The age-old hobby and craft of crochet is once again very popular and has survived through the ages. Many people look for different ways of displaying and making them more creative, I hope this article will give you some more ideas to try something new. Many people do not use doilies as much these days, although I still love to put them on my cupboards to protect the natural woodwork from scratching.

How to create gifts from stiffened doiliesCredit: © TPhotos

Fill finished doily with contents of your choice then cover with clear gift wrapping

You can create so many sorts of crochet garments for the baby, children’s and adults beautiful tops, hats, scarves and of course tablecloths and doilies. They all look and wear well with the correct care and laundering.

As I love to make my own gifts, where possible, I decided to try my hand at making a few crochet doilies and then thought about a beautiful crochet swan that I remembered seeing as a child. As I could not find a suitable free pattern for a swan, I made up my own patterns for crochet doilies and then stiffened them. Once I had done this, I filled them in one instance with a packet of peanuts, although you could fill them with chocolates, fruit or anything of your choice, and give them away for gifts.
Note: If anyone has a free pattern of a crochet swan, I would love a copy.

You can stiffen them with different processes. I remember my mum using starch. I did mine with sugar and hot water. This worked out okay in my opinion, although one of them I had to do a second time as I tried to do both together and I believe the first one soaked up most of the sugar.


Sugar and Water process


Position doily on basin or foam to dryCredit: © TPhotos

Use foam or basin or dish to lay your garment over to form the required shape

Always start with a clean garment.

You will need

  • ½-cup sugar
  • ½-cup water
  • Saucepan and dishes or foam shapes and pins


Wet your doily then wrap in towel to soak excess water up. Do not wring out, as this will pull it out of shape.

Put sugar and water on stove to heat up and stir until sugar dissolved. Do not boil.
Let cool slightly then saturate doily in mixture and squeeze excess out. Again, do not pull out of shape.

You can lay doily over a foam shape and pin until completely dry. (Use non-rust pins) On the other hand, as I had no pins or foam shapes I placed mine over dishes that I had in the cupboard.
I pull it into the shape I want and put another dish the same shape on top and then stand out in the sun to dry. They do not move nor shrink. I found this very easy to do.

Here are two examples of drying doiliesCredit: ® TPhotos

Two examples of doilies placed under dishes to shape and leave in sun to dry

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Other ways for stiffening doilies

Liquid starch

Liquid starch works the same as the sugar and water. The more you spray on the stiffer it will become.

Water and Glue

Mix equal parts of water and glue. Immerse crochet article into solution, squeeze out excess liquid and arrange garment on the dish or surface you to shape. If using foam or soft surface pin in place until dry. Again, use rust proof pins, or use a dish as I did.

Hair spray

For a more stiffer feel I would spray both sides of the garment.
Then lay out as described above.

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This will give you 20 different designs to let you make mommy and baby owls, hedgehogs, and penguins, plus the kids favorites like cupcakes and ice-cream cones.

The kids will love you if you can create some of these for them.

Ironing garments

To finish drying take top basin offCredit: © TPhotos

When nearly dry take top basin or dish off to finish drying in sun

If you want a firm stiff garment then you can iron it, although I would treat as above, then place a clean cloth over garment before ironing. This will prevent the iron making it shiny or scorching the garment. It will prevent the starch or substance from coming into contact with your iron.

Note: You can launder the starch, sugar and water processes at any time, because the glue is more permanent. These treatments will also darken your garments.

Anyone can learn to crochet things like granny blankets which can be used to keep granny warm or buy using pastel colors they will look great to use for baby or cot blankets. In addition to these you could even challenge yourself to create beautiful scarves, baby clothes or anything at all.  Why not challenge your self to try something new or if you can crochet then share this knowledge with your children.