Thursday 16 October 2008

Starch Paste

I’ve just made my self some glue or to be more precise some starch paste. It’s very easy and I’d love to make all my books using homemade starch paste instead of PVA, but the paste only lasts about 3 days in the fridge before starting to grow stuff.
Anyway there are certain things which I just can’t use PVA on, for instance material, so I’ve been saving them all up and I’m going to try and make them all this weekend.

To make starch paste you just need some plain white flour and some water.
Get a bowl and about 2 tea cups of the flour. Add water until you have a dough which, to quote the guy who taught me to make this, 'is of an ear lobe consistency’. Then you fill a small milk pan half full of water and pour that into the bowl with your dough. Knead the dough gently for about 5 minutes – it will have fallen apart by this point and all the starch will be released into the water, the glutton will be at the bottom of the bowl.
Pour your mixture into the milk pan through a sieve to get rid of all the glutton and then comes the tricksy part.
You need to gently heat the mix, while stirring constantly for 10 minutes plus. The longer you heat and stir the better the glue. You must not boil or burn the mix or you have to give up and start again. At about the 10 minute mark the watery mix should start to thicken and if you’ve got it right you end up with a pale looking custard.
Pour it into a container and keep in the fridge.

Depending on the amount of water and how long you heat it will depend on how thick and strong your glue is. And of course this glue is totally safe with children as its just starch.

To use the paste, scoop a bit out of your container and put it on a flat hard surface, a clean baking tray is good for this. Then use a paint brush and brush it out flat. When it doesn’t feel lumpy any more you can use it. Don’t worry if there is the odd lump in the paste – it will dry flat.

Good luck!

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