Introduction: Wheatpaste

Wheatpaste is a very simple glue that will cost you under a buck a gallon to make. It's just flour and water. The main advantage of wheatpaste is not only its cost, but if you need large quantities of glue, you probably already have everything you need in your kitchen. No need to run to the store and buy anything.

Step 1: Background (skip to Recipe Below)

There are lots of different ratios for flour to water posted online, but people who make it in large batches, and actually know what they're doing for recommend a ratio of flour to water 1:4.
(As in one cup flour and 4 cups water.) This ratio is suitable for glue, and when dry it will appear fairly clear, so it is the ratio I will use.

Wheatpaste is known to be just as strong as diluted white glue (stronger than straight glue) when used on paper or pours materials.

White flour is recommended over whole wheat flour, although whole wheat can be used. Whole wheat contains all parts of the wheat: fiber, protein, and endosperm. White flour has been processed to contain only the endosperm which is almost entirely starch.

Step 2: Basic Recipe

Combine 1 part flour to 4 parts water in a large saucepan.
Whisk constantly to prevent chunks from forming.
Heat to just below a boil until it has reached the desired consistency.

The glue can now be used immediately. If you plan to use your glue when it has cooled, be sure to make the glue a little thinner than you want it, because it will thicken up. Also, glue feels a lot less disgusting on your hands when it's not cold.

You should use the glue soon, because un-dried glue will start to smell after a couple days if nothing is added to prolong its shelf life.

Step 3: Adding Things

Wheatpaste will work completely fine with just flour and water, some say you can achieve better properties in the glue by adding things, but others argue against adding anything to it, therefore I cannot confirm or disprove the flowing, it is simply all the comments from wheatpaste recipes online rolled together:

Salt: one spoonful or more of salt per 1/4 gallon will increase the shelf life of unused glue, and dismiss any chance of the glue rotting while drying. People also use it in freezing temperatures to lower their glues freezing point, but some say it but increases dry time exponentially, especially in the cold. Add anytime as long as it dissolves.

Sugar: two spoonfuls or more of sugar per 1/4 gallon will make the glue "stickier" when wet, and could increase dry strength due to the crystalline structure of glucose, but most say it is completely unnecessary. I think it slightly caramelizes to help thicken the mixture. Add near end of heating to prevent carmalization.

Cinnamon/Peppermint extract: 5 drops per 1/4 gallon will make the unused glue rot slower, allowing it to keep for several weeks. Add any time.

Alum: one spoonful per 1/4 gallon will also make the glue rot slower, allowing it to keep for several weeks. Possibly a thickening agent as well. Add near end of heating.

Vinegar: one spoonful per 1/4 gallon is also known to make the glue rot slower, allowing it to keep for several weeks. Also known to increase the durability of the dry wheatpaste. Add near end of heating.

Borax: two spoonfuls per 1/4 gallon may help reduce the smell while the wheatpaste is wet. May also change consistency for the better. Add near end of heating.

Glue: Adding glue or a powdered glue such as wallpaper paste MAY strengthen the glue, but also add to the cost. Wallpaper paste is sometimes know to be weaker than wheatpaste. Don't add too much or the glue will be too thick and wont soak into pores. Add near end of heating.

Sawdust: Sawdust added to almost any glue will increase it's gap-filling ability. Could be used to make molds. I made a cardboard sawdust putty with wheatpaste in my Cardboard Lumber instructable. Add any time.

Step 4: Microwave Wheatpaste

If you don't want to bother cleaning a sticky saucepan, or don't have access to a stove, small batches of wheatpaste (suitable for an entire paper mache project) can be made in the microwave:

Use 1 part flour with 4 parts water in a Mason jar or any other microwave-safe container.
Microwave for a minute at a time until it reaches the right consistency.
Whisk the mixture very well in between minutes to prevent chunkiness.

Once the glue gets ever so slightly thicker, microwave for less than 30 seconds at a time, because the glue thickens exponentially fast.

Step 5: Uses...

Wheatpaste will glue any porous paper to another with ease and dry to a rock-hard finish. It will also stick to many other porous materials such as concrete and wood. You can apply wheatpaste with a paintbrush, foam brush, roller, or just a piece of cardboard will work fine. Like all glues, apply only a very thin coat to both materials and stick together for best strength. If you are doing anything like paper mache, soaking your pieces in wheatpaste and using them will create help create very rigid structures. The glue will harden fairly quickly (an hour or two), but the paper will still be very wet for at least one day. A fan can speed up the process.

