How to Make Fabric Stiffener: 5 DIY Homemade Recipes

“Stiffening up the fabric” has now turned into a go-to thing for any crafting and sewing project. Perhaps you’re dealing with lace or crochet tasks. Or tailoring your shirts that call for stiff collars. A fabric stiffener is what you need!

As you set out to the craft shops for clothes, you will find tons and tons of products to stiffen the material. But they may not assure you about the quality you want.

How to Make Fabric Stiffener

A great solution comes with homemade recipes that can hand you the best stiffeners for fabric. But wondering hard on how to make fabric stiffener? This article will lead you to the 5 easiest DIY methods to make a stiffener for your textile right at home.

So, when you’re working with a piece of cloth that is less likely to fray, such fabric stiffening materials will come in handy. A stiffener acts as an anti-wrinkling tool that adds crispiness to your fabric. It allows the material to hold a rigid 3D shape with intact edges.

Let’s get you all those worthy pieces of homemade recipes for your fabric!

How to Make Fabric Stiffener: 5 Homemade Fabric Stiffener Recipes

When you’re tailoring any piece of cloth that includes cuffs, tabs, collars, button plates, or tabs, stiffening is the key here. And that’s where a textile stiffener will help. But those commercially sold stiffeners for materials seem a little expensive. Right?

DIY fabric stiffener

Again, availability and quality add more doubts to your purchase. At the moment, you’re handed the best option, DIY recipes to try at home.

Your job might need temporary or permanent stiffening. That’s why we’ve compiled 5 different methods to give you the results as per desires. Now, it’s recipe revealing time!

Recipe 1: Make with Corn Starch:

Corn starch seems like it’s something your kitchen can offer anytime. You can grab this to stiffen your fabric too. Great, isn’t it? Being an organic ingredient, you’ll find it 100% safe. A little effort yields an excellent output.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Corn Starch
  • Cold Water
  • Boiling Water

Process of Making:

  • Step 1: Take 1 tbsp of corn starch and dissolve it in ¼ cups of cold (chilling) water. 
  • Step 2: At the same time, fill ¼ cup of water and let it boil.
  • Step 3: Add the corn starch slowly to the boiling water and keep whisking until it bubbles. 
  • Step 4: As the solution reaches its boiling point, stop heating and let it cool down to room temperature.
  • Step 5: Stir continuously to avoid any lumps.  
  • Step 6: As soon as your solution earns a thick consistency, you’re done with your recipe. 

Quick Tip:

Corn starch may leave white spots on dark clothes. So, stay alert, and it’s better to use it for light-color fabric. Moreover, wash the cloth using soap and warm water indeed after you’re done. This way, no residue is guaranteed!


Soaking your crochet snowflakes in such a starch solution will result in the suitable type of stiffening you want.

Read Next: How to make fabric paint at home

Recipe 2: Use Elmer’s Glue:

Elmer’s glue is a natural stiffener to use on any fabric. It’s definitely a good choice because you’ll find it to be a certified one with no toxic elements. Hence fully safe.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Elmer’s glue
  • Water

Process of Making:

  • Step 1: Take water and Elmer’s glue in equal parts. Remember, the amount of mixture depends on your fabric size, but the ratio stands 1:1.
  • Step 2: Mix both the asked ingredients. You may use a mixer or any whisking tool for that.
  • Step 3: Whisk until you get a thin yet creamy texture.
  • Step 4: Put the fabric for permanent hardening into the mixture and draw it out after a thorough and intensive soaking.
  • Step 5: Let the fabric soak all the moisture and set dry. And you’re done with a crispy stiff cloth.

Quick Tip:

Dry it well with no complex twists. Remove all the excess. And, make sure you’re left with no scraps of glue after it’s wholly dried.


If you are demanding a permanent stiffening output, this one sounds the best.

