Are you looking for ways to get your crochet basket to hold shape? Or is it a hat that you are struggling with… I know what you mean! I am sharing 10 ways to get your crochet to hold shape and how to stiffen crochet hat brims and lace objects. These are tricks that I have either personally tried or have had students or friends tell me about it.
You know, that time when you want the bunny ears to stand tall but they just flop over… Or you want your little girl’s hat to have a solid brim but it just keeps looking so lose; Or like when you have a doily and want to use it as a lamp shade but don’t know how to get your crochet to hold shape.We see this problem while making crocheted jewellery too. I have used many tricks over the years. I am sharing my experience today. Here are 8 ways to get your crochet to hold shape.
Update August 2020: I have added two more ways to stiffen crochet objects! Scroll to the end for the two new tips!
8 Ways to Get Your Crochet to Hold Shape
1.How to stiffen crochet basket using a Pipe Cleaner or Chenille Thread/brush: This is one of the easiest ways to get a basket to have stronger handles. You can use this in hats and children’s toys or amigurami too. All you have to do is hold the pipe cleaner at the base and keep on crocheting over it all around. I love this idea to make Bunny Ears!
2. How to stiffen crochet projects using Starch. One of the most common ways to stiffen a crochet object is to use starch. This how many crocheters block their crocheted doilies. You can use the powdered kind that is dissolved in water or you can use the pressurized starch sprays that are available in the laundry section. You will have to get the object totally wet with the starch and then pressed with a hot iron. There is a drawback to this method though. It isn’t recommended to use starch for white objects as it will yellow over time. You can, how ever, use it for coloured objects. Another drawback is that you cannot wash and use it again. This method is only suitable for say, things that you want to frame or keep as is. The above picture is from Suzann’s Textile Fusion where she explains the process. This is also how to stiffen a crochet basket or bowl like which is made of lace.
RELATED READING: Read this post with details on how to use starch to stiffen a doily.
3. How to stiffen crochet objects with White Glue: If you are not going to be wearing it consider equal parts of water and glue. This works great for doilies and centre pieces. I have used this method for some of my tatted doilies and it is better than using starch. So, you can say this is a great way how to stiffen doilies. As you can see from this bowl or this lamp. Just mix 3 parts of white glue/ Elmer’s Glue with 1part water and spray it on to the object. Let it air dry. Don’t iron it! It will brown or burn if you iron it. 🙂
4.When you cannot make a crochet yarn stiff, Crochet over a wire . This is another popular trick that most crocheters use. Any wire or even laundry line can be used. This works well for rugs and handles on baskets. You can see in the above pic how she made a rug.This can be used for a crocheted basket as well.
5. How to stiffen a crochet hat brim using Fishing line. I wrote a very popular post about using Fishing Line to Make Stiff Edges. Since fishing line is available in different sizes, you can adapt it to your project. If you don’t know how to stiffen yarn then this is the best way to do it. Fishing line is transparent so it is less likely to be visible too. Examples: Crochet hat brims, how to stiffen toy parts without using fabric stiffener, crocheted jewellery. The above picture is an example where I used Fishing line to make only the brim edges to flare out.
6. Use Hdc instead of sc in the brim. If you are not interested in adding any wire or starching the material then a simple way to make a hat hold it’s shape is to use hdc (half double crochet) in place of all the sc (single crochet). You can only do this with sc and I am afraid it won’t work for dc. But this is how to stiffen wool or acrylic yarn projects. I have used hdc in place of sc in my wool projects and gotten it to be stiff.
7. Use reverse sc at the edge if you need stiffen hat brim. My favourite way to finish a Cloche hat or a Panama hat is to do rev sc (reverse single crochet) on the edges. It looks more professionally done and the edges are more a crisp finish. This the best hat brim stiffener without using starch or glue or any need to stiffen yarn at all.
8. Use a smaller size needle. Using a smaller needle than recommended makes your crochet tighter and I have found that this makes the hat or basket a little stiff. I have found that this trick works really well for Tshirt yarn and hemp! I have also used PLARN with a smaller needle.
UPDATE : HOW TO STIFFEN CROCHET DOILIES AND LACE OBJECTS
9. Use thread instead of yarn to stiffen crochet projects! DMC, Anchor and other types of threads in sizes 20 and 40 give stiff crochet projects too. If you are making a crochet doily and need to stiffen it but don’t want to use the above mentioned ways, try using these threads instead. I have made doilies and collars on some of wearables. I have used this type of stiff thread to make handles on bags too.
10. Use candle wax to stiffen display ornaments made of crochet: I have
not tried this personally! A friend recently said that if you have Christmas ornaments or snowflakes to hang up that are very tiny, try wax! WOW! Click the picture below to see how!!<3
These are all the ways that I have experience with. Do you know any more? I’d love to include any that you know of. DO share.
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