Starch paste is absolutely awesome! It is great because it is so very available, the healthiest glue I know (you can literally eat it) and therefore the best glue to use when crafting with kids. It smells better than most glues, and is – within certain limits – reversable.
I have written about paste several times before: In 2008 I was on a quest to find the best paste, and wrote a series of several posts about my experiments.
In 2009 I wrote two posts about making paste paper, part 1 and part 2. Part 2 contains the actual paste making.
Here is a simpler post just about my paste recipe from the same year. (sorry about the bad shape of the post. I’ll have to work a little to make it better readable. – This as well as the two above are posts that originally appeared on my blog at buechertiger.de, and the move did not involve moving the pictures. But I am working on it…)
Below you’ll find a little video I made while cooking paste.
For those who would rather not watch the video, I have a brief version in words and pictures as well: Above you see the paste cooking on the stove top. I like to use 1 part rice starch and 1 part wheat flour. In any case my recipe is:
1 part flour/starch
4-6 parts cold water
stir together and heat to a boil. Simmer for a couple of minutes. Then fill into a clean glass and let cool. Top up with cold water and store in the fridge. Keeps for several weeks.
Always let the paste cool down completely before you use it. I like my paste fairly thick for storage, and add water before I use it. For this I take a bit of paste out of the glass with a spoon and put it into a separate dish. Then I gradually add water while working the paste with a brush.
You could also push it through a sieve as some recommend. Working it through with a brush has a very similar effect: The hars of the brush work like a sieve and break down small lumps of still stiff paste and works the water right in.
Just to be clear: No sieve and no working with a brush technique will rid you of lumps that were in the paste before cooling down. That’s why you have to be really thorough while cooking to make sure that you don’t have bubbles of still dry flour floating in your water. These lumps are impossible to get rid of.
But working good paste with a brush like this, leaves it creamy and smooth after a while. Then mix with PVA if desired, and you are ready to start gluing.
I hope you enjoyed my little video. Making paste is one of those things that bookbinders and book artists like to speak about. Everyone seems to use one little tweak or other that makes their paste-making personal. Just recently, Cathryn from Byopia Press wrote about her paste recipe. So if you enjoyed this post, why not head over there and see how she makes it. Of course it is essentially the same, and then again a bit different. I am looking forward to hearing about your personal tricks in the comment section!