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How to Stiffen Felt

I’m currently working on a project that requires the use of stiffened felt.  You can buy it already stiffened at the craft store, but then you are limited to the colors and sizes that they carry.  Also, if you know me, you know I am particular about what kind of felt I use.  It was surprisingly easy and cheap to stiffen the felt myself.  There are lots of different methods out there, but for my purposes, I found using regular old white school glue worked great!  So here you go, here’s how to stiffen felt with school glue.

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

To stiffen felt, you will need:

  • felt
  • white school glue
  • warm water
  • old container
  • wax paper
  • iron and ironing board

How to Stiffen Felt with Glue

Mix approximately one part school glue to three parts warm water.  I am too lazy to measure when it comes to this sort of thing, so really I just dumped some glue into my bowl and added some warm water.  Make sure to mix it until it’s mostly smooth.  You don’t want the chunks of glue sticking to your felt.

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

Cut your pieces of felt slightly larger than you need them to be.  The felt will shrink up a bit and warp as it dries.  For this reason I also recommend cutting out any shapes AFTER stiffening.  Submerge your felt in the mixture and make sure the whole piece gets nice and soaked.  If you are doing multiple colors, start with the lightest, as the dyes will bleed.

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

Remove your felt and gently wring it out over your bowl.  Don’t twist or pull it.  A nice squeeze to get out the extra moisture is all you need.  It will still be a little wet, but you want to get out as much water as you can to speed up the drying process.

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

Lay your felt on wax paper and smooth it out flat.  Don’t worry that it’s wrinkled from wringing it out, we will fix that later.  Let it dry completely.  We have lovely 100 degree weather right now, so I took mine outside to dry faster.  At least the heat is good for something!  Drying will take probably a day or two depending on how warm the environment is.

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

Once your felt has dried completely, it should be nice and stiff.  Now is that part where we take care of the wrinkles.  Just sandwich it between two cloths and iron.  It will come out perfect and ready for your craft project!  (If you are using acrylic or polyester felt, just try not to leave the iron on there too long.  That stuff is made out of plastic.)

Cutesy Crafts: How to stiffen felt with white school glue!

Stiffened felt will show every hole that you put in it with a pin.  I recommend taping any patterns that you use instead of pinning.  Hope you enjoyed learning how to stiffen felt! Click here to see what I made with it and check out all of my felt crafts for more inspiration.

How to stiffen felt using white school glue.

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Viviana Suntaxi

Thursday 11th of November 2021

Hey could you tell me please if I can wash a quiet book made of stiffen felt?

Áurea formorso

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Thank you!!!

Anndrea

Thursday 2nd of September 2021

Me encanta fieltro

Allio

Monday 29th of June 2020

Hey! I know this was made 7 years ago, but I’m just trying this now, and there was something I noticed! You say to use warm water with the glue, and to make sure that there’s almost not chunks of glue when you’re done stirring. When I did this, I noticed that the warm water wasn’t hot enough to dilute the glue to a point where it didn’t still have chunks. Although I stirred for a good 15 minutes, my felt still had spots of glue. So, I tried using water that was almost boiling, stirring the glue, and then letting it cool a bit so I didnt burn my hands dipping the felt, the glue mixed completely fluidly and I was able to get clean felt! I’m using 12’ x 11’ sheets of felt since I’m making fairly big felt dolls with them, and it was spot free when I used hotter water! I hope if anyone is still seeing this, it comes in handy to keep the solution fluid ^^

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

Awesome! Thank you for the tip!!

Greg Hunter

Wednesday 22nd of April 2020

I want to make a bicorne Naval re-enactment hat out of melton black wool felt. I need to make the brims stiff so that it will curl as it is bent up toward the top of the hat. I am concerned. I don't to experience any white residue from the glue on the black felt? Would I need to use steam during curling the brims up to the top?

Jessica @ Cutesy Crafts

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

I didn't have a problem with residue. I think most white school glue dries white, but check the bottle. Someone else just commented that if you make the water really hot, mix in the glue, and then let it cool, the glue dissolves a bit better.

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