A while back I made some glue, which was great. However it was more along the lines of a great collage paste more than what I would want out of an all purpose glue. I found another recipe in the book, Green Guide For Artists by Karen Michel for glue that I thought I would give a go.


  • 5 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (If you use the packages of Knox Gelatin, this is 2 packets.)
  • 6 Tablespoons of boiling water
  • 2 teaspoons on vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of glycerin
  • a few drops of essential oil to prevent bacteria and mold. I used clove.

Begin by measuring out all your ingredients. Once you get this glue going you will want everything to go. You will also want a jar to put your homemade glue in ready to go. A small mason jar or spice jar is adequate. 


Measured and ready to go!


Bring water to boil.


Add the gelatin. This is also a good time to bring the heat down a bit. Keep stirring until it looks nice and clear. Once that has happened add the vinegar and the glycerin. Take off from the heat and stir together and then add the essential oil. I used clove, but lavender, peppermint, tea tree and rosemary are also great options.


I then poured the glue into an old spiced jar. You can use this as is once it is warm, or let it cool off and store it. When you are ready to use it, warm it slightly until it is a liquid again. I made mine the day before I tested it.


Then I wanted to see how it would respond glueing paper together and also on top of pen, and the paper. 


I used a brush and wiped it over. It did a beautiful job!


Then I wanted to test it over watercolor and gouache for future collaging, or even as a varnish. I am happy to report it spread evenly, dried matte and smells way better than other glues! I will be putting this glue in the rotation and see how it stands the test of time!


It's common for us to need some glue around the household for things here and there. We really need something simple. What we use glue for the most is paper on paper. I wanted to make some from scratch. I will be taking notes on how well this works on various materials, and it's promise of durability. Look at me and my quality control!

I got this recipe after reading Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. She also has a blog, Zero Waste Home on the subject, which is another terrific resource. I like to glance at the book when I feel like I could be doing a better job at reducing our waste.

  • 1/2 cup of boiling water
  • add 1 tablespoon of white flour AND cornstarch

whisk. whisk. WHISK. WHISK. WHISK IT! Put your hips into it and go to town on those lumps! If you have done all that and you still see lumps, that's ok. You can embrace the glue lumps. I did (see above). If yours is lovely and smooth, congratulations you are a master of whisking! 

  • remove from heat
  • add 1 tablespoon of white vinegar
  • mix it. whisk it. blend it all together

Then you are ready to put it a glass container. My old pimento jar was the perfect candidate for the job. Especially since it was about 4 fluid oz of homemade glue.


Then it was time to test the glue, so I found some scraps to get things going.


In the spirit of testing I made a label for the glue. If you were blessed with glue lumps, you can easily work around them. 

Added Note: Since the glue has dried, it did not adhere to the metal lid. 


The above photos are fresh after the gluing session, so they are shiny. It actually has a nice matte finish on the surface when it dries. The experimenting and testing will be continued. Next time I need to make this I aim for it to be lump free. We all have dreams!