To create a professional appearance you’ll need to know the correct way to block your pieces. Use our Jump-To menu below for quick reference on.
Blocking & Shaping
Doilies, bookmarks and perhaps snowflakes usually need a softer finish. There are many ways to block these items from simply spraying with water and shaping as desired to pressing the item with an iron.
Method 1: For a professional appearance, place a template on preferred work surface and cover with plastic wrap. Gently stretch doily on prepared surface aligning the doily sections with the lines on the template. Fill a mister/sprayer with water and lightly spray water evenly over the doily. Use rust proof pins if necessary to secure the doily while drying.
Method 2: Fill a sprayer/mister with water and lightly spray water evenly over the piece. Cover with a handkerchief and press on the wrong side using a cool iron setting.
Method 3: Fill a sprayer/mister with water and lightly spray water evenly over the piece, and then gently stretch and shape on a top of a terry towel. Let dry.
- Spray Starch:
Spray starch is used for a little heavier shaping, but yet retains a soft finish. Follow the instructions above for using water, substituting your favorite spray starch. All methods can be used as described above for shaping.
Or use this tip from Donna Leggee: When I spray starch a doily, I put it wrong side up on top of a folded towel. This lets you spray the doily thoroughly without soaking your ironing board cover, and keeps the right side of the doily from getting too flattened out.
- Liquid Starch:
Method 1: Dip your crochet in the starch mixture, squeeze out excess solution without twisting or wringing the piece. Shape on preferred, prepared work surface. Shape the ruffles around identical forms such as IBM cartridges, spice bottles, soda bottles turned on their side (using the necks to hold the ruffles), or wads of plastic wrap. Other items can also be used as long they’re identical in shape and produce the size ruffles you want. Shape the ruffles around the form, pulling up and partially around each form, shaping the edges. Allow to dry, peridocally checking to ensure the ruffles are holding their shape.
Method 2: Dip your crochet in the starch mixture, squeeze excess from the piece without twisting or wringing the piece. Roll up inside a clean towel, jelly roll fashion. Let the towel absorb extra moisture and when your crochet is just damp, remove from towel. Cover the piece with a handkerchief and press on the wrong side using a cool iron setting.
Liquid starch is used for heavier shaping and is best used with ruffled doilies where you’ll need a sturdier hold, but not a permanent one. Liquid starch can be diluted with water, the more water used, the softer the finish. Use one of these two methods.
Most patterns will recommend the mold you should use to shape your piece. However, you can always experiment with items from around your home for a particular shape. Just be sure the item used is either straight sided, or one end has a larger opening than the opposite end to allow for easy removal. If you incur difficulty in removing the crochet from the mold, insert a case knife between the plastic wrap and the mold. Work around the object, loosening the piece, then slip the mold off. If the mold has contours, you may have to dampen the area causing difficulty in order to remove the piece from the mold. Styrofoam shapes make excellent molds.
I use ordinary kitchen plastic wrap. There are other plastic wraps that can be used just as easily, including garbage bags, kitchen bags and produce bags. You’ll find with commercial brands and even glue and water fabric stiffeners that plastic wrap particles will cling to your piece once dried. To remove these fine flakes of wrap, use a paint brush to brush them off. Another option is to use your vacuum cleaner with the brush attachment and vacuum the particles off.
Rust Proof Pins
It’s highly recommended to use rust proof pins available from your local craft shop or sewing center. Ordinary straight pins will leave rust stains on your piece. Other items to help secure your piece while drying are plastic paper clips, sock clips (for holding socks together in the pkg.), cocktail picks (plastic ones) and plastic tooth picks. If you find rust stains after using straight pins, and you have used a non-permanent fabric stiffener, try using fresh lemon juice on the spot to remove the stain.
- Assemble everything before hand.
- Have all items covered with plastic wrap before dipping your piece in fabric solution.
- Confine your work to a small area.
- Only mold one or two items at a time.
- Use a container with a spout, so excess solution can be poured back into the bottle.
- Only use as much solution as necessary for molding.
- Have paper towel and soap dampened washcloth available.
- Clean up as you work.
- Take your time!
Have everything ready to go, including letting family members know that you can not be disturbed. Cover everything with wrap before dipping your piece in any solution. Have a washcloth handy so you can wipe the solution from your hands while you work. Be sure to have rust proof pins laid out on prepared work surface so you can grab them with a minimum of effort. If using commercial brands or glue and water stiffeners, wipe the dregs from your container with a papertowel immediately after saturating your piece, and wash. Remember with plumbing it’s important that excess solution be wiped from your containers with papertowel and thrown in the trash. Above all else, take your time and enjoy the process. Ensure the piece is even at all angles. It’s important to take your time and be accurate. Don’t let impatience ruin your work.
We highly recommend CYBAR, the ultimate starching and shaping board.