How to Make Fabric Stiff Permanently

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Things You'll Need

  • White craft glue

  • Wallpaper paste

  • Water

  • Commercial stiffeners

Tip

Handle the fabric only as much as necessary after dipping it in a stiffening mixture.

Allow the treated fabric to dry for several days, undisturbed, for maximum stiffening results.

Additional coats of spray stiffener will strengthen the hold.

Draped fabrics hold their shape permanently with stiffeners.
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A variety of craft projects call for stiffened or molded fabric. Some may need to be smooth and stiff to cover long flat surfaces, others to be draped or molded into a permanent shape for sculpture, or clothes for figurines. Depending on your project, choose from craft glue, wallpaper paste or commercial fabric stiffeners, which are available with the adhesives in most craft stores.

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Glue

Step 1

Mix equal parts of glue and water together in a bowl or bucket, depending on the amount of fabric. Continue to mix until glue and water are completely blended.

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Step 2

Immerse the fabric into the glue and water mixture thoroughly. Take the fabric from the bowl and remove excess glue and water by placing the fabric between your fingers and running them down the length of the fabric. Be careful not to twist the fabric.

Step 3

Lay the fabric on a work surface and drape or form the fabric into the shape you desire. Allow the glue to dry completely.

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Wallpaper Paste

Step 1

Mix together equal parts of wallpaper paste and water in a bowl or bucket, depending on the amount of fabric. Continue to mix until the wallpaper paste and water are completely blended.

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Step 2

Immerse the fabric in the mixture thoroughly. Take the fabric from the bucket and remove excess wallpaper paste and water from it, being careful not to twist the fabric.

Step 3

Set the fabric on a work surface and mold or drape as needed.

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Commercial Spray Stiffeners

Step 1

Cover the work area with plastic or old newspapers. Shape the fabric as desired.

Step 2

Hold the spray bottle of stiffener approximately six to eight inches from the fabric. Spray the entire piece of fabric until it is completely wet.

Step 3

Allow the fabric to dry completely. You may use a hair dryer to speed up the drying process. Repeat if desired.

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