How To Make DIY Buckram For Millinery & Historical Clothing

How To Make DIY Buckram For Millinery And Historical Clothing

Buckram is a very stiff fabric, almost like cardboard. Buckram is used for millinery and historical clothing. You can buy buckram but buckram is easy to make at home: All you need is cornstarch and cotton or linen fabric – I usually use cotton canvas, twill or Aida cloth.

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DIY Buckram Made With Cornstarch And Cotton Canvas, Twill Or Aida Cloth

You’ll need:

  • 4 tbsp starch – I used cornstarch
  • 1 cup water
  • cotton canvas, twill or Aida cloth


Whisk the cornstarch into the water (make sure there are no lumps). Stirring continously, cook it until the milky white solution turns clear.

Make DIY Buckram At Home For Millinery And Historical Clothing

As soon as it’s cool enough, dip the fabric into the starch. Squeeze out excess starch. Here I’m starching just a small piece of fabric that I needed for my 1920s flower but you can also starch a larger piece of fabric.

Make DIY Buckram Tutorial

Place the starched fabric between a kitchen towel and iron it dry.

DIY Buckram Tutorial Stiff Like Cardboard For Millinery And Historical Costuming

Uses For DIY Buckram

You can use DIY buckram for Victorian bonnet forms, 1920s cloche hats, detachable starched Edwardian collars, DIY lampshades and as foundation for beaded Indian tassels.

I used DIY buckram for my 1840s bonnet form. This DIY bonnet form is as stiff as cardboard but it’s more flexible than cardboard. I also used DIY buckram as foundation for the 1920s flower dress accessory.

14 thoughts on “How To Make DIY Buckram For Millinery & Historical Clothing

  1. So interesting, I love seeing all the amazing historical outfits you make so it’s interesting to see a little more behind the scenes too.

  2. That is fantastic! I think it’s wonderful that you can make buckram for yourself. I know that it can be very costly making the beautiful things that you do, and this is a great, frugal idea. Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party, Lina. I really appreciate your support. Hope you are having a lovely weekend!

  3. Has this been tried for rebinding books? I’ll go ahead and try it, but am wondering if anyone else has tried it and to what effect.

  4. Hi there I have been trying this method but I’m curious about the measurement 4 tablespoon of starch to 1 cup water just gets super thick when cooked am I cooking too long I’m doing it in a pot is that OK it’s not becoming clear I must be doing something wrong please help

    1. Hi, yes, the starch solution gets super thick! 😉 However, if it gets too thick, you can add more water. Have you used level tablespoons? And I’m cooking it in a pot too. Hope this helps! 🙂

  5. Does buckram remain stiff with washing? Some of our sunbonnets are loaned to new volunteers, and staff bonnets are worn daily for the purposes the bonnets were intended (gardening, tending livestock, etc.), so they do need washed occasionally.

    Thank you!

    1. No, it doesn’t remain stiff, you have to starch it again after washing. But you can stiffen the sunbonnets with cording or removable cardboard slats instead. Both were used in the Victorian era to stiffen sunbonnets.

  6. Thank you! It’s July 2021 and you can’t find much buckram, it’s not being made in the US any more. It’s pretty pricey for narrow stuff so I’ll be making my own… Which is cool, another layer of handmade. 😃

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