It’s always best to use a hard flat work surface protected with plastic wrap while working. If you don’t have a separate work area, try using an odd sized counter top from your local hardware store (inexpensive). These make for a wonderful make shift work area that can be easily removed from your kitchen or other heavily trafficked area to a spare bedroom while your piece dries.
Many people profess to have the ideal work surface for molding or shaping doilies. In truth, the work surface only needs to be as large as the item your molding or shaping. However, I like to have a fairly large one so I can use it for almost anything I need to shape, now and in the future.
I’ve found that Styrofoam or cardboard bases are easy to work with. They’re sturdy and flat but also allow pins to penetrate and secure your piece while drying. In either case, you’ll have to replace your surface every so often if you do a lot of molding. Other surfaces that can be adapted are ironing board tops, matting, and cork-board, or see how to construct a starching block at bottom of our blocking information page. Or for best results, I’ve found that the CYBAR, the ultimate blocking and shaping board is perfect for when you want to achieve professional standards.
We have provided a list of types of stiffening solutions to help you determine which is the right one for you, or achieves the desired effect you want.
- Commercial Brands/Glue & Water:
It’s suggested in most pattern instructions to dip your completed piece in the solution. Usually brand name bottles state to “soak” the piece until it’s saturated. I don’t prefer this method myself, although I do state in my instructions to dip your crocheted piece in the solution. For best results, I use my finger tips and dab the solution on the piece. I press the mixture into the fibers without rubbing the material. I continue to work around the piece, dabbing solution on and pressing in with my finger tips, while holding it just above the bowl of solution. When done, your piece won’t be bunched up from having to squeeze out the excess. It retains it’s shape and allows for easier molding. I also dilute commercial fabric stiffeners with enough water for a consistency of thick pancake batter.
- Cornstarch/Starch Mixture:
After cooking the mixture and allowing to cool slightly. Dip your crocheted piece in the solution and press the mixture into the piece with your hands. Take a clean linen towel and fold in half. Remove the crocheted piece from the solution, gently squeeze out excess being careful not to twist or wring the piece and place between the folds of the towel. Press so the towel will absorb any extra solution. Move the crocheted piece to a dry area of the towel and continue to press the towel, absorbing the excess solution.
- Sugar & Water Solutions:
Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Dip your crocheted piece in the solution and allow it to absorb the mixture into all the fibers. Gently squeeze out excess being careful not to twist or wring the piece.
- Other Methods:
Depending on the solution you use, it’s advisable to squeeze out the excess solution being careful to never twist or wring the piece.