Picture of 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.
summation6 years ago
Thanks for aggregating all the info into one place! You may want to proofread though :)
theRIAA (author)  summation6 years ago
typo.. where?
snoyes theRIAA6 years ago
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
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.
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"

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".

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!
ahem - it's got a rule...
.... How embarrassing. Ahh well, such is life!
 ahem - it has a rule...
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!
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!!
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"
theRIAA (author)  snoyes6 years ago
LemonBird made it!7 months ago
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).

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.

PaulT611 months ago

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,

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?
ripfx2 years ago
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!
Big jermini4 years ago
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!
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!

I'm glad someone finally made one! Never knew you could make it in a microwave... (What's alum?)
Alum is aluminum sulfate. In Spanish it is alumbre.
"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"
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.
lol... very descriptive. yo tengo muy durme. i think i said that right. and yes im tired
batonas4 years ago
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.
JohnJY5 years ago
Is wheat-paste graffiti permanent?
it sticks to walls and such pretty bloody good but if you were to come along with a sand blaster you're pretty screwed :)
adsandy5 years ago
Could I link to this page in one of my upcomming instructables?
kzaaaaa5 years ago
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!
GEEK15 years ago
Will it stick fabric together?
a4great5 years ago
could you not just add something gritty like iron filings or sand and make sandpaper?
theRIAA (author)  a4great5 years ago
maybe to epoxy, but this wont hold.
a4great theRIAA5 years ago
oh.....(sad face)
nrrrdmom5 years ago
what about using wheat starch instead of flour? Do you think it would make a difference?
theRIAA (author)  nrrrdmom5 years ago
I don't know. Assume it would act the same.
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?
theRIAA (author)  keikothemeowmeow5 years ago
no problemo.
SdaMaster5 years ago
I used this glue to glue 4 layers of cardboard ogether to make people on a homecoming float worked great
ftworavens16 years ago
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 .
r0botluv6 years ago
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!
finfan76 years ago
I used this a few times in my early years. Never cooked it though. What's the difference between cooked and uncooked.
theRIAA (author)  finfan76 years ago
a lot stickier, probably dries harder.
Nice instructional, thank you. I have never done decoupage before and I am wanting to try it. Can this paste be used for decoupage, do you know? Thanks again.
theRIAA (author)  NikkiHoward696 years ago
Yes, but it won't turn out as good as varnish or polyurethane would. But this should dry pretty clear, smooth and hard.
GEEK16 years ago
Does the wheat paste smell or crack over time?
thenormand6 years ago
Argentine recip:
If you want to keep this mix very long without rotten, just ad a spoon of acetic acid (vinegar) and will prevent from bad smeling.
we use this mix to fix political adds during pool campaigns...and we have campaigns almost always!!!!
theRIAA (author)  thenormand6 years ago
thank you, just added it.
GEEK16 years ago
is the glue when applied to paper or cloth strong enough to withstand a 20 feet drop?
theRIAA (author)  GEEK16 years ago
um.... that's like asking if a certain nail is strong enough to hold together a house in a hurricane. Not enough information. If you use it on paper or cardboard properly, the cardboard will rip before the glue.
caitlinsdad6 years ago
Once this glue dries: 1. Is there any powdery residue as it ages and do excess globs flake off? 2. Does this stuff attract bugs when cured? I don't want to build a cardboard couch to find it is a big roach/ant/termite/etc hotel because it draws a crowd from the patio door..
theRIAA (author)  caitlinsdad6 years ago
It drys clear and hard. It feels basically like dried shellac, it wont turn to powder. I haven't had any problems with bugs. I don't think it interests them.
Trebawa6 years ago
I've done this with cornstarch before. I use it for origami, specifically wet-folding; it's important to "size" the paper by coating it with starch before use so it will hold its shape when it dries.
necropolian6 years ago
how much can this glue hold?
theRIAA (author)  necropolian6 years ago
This is quoted everywhere but I can not confirm it:

In 1990, the University of Washington measured the holding power of various adhesives:
Adhesive Peel Test
Rice Paste 7.9 lbs
Wheat Paste 8.1 lbs
White Glue (full strength) 7.5 lbs
White Glue (diluted 1:1 with water) 8.1 lbs

Possibly that is in psi, but basically just as good as white glue.
Traditional scabbard makers for the Japanese Katana formed the scabbard out of two hollowed out halves and glued them together with rice paste.
oke, thank you very much. this information can be put to good use...hmhmhmh...
rimar20006 years ago
Why don't boiled? I always did it boiling, but maybe there are a good reason for don't. My kites, when I was a child, always was made with this wheatpaste.
theRIAA (author)  rimar20006 years ago
you can boil it if you want, but using this ratio, i found once it's boiling it's pretty much done. I just keep it a little lower so I can get the exact consistency I want without overshooting.
cklxzndr6 years ago
flour to water by volume I'm guessing. By weight is most accurate in this case, if you get some die hard replies. I'm a chef... pastry folk always use scales. :)
Yeah...wheatpaste has absolutely no need for accuracy.
theRIAA (author)  cklxzndr6 years ago
no. flour to water by volume. use a knife to get rid of air pockets and lightly level the top. you can change the consistency by cooking longer/shorter so the exact ratio isn't necessary. Especially since the other ratios online vary as much as 1:2 to 1:8
theRIAA (author)  theRIAA6 years ago
also note my "spoonful" measurements... nothing about this recipe is precise. It is not necessary.
omnibot6 years ago
Great instructable! Really well laid out and easy.
theRIAA (author)  omnibot6 years ago