Examples:
graffiti posters (link to Stencil Revolution forum, they have a nice discussion on wheatpaste)
paper mache (happens to be the only other instructable with a wheatpaste recipie)
decoupage (nice for covering tables)
collage

Please rate this instructable and ask any questions you have.

Comments

author
DaveH182 made it! (author)2016-11-17

I made it using 1/4 cup of flour, 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar. It gives it extra starch and strength.

author
ShilpaAtwaal made it! (author)2016-05-27

looks easy, i want to
make one for myself

author
JonathanT85 made it! (author)2016-04-30

Is the paste comparable to pancake batter?

What would the
least thickness resemble, without losing too much strength? Like rice or
soy-milk?

I'm trying to push it trough a contractor handpump deck
sprayer.

Will straining it a few times after it cools ruin the
strength? If so, how bad? I know there's a slime factor, so I'm trying
to tweak this part.

(just 4 kicks | Has anyone ever tried using
blended white rice, as a replacement or experimenting?)

Future G-Lookz to
any feed back...

author
MAN OF MERR made it! (author)2016-03-27

i made 3 small batches (around a cup of water and a quarter cup of flour), using the microwave. I found that 1 minute increments were too long, and would recomend half minute increments.

I unfortunately made my first batch too thick, so i added some vinegar, which smells strongly. I recomend putting it in a ziplock bag. If i remember, i'll update how long it lasts.

The second batch was also thick, but i added probably 1/4 to 1/2 another cup to thin it, and when i was happy with the consistency, i put it back in for 10 seconds (not sure it that makes a difference) and did not add anything to it.

The third batch i made was a little different. i put 1 and 1/4 cups of water to 1/4 cup of flour (5 parts water to 1 part flour) and did find that i spent a little more time heating, but this one seemed to turn out the best consistency, which made me add some vinegar in the hopes that it really will make it last longer.

This is a great instructable, so thanks to both the author and the commenters who added to the instructable.

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author
MAN OF MERR made it! (author)MAN OF MERR2016-03-27

i just tried to apply the batches to paper, and my first (and thickest by far) batch has the consistency of thick porridge. Interestingly enough, while the water content is certainly less, there is still some in there, and i was able to apply it by rubbing it in/onto the paper. While this doesnt really meet my current needs, i can envision a paste like this being usefull in other things.

author
MAN OF MERR made it! (author)MAN OF MERR2016-03-28

Its the next day, and the first batch remains the same. The second batch seemed to seperate a little, but i stirred it and it was fine. i dont know if this is normal, or if it affects the functionality of the glue. The third batch also seperated, although it was much more noticable, probably do to the extra water. It also has not thickened any since last night. i believe for my use, this thin solution is ideal, but im not yet sure how strong it is once dried. Ill update when i know more.

author
MAN OF MERR made it! (author)MAN OF MERR2016-04-02

its april 2, and the second batch has become a smelly bioweapon. The first and third batches remain the same consistency, and smell mildly of vinegar, which they did the day i made them. At a later date, i will probably try salt as a additive, and will update if i do.

author
VintageVera made it! (author)2015-10-11

OMG, you two! Image of me tearing my hair out! Stop with the grammar issues. I went on here to find out recipe for wheat glue and found it. Thank you.

author
summation made it! (author)2009-06-09

Thanks for aggregating all the info into one place! You may want to proofread though :)

author
theRIAA made it! (author)theRIAA2009-06-09

typo.. where?

author
snoyes made it! (author)snoyes2009-06-10

It's boorish to be this pedantic, but since you asked... not only it's cost -> its cost skip to recipie below -> recipe There is a lot of different ratios -> There are the people that make it in -> the people who Basic Recipie -> Recipe to prolong it's shelf life -> its shelf life disprove the flowing, it it simply -> the following, it is

author
Brit4Shains made it! (author)Brit4Shains2009-06-11

Being boorishly pedantic... I'd like to correct 2 of the corrections... In both cases, since the subject of the sentence is the wheatpaste (it), it is perfectly correct to state "it's" since the cost and the shelf life are related to "it". "It's" is not only a contraction for "it is" (which I agree is often misused) but can also be used to show possession, which the author did properly.

author
summation made it! (author)summation2009-06-11

actually, you're incorrect here. "it's" should not be used to show possession. Here's a quick test you can use to check which one should be used: Try replacing "it's" with "it is" in the sentence. If it sounds wrong, change it to "its"

author
Bad Bunny Girl made it! (author)Bad Bunny Girl2015-02-14

An even easier trick is to substitute the words "his" or "hers". Both of those words are possessive... and so is "its".

