a beautiful clear, matt finish to preserve the beauty of any projects we want to use it for.
It’s widely versatile.
Mod Podge describes it as a multi-purpose, all-in-one glue, sealer and finish. Of course, we’re mostly interested in it as one of the best fabric stiffeners for our various projects.
Mod Podge dries quickly on multiple surfaces.
It’s a quick-drying formula that works on a variety of surfaces: wood, paper, canvas tin, terra cotta, fabrics, etc.
It’s definitely the go-to glue for many people who are lovers of arts and crafts.
Clean-up is also easy: you only need soap and water.
How to use Mod Podge Glue
Usually, people dilute it a bit with water and then they dunk the fabric/doily into the slightly more liquid glue and then set the fabric/doily aside until it stiffens completely. It’s that easy.
Start by mixing Mod Podge with equal part glue to water. That should make it liquid enough. But you can add a bit more water if you want a thinner consistency for the fabrics.
You can combine the glue and water in a jar or in an old container. Then shake it until you obtain a homogenous solution.
Where to Buy?
2. Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid: Overall the Best Fabric Stiffener
While the above Mod Podge is an universal glue that can also be used to make doily bowls and other similar projects, the product from Aleene’s is actually called a Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid.
The price is quite affordable and the 16 oz quantity is good enough for completing a few projects.
When I went to check out the user reviews for Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid, I came across a person who posted their crochet angel that they made with this stiffener. It’s an intriguing project, a crochet angel for the top of the Christmas tree.
However, what I really appreciated from that user review is that they mention that Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener is strong enough for crochet projects. I love that.
There are also plenty of people who use it to create a bunch of doily baskets.
This heavy-duty formula shapes and stiffens most fabrics, which I love.
The fabrics it works best on are: gauze and cheesecloth, denim, burlap, lace, ribbons and trims.
It’s nontoxic and dries clear.
It can also be tinted with water-based acrylic paint.
Moreover, just like we talked about with Mod Podge, Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid can also be thinned with water for less hold.
How to use Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener
We are firstly instructed to wear gloves and that’s something we should do whether we’re using the Mod Podge Glue or this stiffener for fabrics from Aleene’s.
The method of using Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener is quite similar to using diluted glue.
If a form is used to shape your objects, cover it with plastic wrap.
Place your fabric in a bowl or bag.
Pour Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener until you cover the fabric.
Squeeze the excess liquid.
Now you can create the desired shape with your fabric and then let it dry.
As the fabric dies, gently loosen it from the form you used to shape the fabric as you desire.
All you need for cleanup is a damp cloth.
To tint: mix stiffener with water-based acrylic paint.
And if you want to thin the stiffener, add up to 50% water.
Where to Buy?
3. Aleene’s Stiffen-Quick Fabric Stiffening Spray
Once again, we get a wonderful product from Aleene’s. This time we’re coming across a fabric stiffening spray.
It comes in an 8 oz quantity and the price is quite affordable.
When you want a heavier shaping, you’ll need to spray on more coats. But that will take a lot more time because the second coat needs to be applied only after the first coat has dried out completely.
The Stiffen-Quick Fabric Stiffening Spray dries clear, there will be no discoloration happening.
In order to clean and reshape our piece, all we need is to wash it out. So, even if we don’t get right in one, we can remove the stiffening spray by simply washing the object.
It works best on: bowls, laces, ribbons, fabrics, doilies, crocheted pieces, and cheesecloth.
It’s exactly what many of you are looking for. A spray that is easily applicable and that can be removed if our project didn’t turn out as it should.
The spray pump helps minimize messes and prevents overusing the adhesive.
It’s nontoxic. And it’s a fast-drying formula.
How to use Aleene’s Stiffen-Quick Fabric Stiffening Spray
Form the fabric in the desired shape. If a form is used, cover it with plastic wrap.
Also, protect your work area from overspray.
Spray 6-8 inches away. Continue until the project is wet.
Let it dry for about 1 hour. You can speed up the drying process with a hair dryer 6 inches away from the surface.
If you want stiffener results, spray the object again and it completely dries.
Clean the nozzle after use.
If you don’t like the shape, wash the stiffened object with warm water. Then start again.
Where to Buy?
