How Do You Stiffen Polyester Fabric?

Sometimes you may need to stiffen fabric. There are numerous ways to complete the stiffening process. However, you should stay away from using chemicals to do it. So, can you stiffen polyester?

How do you stiffen polyester fabric? Stiffening polyester fabric can be done by using starch, glue, fabric stiffener, Mod Podge, and corn starch. However, if you want to save time, choose fabric stiffener and Mod Podge.

In this article, I’m going to cover various methods of stiffening polyester. So, stay with me!

How to Stiffen Polyester Fabric

Use starch to stiffen polyester

spray starch is in action
You can use spray starch to stiffen polyester

Polyester fabric is known for its shrink-resistant behavior. That’s why stiffening this item, or its blends can be challenging. 

  • First of all, turn clothes inside out before washing.
  • Now, toss them into washer. Add natural detergent and fabric softener for better washing. Use warm or cold water instead of using hot water because hot water can shrink polyester.
  • After the wash cycle, add starch to the rinse cycle. Remember, if you want more stiffness, add more starch. 
  • Remove clothes from washer and line dry them.

Stiffening on polyester fabrics can be achieved by ironing too. To do it-

  • First, ensure that all clothes are clean and tidy. Obviously, you don’t want to starch your dirty clothes.
  • Lay garments on an ironing board.
  • Now, shake the spray bottle and point it towards fabrics. Apply starch on the surface of garments.
  • Turn your iron on and set the steam function to dry option.
  • Iron the whole area properly. 

Add more starch if you want. After spraying starch every time, you need to iron those areas. 

Use glue to stiffen polyester

a glue bottle for stiffen polyester
Glue can stiffen polyester perfectly

Stiffening polyester can be done using glue. 

  • First thing first, take a bowl and prepare a mixture of equal part water and glue. Mix them properly to rigid garments better. 
  • Now, take your garments and soak them properly in the mixture. Ensure that every section of fabrics is submerged properly. 
  • After few minutes, remove fabrics from bucket.
  • Use fingers to remove excess glue from clothes. Do it slowly. If you force too much, the whole shape may be compromised.
  • Put the fabrics on an even surface. Now, give it your desired shape. Wait hours or a day to dry it properly. Drying time actually depends on fabric size.

That’s it! It’s simple and cost-effective. However, it may be slower compared to the starch method.  

Use fabric stiffener to stiffen polyester

Using fabric stiffener can be a wonderful choice for you. It can do this job quickly and works better on polyester. 

There are many commercial stiffeners in the market. If you want my suggestion, you can use Aleene’s fabric stiffening spray. To check its price at Amazon, click here

To use this spray-

  • Prepare a workspace and leave garments on it. Give shape to clothes in your preferred way.
  • Use old newspaper or plastic covering to save the workspace.
  • Shake the bottle gently and place it around 6-8 inches away from clothes.
  • Air dry clothes or use clothes dryer to speed up the whole process.
  • For more stiffness in clothes, apply spray again.

This product is great as it works perfectly on-

  • Fabrics
  • Laces
  • Bows
  • Ribbons
  • Cheesecloth

This product has many pros. Just see the following lists-

  • This product is non-toxic.
  • Never discolor the fabrics.
  • Works better on any surface.
  • It is cheap.
  • Garments can dry quickly. 
  • Spray can be washed out easily.
  • Clothes don’t smell weird.

Use Mode Podge to stiffen polyester

Mod Podge is a versatile item from the US. However, you should keep in mind that it stiffens fabrics permanently. Apart from that, you can easily use it on polyester as-

  • Clean clothes after using Mod Podge is super easy.
  • It is easy and safe to use.
  • Perfect choice for any crafting work.
  • Clothes never turn yellow after using them.
  • Suitable for all garments type.

Lastly, Like Aleene’s fabric stiffening spray, it can save you from a lot of trouble. However, it can be expensive. 

So, how to use it? Please check the glue section for proper instructions. 

Use Cornstarch to stiffen polyester

Cornstarch can stiffen polyester
Cornstarch can stiffen polyester without hampering it

Cornstarch is an effective stiffener. To use it,

  • Take a bowl full of water.
  • Pour one teaspoon of cornstarch into it.
  • Now, stir the mixture to dissolve the cornstarch properly.
  • Take your garments and soak them in this solution. 
  • After soaking, dry those items with dryer or iron them.

This process has both pros and cons. Take a look-

  • It is cost-effective.
  • Clothes become stiff for a longer duration.
  • You can stiff clothes without using dryer or iron.
  • Works better on all types of dresses.

However, this process is quite time-consuming. So, if you’re a busy person and aren’t tight on budget, stick with commercial fabric stiffeners. 

How to stiffen fabric for sewing

Stiffening can make the sewing process easy. If you need temporary stiffen in fabrics, you can do it with gelatin.


  • Bowl
  • Hot water
  • Gelatin


  • First, take a bowl with two cups of water
  • Add one teaspoon of gelation to it.
  • Mix the ingredients properly and leave it for half an hour.
  • Now, pour 4 cups of hot water into it.
  • Soak your clothes properly or take this solution to a spray bottle and spray items.
  • Let the items dry. 

Apart from that, you can use sugar and water solutions too.


  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Bowl


  • Take equal parts of water and sugar in a bowl.
  • Stir this solution properly.
  • Wait for a few minutes to dissolve sugar properly and soak garments in it.
  • Give items your desired shape and dry them.

These methods may give temporary stiffness to garments. For permanent stiffness, you can use –

  • Glue or
  • Fabric stiffeners

Frequently asked questions

Can you use hairspray to stiffen fabric?

Hairspray can be a cheap and effective way to stiffen fabrics. To stiffen fabrics with it-

  • Keep your garment on a flat surface.
  • Place hairspray almost 6 to 8 inches away from the fabric and spray it.
  • After spraying properly, use an iron or dryer to speed up the stiffening process.

However, you need to be very careful in selecting hairspray. Some manufacturers may use alcohol or other chemicals in their products. In the long run, alcohol may fade clothes. 

Therefore, choose natural hairsprays that use environment-friendly items like-

  • Deionized water
  • Natural glycerin
  • Organic Ethyl Palmate
  • Rosemary oil
  • See extract

How do you stiffen lace fabric?

To stiffen a lace perfectly,

  • Make a mixture with equal parts of water and glue. Stir it properly.
  • Take the lace and soak it in the solution.
  • After five or ten seconds, remove the lace.
  • Now, extend it to its original position with pins. Be careful. Never distort its original shape.
  • Wait one or two days to dry it properly.
  • After dried properly, apply liquid starch on both sides.
  • Pin it again as before and wait for one more day.

Conclusion on stiffening polyester

After this thorough discussion, you may know how to stiffen polyesters. If budget is a trivial matter for you, choose Mod Podge or Aleene’s fabric stiffening spray. Both sprays can do your job perfectly.

In contrast, if you want to save money, use glue or starch.

So, which stiffen method do you like the most? Leave it in the comment section.

Goodbye for now!

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