Hi all,

This has probably been asked a dozen times but...?
I use a flammable felt stiffener from Parkins UK, not cheap at £20.00 plus VAT plus postage for 500ml???
But try as I do, and work it in to the felt it always leaves behind white marks/residue??
Is there really another alternative other than the expensive flammable stiffens that don't leave these marks!
I'm sure i've read somewhere about watered down PVA which is sprayed onto the inside of felt?

Any suggestions greatly appreciated:-)

Thank you!

Tags: stiffener

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I haven't used stiffener on the inside,of my felts yet. Sounds interesting. Pretty sure the white residue is there to stay, which is why only the inside is treated.
I do think felt does need stiffener to keep its shape. I hope the white residue is not staying:-):-) its nice to have the hat looking good inside as well out.
Happy hatting!!!!!

In the 1960s with the hat industry on a high both Millinery Straw stiffener and Felt stiffener were obtainable but with the downturn in mid 70s a separate felt stiffener was no longer available here in Australia

If you add thinners ( paint thinners from Hardware store) to straw stiffener or the felt stiffener you have Susan you will find there is no longer this residue film left. 2/3rds stiffener to 1/3rd thinners. It does mean you will need to do 3 light coatings leaving fr 2 hrs to completely dry and you can use this under the brim. also.

The real secret to maximising stiffness in felts is thorough steaming before blocking - more than just a steam iron to block. Need to actually fill hood with steam and this helps release some of stiiffener added during manufacture.

Test on felt scrap with thinners mixed with your particular felt stifffener  Let us know the result.

Thanks Elaine! Will give this a go! It's so frustrating when a beautiful hat is ruined by those dreaded white marks!

I use an aerosol spray that doesn't leave in marks.  Here's the link (I'm in the states):  


For the hat with the white marks, you could consider lining it.  


Hi Susan, I too had that result with that type of stiffener and mistakenly put it on the brim, and when it dried..hey presto lovely white marks that will not go. it ruined my attempt at a Breton shape hat. no amount of brushing etc will make it go away.

I have since used the PVA type ( thinned with water), but only on the inside of my felts and much prefer that to the flammable one.

However, was not aware that I could use thinners to water it down, so maybe will try again, but not on the brim. Rookie error on my part with felt. So thanks for the tip Elaine.

But on Burgandy I notice it !

You need to use a little of this inside the hat to begin with....then you put the hood in oven for 30 mins at 80c degrees. Then it would be stiff and ready to steam without issue and trust me you are getting this varnish like felt stiffener cheap!  

I use this stiffener too as I find I get a much more even finish than with the PVA style stiffeners.  I use a bit of nail varnish remover to get rid of it.  You only need cheapo stuff as it's the acetone in it that helps dissolve the residue.

I soak a piece of clean calico with the liquid and gently wipe over a small section at a time.  Don't rub, as tempting as it may be, you dont want the acetone to work into the felt, but just to remove the residue. You don't want to actually wet the felt either, but if it does darken and you can't see what you are doing, just let it dry.  A gentle brush with a dry old toothbrush afterwards will help even out the finish.

NB: I have only done this with wool felts, but not the outside of fur finished (peachbloom/melusine) felts, it works fine on the insides of these.

hope this helps :o)


Oh, Sophie, thanks for that tip. I will have to try that to see if I can rescue the Burgandy bretton. 

no worries, i hope it works for you as well as it works for me!


Hi Sophie, what a life safer that little tip of yours was. Tried it on the burgandy bretton, and its worked a treat, you can hardly see any of the marks at all now.

Oh fab stuff Jain!  I'm so pleased it worked...now, have you got some piccies for us ;o)



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