Recipe 3: Using Gelatin:

Gelatin is a popular substance used for hardening fabric. Well, one of its primary elements is collagen. The protein in the collagen serves to harden materials. You’ll find this natural stiffener offers your fabric a mild crisp being less resistive to water.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Gelatin
  • Normal Water
  • Hot Water

Process of Making:

  • Step 1: Put 1 tsp of gelatin in a bowl and mix 2 cups (16 ounces) of water of normal temperature.
  • Step 2: Stir the mixture well until the gelatin dissolves. 
  • Step 3: Allow the mixture to settle down for almost half an hour to activate the gelatin. 
  • Step 4: At the moment, start heating some water. 
  • Step 5: Slowly pour about 4 cups of hot water into the mixture to get a slightly thin density.
  • Step 6: And that’s it. You can now dip your fabric in the solution and dry it to get the stiffness.

Quick Tip

It’s better to soak the textile in the mixture instead of spraying. When you lift out your cloth, press a little to let the moisture out to avoid wring or damage.


They work best for chiffons or silkier fabrics that ask for mild and gentle stiffening. You get stability in clothes that are not hard at all.

Recipe 4: Make Your Own Stiffener with Rice Starch:

Are you thinking about making a stiffener for your fabric with the scratch at hand? You can start with a very unconventional method of extracting starch from the rice. It won’t take much of your efforts plus time while giving you permanent results.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Rice
  • Water

Process of making:

  • Step 1: Get 2 cups of water and 4 cups of rice and put them in a pot.
  • Step 2: Keep boiling it until you find the starch is fully extracted from your rice for like 10 minutes.
  • Step 3: Strain out the water and separate it from rice.
  • Step 4: Thin the consistency with extra cups of water and wait for it to get diluted.
  • Step 5: Make sure you don’t end up cooling the rice water more than room temperature. Otherwise, it’ll turn into a too thick mixture and lose its capability to stiffen.
  • Step 6: Now, you can soak your fabric in for 5 minutes to crispen it.

Quick Tip:

As soon as you squeeze out the excess water, allow the fabric to hang and dry in the sun. This way, a permanent type of stiffening is assured with no unpleasant odor.


When you’re tailoring a blazer or any other fabric that demands crisp edges, this DIY can give average hard stiffness. Thus, your fabric won’t crease after washing.

Recipe 5: Making with Flour Starch:

Flour starch is known for its excellent binding properties. It thus serves as a great option for a homemade recipe to produce stiffener for fabric. You’ll find it natural and organic with zero toxicity.

Ingredients You Will Need:

  • Flour starch
  • Water (Cold and boiling)

Process of Making

  • Step 1: First, pour ½ cup of cold water with 1 tbsp of flour, taking in a bowl.
  • Step 2: Keep mixing until it forms a creamy texture.
  • Step 3: Keep the other ½ cup of water for boiling. 
  • Step 4: Take the flour mixture and briskly whisk it to the boiling water. 
  • Step 5: Blend until you get a gravy-like thickness and settle it until it cools down. 
  • Step 6: Some adds more water if they desire a little thin consistency. Ready to use!

Quick Tip:

As a natural fabric hardening material, the use of this recipe won’t give stiffening that lasts too long. Rather, you’ll find the clothes soften right after a couple of soap washes.


You’ll find it ideal for the clothes that need stiffening only for sewing or crafting tasks, not after washes.

How to Stiffen Fabric Permanently with Homemade Stiffeners: Different Ways

Permanent stiffening keeps your clothes crisp and stiff even after many washes. Why going for any commercial stiffener when your homely items can serve the purpose! You can do it at ease with zero toil and issues!

How to Stiffen Fabric Permanently

If that’s the case for you too, we bet you try the following homemade methods to get a stiffening effect that lasts long:

1. Use of Elmer’s Glue: 

For this, you need to mix equal parts of glue and water. Use the mixture and spread it on your fabric. It turns it highly resistive to water. Thus, stiffens for a longer time. This technique works great for projects with quite hard material like a fabric basket or a door wreath.