He's and She's are both contractions... and so is "it's".

author
MikeBiggs made it! (author)MikeBiggs2009-07-30

I was a little confused on this point so to clarify. In nearly all cases the apostrophe can be used to signify possession, however in order to stop any confusion between "it" and "it is" "its" is the exception to this rule. You've gotta' love the english language, its got a rule for everything and an exception for every rule!

author
snoyes made it! (author)snoyes2009-07-30

ahem - it's got a rule...

author
MikeBiggs made it! (author)MikeBiggs2009-07-30

.... How embarrassing. Ahh well, such is life!

author
emilygraceking made it! (author)emilygraceking2010-01-31

 ahem - it has a rule...

author
b1russell made it! (author)b1russell2010-02-12

So totally off-topic - but how lovely to find that I'm not alone in my "grammar Nazi-ism" (nice to note that my kids noticed my attempts to correct their grammar - spelling was a waste)!

By the way, theRIAA, thanks a BUNCH for the wheatpaste recipe - and including uses for it!

author
NikkiHoward69 made it! (author)NikkiHoward692009-06-17

Sorry, please check your grammar source. "it's" is Always IT IS. The easiest way to remember is- "The cat lost its tail." See, there's no "tail" or rather no apostrophe. The other way to remember is to try to say "it is" wherever you have placed the apostrophe. Can you say, "The cat lost it is tail"? Nope, not really. ;-) Yes, grammar IS my life. LOL Or at least a part of it!!

author
snoyes made it! (author)snoyes2009-06-11

I find nowhere that "it's" may be used to show possession. The American Heritage Dictionary and Strunk's Elements of Style are both quite clear that "its" is the possessive, and "it's" is only a contraction for "it is" or "it has"

author
theRIAA made it! (author)theRIAA2009-06-10

thanks

author
LemonBird made it! (author)2015-01-23

Thanks for the recipes. Made some paste in the microwave: convenient and easy to clean up :) I used a glass jar with a lid, and instead of whisking, I just put the lid on and shook it up (while wearing oven mitts from IKEA).

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author
BrideOf9Spiders made it! (author)2014-11-23

I used whole wheat for my wheat paste so it obviously came out brown. Will this effect my image when I use the paste? Should I have added more water than usual? I added an extra cup, so the ratio was actually 1:5, but it still seems thick. I feel like the brown paste is just going to cover my image.

author
PaulT6 made it! (author)2014-09-26

A fantastic tutorial! Thanks for taking the time to create it. I’ve added your site onto our page ‘Book Binding Tutorial: Glues – Tips, Techniques, Types & Recipes’ – http://www.ibookbinding.com/blog/bookbinding-glui...

Keep up the good work and again, many thanks for taking the time to write this!

Have a good rest of the day,
Paul

author
Derek Scott Customs made it! (author)2013-11-21

Once it is used, for example, to make cardboard lumber, does it ever go bad? Or is it sort of once it dried it is good?

author
ripfx made it! (author)2013-03-15

I use this paste (or have used a commercial version in stage craft for years. Making a batch with this recipe to see if it will replace the commercial stuff which is no longer available. The two differences that I can see now are; 1) commercial paste does not have to be heated and 2) I will have to see how this mix works when saturating fabric to glue to wooden pieces. I will post the results of tests. Thanks for posting the recipe and thanks to whoever posted the additives too!

author
Big jermini made it! (author)2010-09-24

nice 'ible. One question though. Are there any other ingredients that can be added to this to make it stronger? I mean something that everybody, or at least most people would have in the house.

To all grammar Nazis: Most of us dont really care. i speak it. u understand it. thats all that really matters.

Huked on fonicks werked fer mee!

author
Loganeg made it! (author)Loganeg2012-04-19

I know this is an old comment but ill post this for the sake of everyone. It's from BombingScience. These additives are mostly for street art poster...

Here are some good things to add to your paste to increase its performance....ADD THESE WHEN PASTE HAS COOLED DOWN TO ROOM TEMPERATURE AND NOT WHILST IT IS STILL HOT!!!

