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How to Make a Tutu Stiff

Susan Moore/Demand Media

A ballerina tutu usually consists of a snug bodice and several layers of tulle fabric gathered tightly in a frilly dance skirt. The stiffness of the tulle layers of a tutu depends upon the tulle. Get an idea of how stiff the tulle is by looking at the “denier.” A higher denier number indicates stiffer tulle, while a lower denier number means softer tulle. You can make a tutu stiff by treating the tulle carefully with a spray stiffener.

Things You'll Need:

  • Spray Lacquer Or Fabric Stiffener
  • Clothespins
  • Clothes Hanger
Susan Moore/Demand Media

Turn the tutu upside down so that the bottom-most layer of tulle is on top. Attach clothespins to the lower Basque (the fabric portion under the tulle) and attach the clothespins to the clothes hanger.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Spray the underside of the bottom frill of tulle with spray lacquer or fabric stiffener. Hold the spray can or bottle about 8 to 12 inches away from the tulle fabric.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Allow the spray to dry until the tulle feels dry to the touch.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Spray the center frills of tulle with the spray lacquer or fabric stiffener and let it dry completely.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Spray the top frills of tulle with the stiffening product. Allow the tulle to dry completely while hanging upside down.

Susan Moore/Demand Media

Store the tutu by hanging it upside down.


Dry clean or hand wash a tutu with warm or cold water after wearing it three or four times. After hand washing, air dry the tutu upside down. Use a hand steamer to remove wrinkles before stiffening tulle, if necessary.


  • Avoid ironing tulle because the heat from an iron can easily melt tulle fabric. Spray the tulle carefully to avoid contacting the lower Basque and bodice fabric with the stiffening product.
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