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Make your own glue

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There are literally hundreds of recipes out there for making your own glues, many left over from the days, not so long ago, when people had no choice but to make their own. Some recipes can be for very specific uses, such as collagen glue for marquetterie (*), or a special formula designed for attaching paper labels to skeletons. Some glues are made with flour, some are milk based, others work thanks to natural or synthetic gums. I've seen one recipe which called for mistletoe, another for fresh blood, but you'll have to read to the end of this instructable to discover my favorite secret ingredient....

I have included here a small sample of these recipes -- but I'd like to reassure the folks at Gorilla glue: although really fun to make, these glues won't cut into your market share. Commercial glue still beats the homemade variety for convenience, strength and even cost -- with the possible exception of step #1, paper paste for large scale collage projects.


(*) boil deer hooves and antlers with some lime in rain water for a couple days, apply hot.
 
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Step 1: Traditional paper paste

If you've got a big paper pasting project going on (large group collage project, science fair display poster, etc) it is much easier and cheaper to cook this up rather than use white glue or rubber cement.

Ingredients:
1/3 cup wheat flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup water
1/2 tsp alum powder (optional preservative -- not necessary if the glue is for immediate use)

Mix flour and sugar. Gradually add water while stirring vigorously to prevent lumps.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, till the paste is clear. Remove from heat and stir in the optional alum.

Spread over paper or cardboard with a paintbrush. Press and smooth paper to be glued before the paste dries.

Store in a covered glass jar. This will keep for several weeks without refrigeration.
NotAPot2PN3 months ago

Belsey, this was amusing and helpful. And I love old books of formulae, too - leather conditioners, waterproofing for canvas, solutions to clean up fossil and mineral specimans, inks for pens made of feather shafts or bamboo, plaster for sculpting, determining the number of gallons of water required to fill the fish pond one has just dug and so on, so thank you for the Henley book. Now, if only you could give me a magic recipe for instant. delicious, Swiss RACLETTE,(w/potatoes & cornichon), I could die a happy old woman. Chubbier than pre-raclette, but happier by far.

cutie1524 months ago
:)
14, 2:08 AM.jpg
cutie1524 months ago
It is cool
cribey3 years ago
Hi!
Great info and find ~ thank you!!


I have some questions about this snail glue:

1. is it biodegradable?
2. can I put it in my compost?
3. does it glue wood?
4. is it poisonous to humans once set?
5. if i constantly run water over it will it degrade?
6. if it degrades from water and agitation, is it poisonous?

Thanks you for your replies to my questions
Clive
belsey (author)  cribey1 year ago
So sorry, I didn't see your questions till now... Not sure which recipe you're asking about, but here you go:
1.yes
2.yes
3. water resistant one might, but it's not super strong and depending on the stress the bond might not too durable. I did use it to glue tiles to cork a few years ago, and my coaster is still in great shape -- but I wouldn't use it for construction.
4. no
5. yes. It is somewhat water resistant but not completely and durably waterproof
6. not poisonous, ever, unless you make a whole jar, let it sit for months and then drink it when it's moldy and smelly.

OK, just saw you were asking about the snail glue, the only one I did not test. I think all my replies are still correct though I can't be 100% positive about the poison questions. I have eaten snails many times and I'm fine, though my sister once threw up on me after eating about a dozen of them (she was 8 at the time). I think it's the absurd amount of butter in the sauce which made her sick though, not the stuff in the snail's bladder.
Let me know if you ever try this!
Thanks a ton for the link. That's a great resource!
SUDHA212 years ago
HEY i want to ask that whether the glue which u made frm gelatin is biodegradable or not.
belsey (author)  SUDHA212 years ago
Yes it is.
badart2 years ago
Very Cool, as a sustainable artist will refer to this often. My favorite ingredient is GLUE!!!

Badartworld.com
thanks friend .... it s really nice . i made and used it for glueing papers . i lie it :)
i ll try it ... i think it s not water proof.. no problem... because i ll use it for gluing papers :)
You could use it for cake decorating.

How often do those carefully planned smarties fall out?
enisdogru3 years ago
It's not waterproof.I tried.
belsey (author)  enisdogru3 years ago
I tried it too, but for an item which required water resistance -- I didn't soak it in water for any length of time, so I believe you if you say it isn't water PROOF. I'll revise the heading and call is water RESISTANT instead. Thanks for the feedback!
I don't know why you would put milk in it, but gelatin works with the same principle as hide glue. It isn't waterproof, but it is heat resistant. Hot water is likely your problem.

Hide glue works by dehydration. As the water in it evaporates it pulls whatever it's sticking to together. If you rehydrate it, obviously it will fall apart again. Of course in most cases it will need to soak a while, or be steamed, which is likely what happened to the coffee mug if it wasn't the milk.
Milk is used for waterproofing but did anyone try to do it?
Is that strong enough for water resistance?
belsey (author)  TragicSnowfall3 years ago
I believe it's the milk which make this glue waterproof: cassein molecules are hydrophobic, so they repel the water and prevent the gelatin from absorbing moisture and loosing its adhesive power.
On the other hand, heating up this glue softens it, so it follows logically that it's the heat which made the cup fall apart. Of course water might have contributed to weakening it, but my guess is it would come apart in the microwave oven too. Next time I break a mug I'll test that theory.
To be fair, I wouldn't recommend drinking out of a broken mug anyway. If the sealant is cracked it could potentially release chemicals that may not exactly be healthy. Just a heads up.

Of course if the sealer isn't cracked, by all means, have at it.
theklink3 years ago
why?
belsey (author)  theklink3 years ago
Why climb a mountain? Because it's there, and you can, and it's fun. In the case of glue, it can also be practical. You might run out of glue right when you need it, and it's good to know that with a little milk, baking soda and vinegar you can finish the job.
Will ants eat my glue? Just making sure they wouldn't bite me. Anyways it is good stuff dude.
belsey (author)  aquarian_xxx3 years ago
That's a good point... they might like the paste or the mucilage glue. If you use alum in the paste it should deter them. You can also put in a few drops of wintergreen oil (as preservative and repellent) but I can't stand the root beer smell so I don't bother with it. Also most of those large scale paper projects are usually disposable (you can only keep giant paper castles so long...) and in those cases pests aren't much of a consideration.
Well done! You've got a very easy-to-read, entertaining writing style, and the pics are excellent! And the best part is your enthusiastic plug for Henley's book! I immediately downloaded the e-book version. Thanks!
rimar20003 years ago
Thanks for sharing the recipes! They seem very good!

I was looking for a very low strength adhesive to attach plastic on plastic. It should be something like with 3M sticky notes that come off without damaging the paper. Maybe that book has something...
belsey (author)  rimar20003 years ago
It won't have anything designed for plastic, because at the time it was written celluloid was the only one around. But it does have an astounding number of glue recipes, one of which might suit your purpose.
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