White Sugar or Corn Starch: Add about a handful of either to your paste when cooled for added stickiness/strength!

Wood Glue: Add LAST MINUTE (in other words, add it in the paste right before you leave to go paste....i'd say add 1 parts Wood Glue for every 5 parts paste......it helps increase its strength, and makes it more waterproof....

Minwax Polyacrylic: An idea of my own...like Polyurethane, it creates a stong clear finish....Make it waterproof, and a lot stronger....ADD THIS LAST MINUTE ALSO!!!!

Clove Oil or Witch Hazel: I'd say 10 Drops per 3 cups will keep your paste from molding for longer....i'd say it would extend the shelf life with refrigeration to about 2 weeks tops....good stuff!

http://www.bombingscience.com/graffitiforum/showthread.php?3389-Wheatpaste

author
Weissensteinburg made it! (author)2009-06-08

I'm glad someone finally made one! Never knew you could make it in a microwave... (What's alum?)

author
rimar2000 made it! (author)rimar20002009-06-08

Alum is aluminum sulfate. In Spanish it is alumbre.

author
westfw made it! (author)westfw2009-06-08

"Alum" by itself usually means Potassium Alum or "Potassium Aluminum Sulfate"; I'm not sure if plain Aluminum sulfate counts, but there is also Ammonium Alum and Chrome Alum. Alum used to be a pretty common household chemical, but now it's pretty hard to find, and most likely to show up (overpriced) in a kid's crystal growing set, or as a "natural deodorant crystal"

author
paper sack ideas made it! (author)paper sack ideas2012-04-02

You can buy Alum at most large grocery stores in the spice section. It also works in homemade play dough to help it last longer before spoiling. If you want a lot of it, places that sell fabric dyes will also have it in larger containers, as it is used in some dying processes.

author
tevers94 made it! (author)tevers942009-06-09

lol... very descriptive. yo tengo muy durme. i think i said that right. and yes im tired

author
batonas made it! (author)2011-07-19

any kind of flour or starch can be used for this glue, starch is released from the flour when heated in water, I have used this glue with paper and its actualy better than white glue and mutch more cheaper.

author
JohnJY made it! (author)2010-07-02

Is wheat-paste graffiti permanent?

author
stibler10 made it! (author)stibler102010-08-06

it sticks to walls and such pretty bloody good but if you were to come along with a sand blaster you're pretty screwed :)

author
adsandy made it! (author)2010-06-27

Could I link to this page in one of my upcomming instructables?

author
kzaaaaa made it! (author)2010-02-26

Another use for this, and my personal favorite, is to tar and feather someone. Since this doesn't stain and tar does (plus, let's be honest, who has tar anymore!?), it's a much less evil way of doing it, though still equally embarrassing!

author
GEEK1 made it! (author)2010-01-05

Will it stick fabric together?

author
a4great made it! (author)2009-12-22

could you not just add something gritty like iron filings or sand and make sandpaper?

author
theRIAA made it! (author)theRIAA2009-12-22

maybe to epoxy, but this wont hold.

author
a4great made it! (author)a4great2009-12-23

oh.....(sad face)

author
nrrrdmom made it! (author)2009-10-13

what about using wheat starch instead of flour? Do you think it would make a difference?

author
theRIAA made it! (author)theRIAA2009-10-15

I don't know. Assume it would act the same.

author
keikothemeowmeow made it! (author)2009-09-13

Great instructable :) I hope you don't mind me linking to it for an instructable of my own where I will be using wheat paste?

author
theRIAA made it! (author)theRIAA2009-09-19

no problemo.

author
SdaMaster made it! (author)2009-09-18

I used this glue to glue 4 layers of cardboard ogether to make people on a homecoming float worked great

author
ftworavens1 made it! (author)2009-08-23

I make paper mache masks . I have never had to heat up my wheat paste . I have thought about wood glue and a little bit of paint . Is there a reason for heating it up' try this soak newspaper in water .It gets the ink out . Mash it up with your hands until it turns granular . Then add a little bit of flour to it . This makes a cheap form of clay .

author
r0botluv made it! (author)2009-08-09

Don't forget to clean your cooking ware immediately afterward!!! Although not sticky while wet, this is a pain to remove once dry. Save yourself some hassle and clean your pot asap after the glue is mixed. Great tut, I've been searching for that ratio.. THanks!

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