1. Use of Corn Starch Recipe: 

A simple one. All you must mix is cold water (1/4 cups) and corn starch (1 tbsp). Turn it thick with further addition of boiled water (1/4 cups) and ready to apply on any fabric. If your fabric asks for criteria with no wrinkles at all, it’s the best DIY. You get permanent stiffening on fabric like linen, cotton, nylon, rayon, and silk.

3. Rice Starch Stiffener: 

Add water (2 cups) and rice (4 cups) and start boing. Strain it, keeping its consistency a bit thin, not so thick. Soak your fabric for not more than 5 minutes. This recipe adds extra crispness to the fabric and the edges. All thanks to the hardening and excellent pasting effects. We would suggest you use it for fabric like a blazer.

Should I Buy Commercial Stiffening Sprays?

To be honest, it holds no direct reply. The use of commercial stiffening spray is debatable, relying on your needs and choice. But if you’re puzzled and don’t know if you should invest in it or not, our list of pros and cons can bring you at ease.


  • Easy to use, spray and apply method
  • Delivers quick result
  • Impressive stiffness attained once dried
  • Any nearby art and craft stores contain them
  • Usually contains no toxins
  • Allows multiple coating


  • A bit pricey
  • Some spread the annoying smell
  • Always not readily available

How to Harden Fabric with Commercial Stiffener: Step by Step

how to harden fabric permanently

Have you made your mind to go with the commercial stiffeners for cloth? Well, then you better grab the idea to use it. Here you go with all steps!

  • 1. Spread a bunch of old newspapers or plastic around the work surface.
  • 2. Shape the fabric as per your needs.
  • 3. Let it settle for a while.
  • 4. Then it’s your time to spray the commercial stiffener.
  • 5. Hold the spraying bottle at a distance of 6-8 inches from the fabric.
  • 6. Make sure not to keep the spray tip too far from the fabric. Otherwise, it’ll spread and turn messy.
  • 7. Keep spraying until your cloth is thoroughly wet, leaving no space.
  • 8. Let it try and settle for stiffening.
  • 9. You may speed up the drying process with a hairdryer or hang under the sun.
  • 10. When it’s dry, you can change the effect of stiffening.  

If you need to stiffen your fabric more, repeat each step once and again.

Can You Stiffen Fabric with Mod Podge?

Well, here’s the great news. Yes, you can use stiffen your textiles with mod podge for sure. It’s decoupage that allows your fabric to attain a permanent fixture and retains a crispy shape.

Can You Stiffen Fabric with Mod Podge

You’ll find it easy to brush on and use. With a variety of applications, it seems very flexible. Most users love its versatile uses. It gives you a firm and clear stiff coat exuding an extra sheen.

You’re sure to be benefited from its easy-to-clean techniques. But it’s high in price. So the crafts lover hesitate and doubt their purchase. However, stiffness will last longer than imagined!

How to Stiffen Fabric with Mod Podge: Step by Step

Mod podge is a quick fix for stiffening fabric. You can apply it to your garbs in a breeze in no time

How to Stiffen Fabric with Mod Podge

But for that, you must be aware of all its directions to use in the right way. Let’s get you to the steps:

  1. Grab a washed and ironed piece of fabric first to avoid wrinkles.
  2. Put down the piece of fabric on some wax paper to protect the surface.
  3. Now, take a thick brush and dip it directly into the container of mod podge.
  4. Start spreading it onto your fabric with medium layers.
  5. Keep dragging strokes of the stiffener until you cover the entire area of the fabric.
  6. Set it aside and get dry for a couple of hours.

Thus, you get a wrinkle-free stiff cloth with your mod podge.

Final Verdict

If you’re reading this, it means you’ve gathered complete directions on making fabric stiffener right at home. All 5 DIY recipes are worth trying. Mark it. You can figure out the ideal one suiting your art needs and advance.

You won’t have to put any extra expense on these DIY recipes or toil all day long. All you need to pick is a few ingredients readily found in your hand. And, you’re set to crispen up your clothes!

Hello there! I’m Jessica, I'm a textile engineer and mom of two little boys. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for Fabrichow.

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