How to Make Spray Starch

How to Make Spray Starch

If you like the feel of spray starch, you’ll love being able to make this quick, easy, and eco-friendly version. Here’s how to make spray starch at home!

I sew a lot of jersey knit fabric, and it’s much easier to sew a skirt from an upcycled T-shirt when the T-shirt fabric doesn’t curl up all fiddly-like.

Spray starch is the solution for lightly, naturally, temporarily (and cheaply!) stiffening knit fabrics while you sew them. The spray starch will wash out in the regular wash that you put your finished project into, and will leave your jersey knit neatly and regularly stitched.

Spray starch, depending on the brand, can be quite expensive, but if you’re a regular consumer you’ll be thrilled (or horrified) to learn how to make spray starch yourself cheaply and easily.

Frankly, homemade spray starch is even better than the store-bought kind because it’s completely customizable. If you want a light starch, you can make it. If you want a heavy starch, well, you can make that, too!

Read on for how to make spray starch and options for customizing it to fit your exact sewing needs:

How to Make Spray Starch

Start your recipe with plain distilled water. The water where I live is hard, and so I always worry about water stains on my pristine white fabric, so I use distilled water in my iron and for laundry recipes like these.

To each cup of water, add between one teaspoon and three teaspoons of cornstarch, depending on how stiff you’d like your spray starch to be. One teaspoon will give a very light starch, suitable for a child’s dress shirt, while three teaspoons is a heavy starch, and what I use when I’m stitching jersey knit.

This is a raw recipe, so it doesn’t require cooking at all. Some spray starch recipes call for boiling the water, but all you have to do with this recipe is funnel it into a spray bottle–simple, quick, and easy to do while little kids pester you.

I believe the theory behind cooking the spray starch is to help it keep longer, so rethink this particular raw recipe if that’s a concern to you, but during times when I haven’t sewn regularly (can you imagine?), I’ve kept this particular spray starch recipe perfectly fine in its spray bottle for several months with no spoilage.

ironing with spray starch (1 of 1)

To use this laundry starch, pour it into an upcycled spray bottle. To lightly scent it, you may add some fresh herbs to the mix–I enjoy fresh lavendar or rosemary, when I have it.

The cornstarch will always settle to the bottom of the bottle when it’s resting, so shake the bottle when you’re ready to use it, then spray your fabric damp and iron dry.

To starch large swathes of fabric, prepare a large amount of this starch solution in a bucket or sink, then dip the fabric into it, ring it out, and iron it dry.

When your project is finished, launder it to remove the starch, and your T-shirt skirt will be perfect!

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.


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