Quilts,  Tutorials

Make Your Own Spray Starch

Fabric-Starch How To by Water PennyI’ve been making my own spray starch for a bit now. I am really happy with the effect. I generally like my fabric to be nice and stiff, so I add a lot of starch.

Commercial starch gets expensive if you buy a lot of it. I suppose that is true for anything. Am I blowing your mind with my wisdom?

Anywho, it’s super-easy to make your own starch – just dump in a tablespoon or more of starch in a bottle of water, and shake shake shake! The starch will settle out fairly quickly, so I give it a quick shake every time I use it. I also add a little fresh scent – just a drop of smelly oils I like.

Pluses: Never running out of starch in the middle of the night. Less wasted containers and less money. I don’t know if it’s a plus, but it is edible and if, say, you were trapped in your quilting studio after an earthquake, you could drink your starch for sustenance.

Drawbacks? Well, the shaking could be annoying if you don’t like shaking stuff.  Since bugs can potentially eat starch, you need to wash your starchy things before storing them. I wash all my stuff so this is no problem. Plus I generally store stuff with cedar which I hear bugs don’t like.

Sometimes it can leave starchy white blotches on your fabric. These wash out and some commercial starches do this too so it doesn’t bother me.

I have been using Tapioca Starch, because that’s the kind that  we have. I think cornstarch would be a more common option but we used all ours up thickening sauces and keep forgetting to buy more. I use tapioca starch when making ice cream and sorbets to keep them softer when they freeze and I use it to make my quilts nice and crispy. So there you are. Science!

A side note, several recipes on-line recommend cooking your starch into the water such as here. I imagine this would give you a better product, but would take away from the extreme laziness bonus of the no-cook method, which I deem “perfectly good enough” so do the fancier version at your own discretion.


  • ritainalaska

    i came to look at your yellow dresdens … very nice, very pretty! and say your make your own spray starch post! if i remember right, back in the forties, we used cornstarch when we ironed … ’til permapress came out in the fifties. that was the best invention! now, i’m going to mix up a spray bottle of ‘liquid’ starch, just like the old days. only back then, we mixed a batch in a basin, tossed in everything we wanted starched, ran them through the wringer, rolled them and stored them in the ‘frig’ until we were ready to iron. well, thank goodness we got past those days and i’d forgotten about it. thanks for the memories.

  • Pre

    So glad I found this option. Sometimes you need starch and I can’t use commercial starches due to allergies (fragrances). I even tried contacting one of the companies (best press, I think) and asked about the possibility of them making a fragrance-free starch and they said that the natural smell of cooked starch (commercially made) is pretty awful so they feel they HAVE to add fragrance to help mask it.

    What ratio of starch to water do you use – how much starch do you add to 1 cup of water? I know you said add a few Tbsp to a spray bottle, but I have spray bottles in such varied sizes…

  • dana

    Try a tsp. to a cup of water for a fairly stiff starch. I really vary it depending on how stiff I want the fabric. It’s one of the nice things about mixing your own. You can’t really go wrong since the starch rinses out of the fabric anyway!

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