Borax can also be used for slight stiffening, when other agents are not prepared 1 to 4 teaspoonfuls are added to 1/2 pint of water. It is useful for stiffening laces.
Other Stiffening Agents
Special finishes are often used on such fabrics as voiles, organdies and silks to restore their crisp, new appearance. Dilute solutions of gelatin, gum arabic are good for this purpose. Avoid using too much of any one of them, as they will give a sticky feel to fabric.
Gum Arabic or Acacia
This is a preparation made with gum-arabic, a gelatinous fluid from the acacia shrub. This valuable gum dries by exposure to the air. It is available both in powdered and lump form which dissolves easily in water.
4 oz gum
1 point boiling water
(i) Crush the gum arabic and put it into a basin.
(ii) Pour boiling water and stir, till it dissolves.
(iii) Strain through a muslin cloth in a jug, and then bottle it.
(vi) Put formalin in it to prevent from going bad.
For use, put 4 teaspoonfuls of gum arabic to 1/2 pint of water.
It is made from hoofs and hides of animals. It is both available in powdered and sheet from in the market. The method for gelatin from the sheet form is the same as for gum-arabic. The powdered gelatin (1/2 oz) dissolved in 1 pint of water and steeps it overnight. It is an expensive stiffening agent.
It is also called 'artificial gum'. It is mixed in either hot or cold water which forms a gummy solution. It is available in the form of a white powder. This gum should be made in small amounts as required because it spoils very quickly.