Homemade Crochet Starching

by Alexis Rohlin

Homemade crocheted doilies, table runners, bookmarks and decorative snowflakes can be starched or soaked in a liquid that stiffens the yarn or thread to create a semihard and rigid piece that will keep its shape. Pinning the corners and edges of crocheted pieces such as angels and snowflakes while they dry prevents them from curling up and creates a flat rigid surface that is perfect for decorating or hanging on your tree.

Liquid Starch

Liquid starch is used for large crocheted pieces and ruffled doilies. Water can be added to it to create a softer starch finish in the piece. Dip the crocheted piece in the liquid starch, then gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Do not twist or wring the piece; press it with your hands. Roll it in a towel like a jelly roll and let it sit for 1 hour or until it is damp to the touch. Cover it with a handkerchief and press on the wrong side with an iron on the cool setting until it is completely dry. For pieces with ruffles like fancy doilies, do not iron; instead, stretch it out on a foam block and place the ruffles over a small round cylinder, such as a spice bottle or old empty film containers. Let them sit and dry. Drying on a round surface will give the ruffles a curved look.

Cornstarch and Water

Homemade starch can be used to starch your crocheted pieces. Place 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup cornstarch in a bowl and stir it until it is thoroughly mixed together. Pour the mixture into a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium and let the mixture simmer until it has become thick and translucent. Remove the mixture from heat and place in a bowl with a lid. Let it cool to room temperature. Submerge your crocheted piece into the cornstarch solution and then gently squeeze it out. Press a paper towel onto it to remove any excess water that is remaining. Place it on a foam block and pin in place. Let air-dry.

Sugar and Water

Starch can be made at home with a solution made out of equal parts sugar and water. Bring 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil in a saucepan. Remove it form the heat and let it cool for 30 minutes. Submerge the crocheted piece into the sugar water solution, then gently squeeze out the excess liquid. Lay the piece on a foam block and pin in place. Let it dry.

Spray Starch

Spray starch created a non-permanent "soft" starch finish that is used to maintain the shape of crocheted doilies, snowflakes, bookmarks and table-runners. Lightly spray your crocheted piece with an even layer of spray starch. Cover the piece with a cotton handkerchief. Lay the covered piece on your ironing board and press the wrong side of the piece with an iron on the cool setting. Stretch out the piece on a foam block and use rust-proof pins to pin the corners in place so that it dries without curing up. Let it sit until it has dried.