How to stiffen miniature crochet

miniature Christmas tree
© F H Powell 2008

There are several methods which can be used to stiffen miniature crochet (or knitting), but as only very small amounts of starching material are required for miniatures the following methods are the most useful and cost effective:

A. Traditional sugar solution method

  • Make a solution of two teaspoons boiling water and one level teaspoon sugar.
  • Stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Place crochet in the solution until the crochet is completely wet through.
  • Wring out excess solution or sugar crystals will form on the finished work!
  • Pin the crochet out on a piece of corrugated cardboard or polystyrene covered in cling film/wrap, using rustproof pins (normal steel pins will rust and leave unsightly marks if left in more than a few hours).
  • Only pin around the edges of the item, making sure all the details are pinned out, such as forming points.
  • Pull the crochet into shape as you work around, making sure the item stays flat and retains its shape.
  • If the crochet needs support, such as a basket or angel then you may need to cover some blu-tak (Elmers tack) with cling film/wrap and shape to fit the item, pinning into the blu-tak if required.
  • Leave to dry in a warm place for 24 hours minimum.

B. The item can be starched with laundry starch
Work as above but using either powdered starch dissolved in a little water or spray starch. Although not recommended for larger items, spray starch is often strong enough to starch miniatures.

C. PVA Glue
A solution can be made from PVA glue and water, this will dry clear and slightly shiny. Make up the solution and proceed as with sugar starch

To finish
When the crochet is completely dry remove the pins carefully. At this point any hanging loops may be added by threading a small piece of cotton or transparent thread through one of the holes left by a pin on the ornament. Do not use metal hooks to hang miniature decorations unless they are rust proof.

The photo below shows the same decorations as those shown in the top photo, but this shows how the decorations appear during the stiffening process:

drying decorations
© F H Powell 2008

If you wish to try making and stiffening some miniature crochet Christmas decorations, then please see these patterns