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Thread: Spray starch substitute and re-inventing the wheel

  1. #1
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    Spray starch substitute and re-inventing the wheel

    I've been using a homemade spray starch on my blocks for a couple of weeks now and really like the results. I was really pleased yesterday when I got my new "Heirloom Machine Quilting" book by Harriet Hargrave because I learned that she uses a homemade solution as well. It sounded close to the one I use.

    Mine: 2 cups water to 2 tbsp. cornstarch. Put in spray bottle and give a good shake. Works well for me. I can mix it as stiff as I want..but this recipe is what I've been using.

    I was talking to my mom about it. She's 86 and as a girl they did their clothes over a backyard black washpot. Her grandfather was the preacher and her dad led the music for the church back then. Mom said that when they held revivals all the preachers stayed at their house and her mom had to starch all the men's collars and cuffs.

    You may/may not know that those collars/cuffs were stiff as a board. Mom said that the cornstarch formula was used. They made a stiff solution of it and boiled it on the stove (kinda like making brown gravy but without the brown part...just cooked cornstarch and water).

    But she said that the community favorite starch for the collars, cuffs, and those doilies with the stand-up ruffles was a mixture of flour and water. They stirred it and cooked it until beginning to thicken..then dipped the article in and squeezed it very well. She said you had to be careful with the crochet doilies to make sure you got as much out as you could squeeze because the mixture would be stuck in the little holes.

    So I guess I'm not doing anything new after all.

    If any of you decide to try this, just know that cornstarch and flour are foods and bugs love both. So, when storing your quilts it would be better if they were starch-free.

    Anyone else use homemade starch?

  2. #2
    Super Member QuiltingKrazy's Avatar
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    Everything old becomes new once again! thanks
    Lisa B in NC
    Quilting is my Happy Thought!
    http://www.quiltingkrazy.blogspot.com

  3. #3
    Junior Member Freddie's Avatar
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    I haven't yet, but now I'll give it a try. Thanks!

  4. #4
    Super Member EasyPeezy's Avatar
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    If you cook the starch mixture for 1-2 mins it will stabilize the solution and you
    don't have to keep shaking the bottle.

  5. #5
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    I make my own starch solution from a boiled recipe. I tried the Bounce ironing spray which works great but the perfume bothers my asthma. Canada is getting Target stores and I am hoping the Stay Flo jugs of starch that you dilute will be available.
    P.s. remember to clean your iron often if you are doing a lot of starching on white fabric.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the tip, EasyPeezy.

    Tartan, would you mind sharing your recipe? I'd like to give that a try.

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    I too use cornstarch and water to starch lengths of fabrice. I didn' t have a recipe so just winged it and turned out well. My only problem is I have to do it outside - no good place in. so have to wait for warm weather. I dunk and swish and hang to dry on the line - no wringing.

  8. #8
    Z
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    Both cornstarch and flour work well as starch, they are favorite food for ants and cockroaches. We don't like to think that
    our homes are shared by these bugs. One day I found a roach actually eating fabric which had the cornstarch stiffening.
    Needless to say I don't use cornstarch or flour anymore. The commercially made starches don't have the built-in food supply.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by dray965 View Post
    Thanks for the tip, EasyPeezy.

    Tartan, would you mind sharing your recipe? I'd like to give that a try.
    Spray Starch
    3 and 3/4 cups water in a med. pan (bring to boil)

    1 Tbsp. corn starch
    1/4 cup cold water ( mix corn starch and cold water)

    Slowly add cornstarch mixture to boiling water and whisk until blended. Simmer 1 minute and let cool. Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice and put it into a spray bottle. I spray the back of my material and clean my iron frequently. This makes a light starch, if you want your fabric crisper add extra corn starch to the cold water mixture 1 Tbsp. at a time .

  10. #10
    QM
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    Keep in mind that genuine starch can encourage silverfish, so don't use it on something to be set aside.

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    This is very interesting. Guess our foremothers knew what they were doing
    Cheryl, hiding away in my quilting studio

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    I also use my home brew...8 parts water, 1 part Vodka and a few drops of lavender essence. If smell bother you don't use it because Vodka does not smell. hehe... my DH is a minister so I ask my friend to buy the Vodka for me....

