Hello Everyone,

I have been experimenting with stiffening Guipure lace using a variety of stiffeners ( Gelatine solution, Straw stiffener, Starch solution, Sugar solution and  PVA mix). Can anyone offer some advise in regards to this as nothing I have tried so far seems just right. Perhaps it is the concentration of application or a new method entirely. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks


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Thank you so much Melissa - I really appreciate you help and I absolutely adore the piece that you have created.



When I stiffen lace, I use a mixture of PVA and starch.  I started using just a PVA mixture, but it didn't seem quite right, so just started experimenting.  I "cook to taste" you might say, I just start with PVA and add the starch mixture to it, until it looks right for the task at hand.

Thank you so much Bridget for sharing with me your knowledge - It is just so lovely to find a group who are so generous and giving.  



I am happy help.  Being self taught, I know how difficult it can be to find the information you need. At times it has taken a lot of frustration and going back to the drawing board to figure things out.  That is why I live this site.  There are so many talented individuals willing to help.  Most of what I know, I have discovered through experimentation, so don't take anything as though it is carved in stone. :)

When you say starch solution, what do you mean? Brand? Type? I find that here in the States, products are different from one coast to another and very different from other parts of the world.


I just use corn starch, whatever I have in the cabinet, but generally use ARGO.  Make a paste with water, just like you do to thicken fruit or desert.  Cook until thickened and then let cool a bit before mixing with PVA glue.  Sorry, I have never measured, just add till it looks right. I store leftovers in a glass jar.  Lasts a week or few days.

I have various dilutions of PVA, 50/50 down to  1 part to 7 water. Labelled in plastic jars and just experiment with each for this or flower making, and felt stiffening.  Nearly neat was used on a lace blocked mini top hat and that has held up well considering its been a sample and messed about with quite a bit.

Might try the starch  and have yet to try using gelatin.

I have tried gelatin.  Only mix what you are going to use fairly quickly.  it sets up.

Hi Jill,

for very small bridal hats like teardrop and button shapes I use a very strong PVA solution, and LOTS of it. Unless I give them at least a couple of coats, they tend to cave in in the middle over time. I have only ever done this with white and cream shades, though. For lace jewellery and headbands and the like I use fabric stiffener (McCulloch & Wallis in London used to stock a brilliant one) or a weaker PVA solution. I prefer the fabric stiffener, if I can get my hands on a good one, as the PVA makes the lace go all matte.

xx Edita

Hello Edita - Thank you so much for your advise - I will have to put some time aside to experiment anew.

KInd regards


Thanks so much for sharing your advice and experiments everyone. I'm wanting to try this too as I've never done it before and it helps having some information to start with. Thanks again! 


Can I try this for a crown made out of lace? I need to really stiffen it so it is hard enough not to dent/bend. I also need it not to recolor the lace. 


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