4. Mod Podge Plaid Stiffy Fabric Stiffener
We talked about using the Mod Podge Glue as a fabric stiffener, which totally works but if you want an alternative, there’s the Mod Podge Plaid Stiffy Fabric Stiffener.
However, I must warn you that the Mod Podge Plaid Stiffy Fabric Stiffener is basically their glue diluted with water in a bottle. At least that’s how I see it.
I prefer buying their glue and diluting it myself.
It comes in a 16 oz bottle and the price is pretty decent. There’s also an 8 oz bottle.
The bottle allows us to apply this diluted glue directly onto all types of fabric surfaces: cotton, cheesecloth, burlap, gauze, laces, ribbons, needlework, and felt.
How to use Mod Podge Plaid Stiffy Fabric Stiffener
It is used exactly as their glue if we dilute it at home with water.
Pour a small amount into a bowl and completely immerse your fabric.
Squeeze out the excess.
Position the wet fabric onto a plastic wrap covered shape and let dry.
Where to Buy?
5. Mix Elmer’s Glue with Water
Another product that we can use is Elmer’s Glue. It’s another extremely popular glue that can be diluted with water and used as a fabric stiffener and for all sorts of arts and crafts.
What happens when we mix Elmer’s Glue with water?
We basically obtain a thinned glue.
It can act as a fabric stiffener once the object is completely dry or be used as a sealant or for paper-mâché.
If we dilute glue with water, we obtain a highly versatile product for arts and crafts.
How much should we thin Elmer’s Glue?
If you mix 4 parts glue with one part water, you obtain a pretty thick solution. It can be used for model-building projects: rockets, cars, dollhouses, ships. The finish will be smooth and satin.
If we want it thin enough to paint with, we should mix 3 parts glue with one part water. This ratio can be used for paper-mâché projects.
Two parts glue and one part water is a ratio good for materials like plastic, linoleum, and glass.
Mixing one part Elmer’s Glue with one part water is the ratio we want if we want to use this solution as one of the best fabric stiffeners.
Immerse your fabric in this one part glue one part water solution. Squeeze out the excess.
Cover your form with plastic wrap.
Lay the immersed fabric in water and glue over your form.
Let it dry and that’s it, you’re done.
Where to Buy?
6. Bickmore Kahl Hat Stiffener
This is a totally different type of stiffener than any of those we’ve talked above as the best fabric stiffeners.
This one from Bickmore Kahl is actually a hat stiffener.
What does it do?
It preserves the original body of felt hats. It is specially formulated to protect the shape of material through heavy wear.
It’s definitely not a product for arts and crafts but I thought it would be a good idea to include it among other totally different stiffeners.
The Bickmore Kahl Hat Stiffener will not affect the tone, texture or color of the hat.
It also won’t affect future hat cleanings, shapings or reblockings.
I should also mention that you should only apply it to the bottom rim of the hat.
Spray a fine mist over the entire bottom rim of the hat. Use the bottle 8-10 inches from the hat.
Another important aspect is that you should always steam the product after applying the spray. It prevents the spray from sitting on top of the fibers, which can leave a residue that will chip and flake.
The steam pushes the spray into the fibers.
Moreover, use steam to reshape the hat. After applying the Bickmore Kahl Hat Stiffener, hold the hat above a pot of boiling water to push the product into the fibers.
And then let it dry.
Where to Buy?
What is a fabric stiffener?
Just as the name suggests, fabric stiffeners are used for making fabric more rigid, less flexible, harder to tear, and for holding a particular shape that we desire.
One the other hand, a fabric stiffener doesn’t make the fabric harder to cut.
Some of the most popular projects for which they’re used is to make doily bowls. But there are other arts and crafts projects that can benefit from these products.
There are three main types of products that we can use as a fabric stiffener:
- glue and water: one part glue one part water or one part glue and two parts water (use Mod Podge Glue or Elmer’s Glue)
- a liquid fabric stiffener that already has the desired consistency from the bottle, like Aleene’s Fabric Stiffener & Draping Liquid and Mod Podge Plaid Stiffy Fabric Stiffener
- or a fabric stiffener spray that is very easy to use, like Aleene’s Stiffen-Quick Fabric Stiffening Spray
All these products that qualify as the best fabric stiffeners can be used on a variety of materials: bowls, laces, ribbons and trims, fabrics, doilies, crocheted pieces, and cheesecloth, gauze, denim, burlap.