How to Stiffen a Doily with Candle Wax
Do you have a tatted doily or a crochet project that you’d like to harden? Let me show you how easy it is to block your crochet or tatted lace with candle wax. The results are brilliant! Read on…
Let me be honest, I was always been scared to block my items myself. I know 10 ways to Stiffen Crochet items but Tatted lace and fine Crochet lace always intimidated me. The few times I had tried in the past, the effect hadn’t lasted long. My handmade items would hold shape for some time but they were not the desired stiffness or neatness that I preferred.
I’ve recently discovered that the best way to stiffen an ornament or a doily is to use Candle Wax. Have you heard of this technique?
Using Candle Wax to Stiffen Crochet Projects
I’ll confess I did not know this until a few months ago. A reader left a message asking if I knew how to use wax to harden objects. My How to stiffen a doily with Starch post reminded her that when she growing up, her mother and great aunt used candle wax to stiffen their projects. She asked me if I knew. I had heard of wax being used but never tried it myself. I was intrigued…
Today, as I was decluttering my kitchen, I came across some old candles. I didn’t want to throw them away so I thought why not try to wax my doily and see if I succeed.
I searched google, Pinterest and YouTube but they didn’t know … I found ways to stiffen a paper doily with wax but all the other results only spoke of how to get wax off your doily.
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So, I decided to experiment. If I used melted wax and dipped my doily, it would be difficult to shape it while it’s hot. I didn’t want to burn my fingers or get messy with tweezers. Wax solidifies very fast. So I decided it is best to grate some wax onto the doily directly.
I didn’t know how it would turn out but experimenting hurt no one (except the doily).
I grated a little bit of wax on my project to cover it.
It looked like it would clump if I melted it. I was afraid it would stick all around too. So I brushed off the excess, dabbed on what was left and transferred the doily over to another wax paper.
Now, what to use to melt the wax?
I had initially thought, I’d use a blow dryer on the highest setting but while working the idea didn’t appeal to me. I decided it was best to cover the doily with another sheet of wax paper and use a steam iron instead.
Using the hot Steam Iron (with the steam option turned off) I pressed on it. The wax quickly absorbed into the doily leaving no residue. I lifted the wax paper to see that the doily didn’t show any signs of wax on it.
I let it cool for sometime and then removed the backing. I felt it needed a bit more wax. So I repeated the whole process 2-3 times more.
The doily is stiff as a cardboard!!!
What kind of wax should I use?
I used candle wax. I had half used candles and even a tea light. I grated it directly after removing the cover. One of them was even scented. ?
How to harden a crochet doily with Candle Wax
Here are the exact steps that I followed and the material that I used.
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Materials you need:
- Candle or candle wax – preferably in the same color as your item.
- Wax paper- 1 roll.
- Plastic tray to collect the extra wax crumbs
- Cheese grater
- Hot Iron / Steam Iron
Step by Step Procedure:
1. Cut out two sheets of wax paper. You should be able to place your item on it leaving enough space around. If your item is small, you can use just one sheet folded in half.
2. Place your item flat on the plastic tray. Your item should be dry. No need to moisten it.
3. Start grating the candle wax directly on to your project. Once it’s fully covered, gently press on the wax crumbs so they adhere to your material.
4. Turn over the item and grate some more wax on the other side. Repeat as in step 3.
5. Gently lift the item and place it on the wax paper. Let the excess wax crumbs fall off. Cover with the second sheet wax paper.
6. Press with hot Iron till the wax melts. Turn the sheet over and press again.
7. Lift the wax paper and transfer the still warm doily to the tray. Grate more wax on it. Turn and cover the other side too.
8. Transfer it back to the wax sheets. Press with the hot Iron again.
9. Repeat the above steps till you have desired thickness. I waxed it 3-4 times.
10. Let it cool completely. If you want to curve or shape some parts, do it while still warm. Once it is cold, it will hold shape.
Can I use wax for bigger crochet projects or tatted doilies?
Yes, you can. I’ve tried different items – from small motifs to a complete doily. Yes, it worked on all of them. My doilies as you can see are quite delicate.
Here are a few things to remember while using Candle Wax to harden objects.
- Avoid using on acrylic yarn as the heat may burnit.
- Use same color wax as the project. I used s slightly lavender colored wax and my white doily turned purple. 🙁 The item takes on the color of the wax.
Hi Aysh, thank you so much for these instructions. I’m crocheting a bag and I want to protect it from snags and dirt. It’s looking so beautiful and the stitches are I beautiful, it will break my heart to see it catch on anything. And I want to be able to wipe it clean. So I thought maybe I’d be able to wax it. My objective as you can see is not to stiffen it, but to give it a bit of protection. From your experience, do you think waxing it maybe twice or so would do the trick? Appreciate your thoughts.
Hi Nora, Umm… I don’t think wax will be able to protect your bag. 🙁 Heat will make the wax melt and handling will make it crack. It may not work that way. I think it will be better if you stitch a plastic transparent cover for it.
You can get a transparent plastic sheet of reasonable thickness, cut it into a basic shape to fit your bag and then add handle space to it just like a normal bag but you will pull the handles out of the plastic bag so there is just one set of handles not two.There are a few ways to make handles and since I don’t know what type your making, either way let me just tell you that make sure to add the handles to the crochet bag not the plastic one. Or else add an attaching hook to join the two bags. Then you can have handle on plastic bag. Did I make sense?
You can get the plastic from shops that sell table top covers. They have a few size thickness and they sell by the meter. A few examples of strap handles are here.
Hope that helps.
Aysh, Hiiiiiii and many thanks for these instructions!! I decided to put my crochet doilies on the back of my book case because you won’t see them when flat on the shelf. I just taped then with clear tape and everyone loved the idea, but I was looking for a way to permanently stiffen them like a plate. I googled and found your idea and I WILL give this a try!!
Private: BTW I am an American (married to a Saudi and living in KSA 50 years) and have been crocheting over 60 years, may I ask your nationality, not too many Arabs take pride in hand work!!!
Hey! Lena, I am Indian. Ooh I want to see pictures. Sounds so much fun.
Hi! Thank you so much for your wax idea!! I am making snowflakes for everyone for Christmas. I tried the glue and water (with some crushed glass for a sparkle) and it’s still not stiff enough. Can I try the wax over this to make it more stiff? Can I add the crushed glass sparkle to the wax?
That’s should work, yes.