  13. #13
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morelcabin View Post
    I use vodka instead of cornstarch. Vodka is starchy...it is made from potatoes. A little more expensive but it's only three ounces to a spay bottle filled with water...and if you don't drink, the vodkas lasts forever...it does here. I use it in two things...homemade starch and homemade vanilla. I have no idea if it attracts critters though
    Imagine drunk cockroaches.

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    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    If you make the flour mixture too thick you would end up with glue. Ar a child I did a great deal of cutting up pictures and sticking into scrap books. Mum made up a glue mixture of flour and water for me to use especially as we shared a house and I had to be quiet all the time. Sewing day was Tuesday afternoon when we went to a group.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  15. #15
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    Oh I remember flour and water paste! And homemade playdough...

    I use cornstarch and water when I need starch, and because I always wash my quilts when they are finished, the critter problem doesn't arise.
    Maggie in Jerusalem
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    Thank you Tartan

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    Senior Member rush88888's Avatar
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    there was a conversation on this forum about making start here: http://www.quiltingboard.com/main-f1...s-t213762.html
    "perfection is the enemy of done."
    "the secret to having it all is knowing you already do."

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    Oh yes, i remember making those scrapbooks too. Kept me busy. When we cleaned out mom's house, I found one made up of old sheets just waiting to be pasted in.

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    Also is great in pie dough (the vodka, that is) to repalce part of the water. More tender crust becaus less gluten development with less water.

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    Super Member grann of 6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by morelcabin View Post
    I use vodka instead of cornstarch. Vodka is starchy...it is made from potatoes. A little more expensive but it's only three ounces to a spay bottle filled with water...and if you don't drink, the vodkas lasts forever...it does here. I use it in two things...homemade starch and homemade vanilla. I have no idea if it attracts critters though
    Since Vodka is distilled, I would suspect it wouldn't attract bugs. Here in Pennsylvania, I would never use the cornstarch mixture. We have too many bugs, and I have seen them in some of my older fabric. I pay the extra money and buy the Best Press. But I may have to try the Vodka solution.

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    in Texas we have plenty of bugs to..I think the vodka and water maybe the way to do.also read in an older GB that vodke used with water in pie dough makes for a better crust. Who would have throught!!!

  22. #22
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    Everyone here laughs because my vodka is kept in my bathroom upstairs near my sewing room. I buy the cheapest one I can get after all it doesn't have to taste good. I use it by itself with water or I put a little in with my staflo starch mixture I also use it when I mix up my essential oil sprays.. I do put some lemon or lavender essential oil in my vodka/water mix too. So far haven't seen a bug in my tops that are packed . I don't iron my stash until I am ready to use it. So that is just washed and stored.
    I am going to have to remember to try the vodka in the pie crust. I always have the job of making the pies because of my crusts so if I can do it even better. LOL

  23. #23
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    I also cook my own starch. Havent had any problems with silverfish or any other little bugs, I always wash my quilts to remove marking for quilting etc anyway. I also add borax which preserves the starch and keeps it from going sour.
    Last edited by bunniequilter; 02-18-2013 at 06:05 AM.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  24. #24
    Super Member running1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EasyPeezy View Post
    If you cook the starch mixture for 1-2 mins it will stabilize the solution and you
    don't have to keep shaking the bottle.
    Did not know that!! Thank you!!!!!
    "... let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

  25. #25
    Junior Member Suzette316's Avatar
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    I've been using my own starch made from cornstarch and water for about seven years now after reading about it on Diane Gaudynski's site. I love it! So very inexpensive, no additives or junk to mess up the environment (or my lungs) and I can make it as stiff as I choose for the project I'm working on at the time. (Lots of bias edges gets lots of starch prior to cutting.)

    So yeah, I guess nothing new under the sun to use this formula, but I love how this stuff always comes back around again!

    Oh, my version of this is to dissolve 1 - 2 teaspoons of cornstarch in a bit of cool water, then add 1 cup boiling water, stir to thoroughly dissolve then add 1 cup cool water. Once cool enough to handle, I pour into a spritzer bottle and go quilt! I do give this a shake before each spritz and I pitch any that's left (which is rare) within the week. (No preservatives means it won't last much longer, but that is almost never a problem for me and even if I have to throw some away, no biggie, it only cost pennies and few minutes to make more.)
    Last edited by Suzette316; 02-18-2013 at 07:46 AM.

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