I am making a plant hanger out of burlap. Can someone tell me how to make the burlap stiff? Like they do when they make straw hats made into planters. Thanks for any help I may get.
Janet, fabric stiffener should work. Depends on how big your piece is. Try a small piece first. Pour stiffener in a baggie add the burlap and knead it. Take it out and squeeze out the excess. Put plastic wrap down or over something and you can form it the way you want. If this doesn't come out the way you want, you've not wasted a lot of stiffener. Let me know how you made out. Keeper
A really thrifty way to stiffen fabric is to use equal parts sugar and water. Just boil until the sugar is dissolved and let cool. Saturate your fabric and form into the desired shape. Let dry for a few days and you are ready to go!
By Jennie (Guest Post) 10/05/2008
I, too, have used fabric stiffener to make things like that. Your local crafts tore should have it, if not something designed with something like your idea in mind, Janet. I usually find that when I just go in and wander the aisles looking for something close to what I want, there's at least one helpful crafty person in there who saunters up and says, "Oh, try this! It worked great for me!" And they're usually right.
Another thrifty way to stiffen the burlap is to make a homemade starch. I do it in a way very similar to making gravy. Take a large cup and put some cold water and a few tablespoons of cornstarch in, mix well until dissolved. Pour this mixture into a larger pot of boiling water. Cook and stir a few minutes as if making gravy. Cool the starch mixture down before dipping the burlap hanger in. If the hanger is larger, just take a soup ladle or cup and pour over the hanger above a tray. If the mixture dries too stiff you can dilute the gravy further with more water. I use this method to starch my doilies, braided coat hangers and a more diluted version for my curtains.
For lazy crafters, try spray starch. I got a huge can of it from a dollar store not too long ago for... a dollar.
PS whatever is used to stiffen the burlap, the planter should be lined with something so water doesn't get on the burlap. That would "un-stiffen" it in a hurry.