The doily should be washed in cold soapy water, pressing it slightly for a few seconds laying it completely flat, then rinsed. Never rub. If there is a stubborn stain, use a soft toothbrush with mild soap. To dry, roll in a towel to absorb excess water. Gently stretch to shape. Pin down center to keep it flat and let air dry.Starch Recipe for Doilies
1/2 cup starch
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 cup cold water
Dissolve starch in cold water. Boil the 1 1/4 cups water, stirring constantly. Remove from flame, then slowly stir the starch mixture into boiling water, stirring constantly. Place back on flame until it thickens. As soon as the starch is cool enough to handle, dip doily and squeeze through it thoroughly. Wring out the extra starch. The doily should be wet with starch, but there should be no starch in the spaces or openwork. Pin center of doily in true shape and allow to dry thoroughly. After it is dry, press with a steam iron. If a regular iron is used, dampen the doily slightly before pressing. Pin folds of ruffle in position and leave until thoroughly dry.Sugar Starch Recipe for doilies
This is the old-fashioned starch used for lacy doilies.
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Mix water and sugar in a small pan. Stir the mixture over low heat (do not boil) until clear and not sugary. Remove pan from heat, and let mixture cool.
Wet the lace doily. Roll in a towel to remove excess moisture and dip it into the mixture. Squeeze out excess starch, then shape. Allow to dry and iron on warm setting.
Doilies do not need to be ironed when you use this starch. Just smooth out and shape while wet on a clean flat surface.Other Starching Techniques
These instructions are taken from The American Thread Co. 1948:
More recent starching techniques are:
LIQUID STARCH: Dilute with water unless you want it really stiff. The more water you add, the less stiff the piece will be. Dip piece into the starch, let it sit in the starch for a few seconds, then squeeze out excess (do not twist). Lay it flat on a hard surface, pin into shape. Use only rust proof pins. You can also dip the piece into starch, roll it up in a towel (like a jelly roll) until it's almost dry. Then using a warm iron and covered with another piece of material, press until dry. The piece will be very stiff or just a little, depending on how much water you added. This is not permanent and will have to be repeated every time you wash the item.
SUGAR & WATER: Use equal portions of sugar and water. Bring sugar and water to a rapid boil, remove from heat and cool slightly. Dip the piece in, then squeeze the excess out. Shape according to pattern instructions. The sugar mixture can get grainy if not boiled to the correct temperature. Sometimes yellowing occurs to the piece.
GLUE & WATER: Mix equal parts water and white glue together. Dip piece in and squeeze out the excess. Lay on a hard surface and shape according to your pattern directions. This is a permanent finish.
STIFF STUFF: This is available at most craft stores. You just spray item and pin or shape according to the pattern directions. Let it dry or you can use a blow dryer to speed the process. It makes the piece very stiff! It's not permanent and will wash out.
SHELLAC: Shape piece according to the pattern directions then coat, using a small sponge or brush, with a thin layer of clear shellac (follow directions on the label of shellac). Allow to dry completely between coats. Best to use 2-3 coats. This is permanent and very hard. It would be good for baskets, angels or anything you want permanently shaped.