Monday, September 15, 2014

Stiffener tested

I do not like to stiffen my pieces. For more than one reasons. I do not deny that for some objects it is necessary, but they are not in my area of interests... Yet.
I believe that a good pattern  and a correct work should give a piece which needs minimal blocking (if not zero). This does not affect the 3D pieces, they simply need to be stiffened.
I work tatted jewelry and I try to make all my pieces that they are stable, lay flat by them selves,  no twist. This is maybe the reason I preffer not to make any decorative picots. I do not like to punish the ones wearing my pieces with long instructions how to wash, stiffen the bracelet or the earrings. It is not funny. A short "shower with a gentle soap, arrange the piece to lay flat and let dry it should be enough". And yes, I use a nano-spray, a non allergic one, to avoid that dirt gets into the fibers. It is working, the simple gesture of cleaning the piece with a humid cloth does miracles after this.
I am always asked what  I use. Nothing would be the answer.
But since I needed to make some roses, I searched for a solution to stiffen them. No one likes a wedding bouquet with tatted flowers to loose shape and get dull colours is also not something I want to have.
I tested some products.
One captured my attention: the Deco Festiger from Hobby Line. It smells like the white glue, but it has a different behaviour. I aplied it with no dilution, I loved what I got with my polyester thread: stiffness, perfect finish, no change of the colours.
Sue Hanson was wondering how it is working. There you go, Sue. This is just for you.
I used all the fibers I had in the house. I applied the stiffener on the right half only, so you can have the possibility to compare, no matter the angle or the light I have when I take the pictures. Please, do not criticize the pieces, they are tests taken from my flops box.

As I said, the stiffener was applied only on the right side of the pieces. 
For the pieces with beads, I cleaned immediatelly the beads with a humid clean cloth. I removed also with this cloth the excess. Except  one piece, the red and black flower, just to show you the effect. 

After 2 hours in the sun (wanted to rush the process), there you have the result: 

The Lizbeth 20 was a bit darker, but it might be not completelly dry. No dull colour. No change at all for the Lizbeth 40. The white thread got a better aspect, without loosing the texture. 


The Anchor thread with the beads looks pretty "healthy". And i assure you, the chains do not lay. 
The Polyester thread is perfect!

The Brildor 15, also a polyester thread got a beautiful body. 

No change at all for the metallic thread. 

And maybe you can see the shine of the film coating the pieces. 

They are rigid enough but yet, flexible. 
You can treat them with another coat of finish. I did not have it. For small pieces like earrings and pendants, it is perfect, in my humble opinion. 3D pieces, for sure. 
Hope it helps. 
Have fun. Tatting... 


  1. Hi Corina! Thank you so much for sharing your results : ) Is this stiffener permanent or is it something that could be washed out and re-block the piece? I usually use Plaid Stiffy - at different dilutions. It can be washed out. Sometimes has a scratchy texture. I tried Fa-Brick, which is permanent, and did not follow the directions correctly so I got a disaster. I should have shook the bottle more, blotted excess, and used it at a warmer room temp. The one piece it did work on has a nice smooth texture and good body with a little shine.

    1. This should be permanent, the result should be a waterproof piece, at least is used for art pieces (silk, leather). It should also wash without any problems. I will wait until tomorrow and I will wash one piece to see the result. I will keep you posted.

  2. Love this informative post, I think the polyester is great too, but on larger projects that you don't want glue on I find it hard to hide thread ends do you? I have melted them but can't seem to hide them.

    1. I use polyester for the jewelry (a lot of Ankars), for the other projects, I would stick to a good quality coton or silk.
      I never stiffen my pieces but I I never had any problem to hide the ends. A good, sharp needle and the old method never fails. I admit, not always funny the pass the polyester thread through the hole of the needle. Only when I have my ends hidden, I cut the thread by letting a very tiny end which I melt with the lighter (to that point where no color change appears). Never make any knot, never apply glue.
      This stiffener is conceived to harden textiles (linen silk), so it is a bit different than the white glue... It would be great to make those little lace boxes, coasters, snowflakes. After 2 days they say it is no longer removable and the objects can be cleaned with a cloth.

  3. Corina, thanks for sharing. I also make Jewellery, don't block or include decorative picots. I am very interested in the nano-spray you mentioned. Can you tell me what it is & what brand? Thank you

    1. Good morning Susan,
      The nano liquid is one used for the soutache jewelry, I found it here: It is perfect. I will make a test with this one too.
      There are other ones, but all for industrial use, or to protect leather objets. Since what we do will be worn on the skin (sweat, fats, own chemistry), I'd rather use something patented and tested for this use. Or find another liquid "children save".

  4. Interesting. Thanks for passing on your findings.

  5. Very informative and systematic ! Thanks for sharing :-)

  6. Thank you for getting back to me. I'm in Melbourne and couldn't read the language, my ignorance, but it gives be a starting point to track down something equivalent locally. Soutache is becoming very popular here with lots of classes running so I will have many places to make enquiries. Thank you again and I love your beautiful work and your generous sharing of information.
    Kindest regards,
    Susan in Oz :)

  7. Could you tell me where to find the pattern for what looks like butterflies made with white "Blidor 15"?

    1. Own thing this one, I do not know if there is somewhere something similar.
      Big rings: 10 - 10 - 10
      Small rings: 10 + 10
      Chain: 25
      Ring: 8 +8 - 8- 8 (you can change this one as you like).