Powder Stiffener is made from a natural resin dissolved in alcohol. When made up, it is an effective stiffener for felt straw and most other millinery materials. I use it with a natural bristle brush like other stiffeners, before or after blocking according to your preference.
As the powder is non-toxic and safe to ship, it can be sent via express post and overseas. So it’s perfect for those who don’t have access to regular ‘chemical’ stiffeners. It is easily mixed with alcohol to form a usable liquid. This video shows how.
Similar to shellac, the liquid has a weak tea colour so if used on very pale material it will impart a slight ivory colour. For this reason, it is not recommended for materials you want to stay white.
If you come into the shop, you can buy the stiffener already made up. However, if I’m posting it, powder form is better. You can use any alcohol over 90% pure to mix it up. I use 99.8% isopropyl alcohol (IPA) and I find it very good. Though you can use metho, IPA has no additives like colours and artificial smells and flavours that are required in methylated spirits by law. DO NOT USE water, paint thinners, or 70% IPA on your powder. Water makes the powder seize, and cleaning alcohol is often 70%, so make sure it is over 90% alcohol before you buy it. A google search for ‘5L (or 20L) 99% isopropyl alcohol in your area should bring up some results. Many will be cleaning supply places. Bunnings and other places sell 250ml bottles, but this is very expensive.
As always, if you’re not sure, ring or email me.