I ran out of glue the other day, my favourite glue that I use to adhere fabric to paper. Not just any glue will work for this purpose as I've discovered the hard way. And the store where I buy it is now closed and it's a glue I can't get at a hardware store.

A search online yielded a number of recipes for homemade glues. They're natural and non-toxic. And fortunately most glues use ingredients we have at home or can easily get at a grocery store. I also found homemade glue recipes for ceramics, porcelain & pottery, for wood, and a waterproof glue.

You have probably tried wheat paste at one time or another (recipe at the end of this post), however reviews indicated that wheat paste doesn't work well for the project I was working on which was to attach burlap to a canvas board.

You see, while doing some cleaning and decluttering I came across a burlap bag I was given when in India in 2011. I had never used it, concerned it would not last well. Nine years later, I decided it was time to do something with it. After a brief search online I chose to reconstruct it into a jewelry hanger: a canvas board is covered in burlap, put into a frame, and hooks added to hang necklaces, bracelets and other bits.

So began the deconstruction of the bag. The front and back would fill most of the frame, and the long strip that gave the bag its depth would run down one side, filling the rest of the space, and part of the handle across the width for an added hanging spot. It was when I started gluing that I realized I was going to run out.

The fabric glue recipe I found suggests its use is for hems, and warns that ironing may cause the glue to weaken and laundering may wash it out. But these didn't apply for my project. Here's the recipe:

Homemade Fabric Glue

12 tbsp. water
4 packets gelatin
4 tbsp. white vinegar
4 tsp. glycerin

Heat the water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Remove from heat, whisking in gelatin and breaking up the clumps. Add the vinegar and glycerin, stirring for 5 minutes - you want a smooth texture. Pour into a mason jar and allow to cool.

This will gel up very well, and I found about 12-15 seconds in the microwave liquified it so it was usable. And even though I discovered the best before dates of the gelatin and glycerin I had on hand were from 3 years earlier, the recipe was successful. I will admit the glue is perhaps not quite as good as the store bought, but when times are tough, this will do just fine, and perhaps because I was using old ingredients. Plus I knew I would be adding hooks that would provide additional cohesion.

This project came together over a couple of days once I had glue on hand. And I have lots left for other projects. The drying time took the longest, as I left each step to dry for several hours. Pretty, and practical too.

Wheat Paste Glue

1/4 cup pastry flour
1-1/8 cups COLD water

Combine flour and water with a whisk, ensuring there are no lumps. Place over low heat, and stir constantly until the first bubble appears as it starts to boil. Keep stirring for another 30 seconds.
If you cook less, it may not thicken, and if you cook after it starts to boil, it will become rubbery. Remove from heat and pour into a mason jar. Add lit and cool in a refrigerator. Recipe can be doubled if you need a lot of glue.

And although I have not tried it, I've read that gluten free flour can be substituted for pastry flour. Alternatively if you have Elmers Glue on hand, try mixing 1 cup glue with 2 cups of cornstarch and 1 cup water.


"Music is full of longing and movement.  Painting should be the same." I read this quote in Hundred and Thousands: The Journals of...