Paper Mache Paste Recipe #1: PVA Glue
Mix equal amounts of PVA glue (e.g. Elmer’s Glue-All) and water. I like to apply this with a paint brush: Use a brush to apply some glue mixture to your form, place a strip of newspaper over it, and then brush more glue mixture on top of the paper.
Paper Mache Paste Recipe #2: Flour (wheat)
This is what most people use for paper mache. It’s cheap and easy to make. Put some white flour in a bowl and stir in enough water to make the mixture the consistency of heavy cream.
Paper Mache Paste Recipe #3: Cornstarch
This is an inexpensive gluten-free option. In a saucepan, stir 3 tablespoons (30 g) cornstarch into 1 ¾ cup (420 mL) cold water. Heat on medium heat until it boils, stirring occasionally. Turn down the heat and stir constantly until it is done thickening (about a minute – don’t overcook it). Allow it to cool. Store the paste in the refrigerator when you are not using it. It will gel into a solid mass when it gets cold. To soften it, scoop out the amount you want to use, warm it up, and mash it with a fork. Use your fingers to smash any lumps that make it onto the form. You may prefer to make up a new batch each time you need it to avoid having to deal with the lumps.
This paste works well for gluing paper and cardboard together. It can also be used to temporarily baste fabric together instead of pinning or using expensive sewing glue sticks or wash away basting tape. It works best on natural fibers. Use your iron it to dry it quickly. It will wash out of fabric.
Use your fingers or a flat stick to apply the paste. Store it in the refrigerator.
2 tablespoons (30 mL or 20 g) cornstarch
5 ounces (1/2 cup + 2 Tbs or 150 mL) cold water
1 Tbs (15 mL) vinegar (optional – helps it store longer without spoiling)
Put the cornstarch into a room temperature cooking pot. Add a little of the water and stir out the lumps. Add the rest of the water.
Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it starts to thicken, start stirring constantly. As soon as it starts to boil, turn down the heat and keep stirring for 1 minute. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Some of the things you can use home made laundry starch for are starching clothes, stiffening fabric for quilting, basting pockets in place before stitching, and taming curly cotton jersey knits.
Laundry starch is typically made from cornstarch, but you can also use other types of starch. I tried cornstarch, potato starch, and tapioca starch. Of these three types, cornstarch makes the stiffest starch. To baste fabric together, use a heavy starch made from cornstarch or potato starch. If you don’t want layers fabric to stick together, use tapioca starch; it’s not as sticky. If you experiment with other types of starch, I’d like to hear how it worked.
You can either mix the starch in water, spray it on your fabric, and cook it right on your fabric with your clothes iron, or you can pre-cook the starch. Some people have better results with the cooked starch when starching clothing. I’ve had no trouble with raw starch.
Commercial laundry starch has additives to make it slippery. This stuff doesn’t. Let the starch soak into your fabric for a while – it will help the keep the starch from sticking to your iron. To iron starched fabric, place a towel or protective cloth over your ironing board. Set your iron to the wool setting (about 300°F / 148°C). If the iron is too hot, it will scorch the starch, so be sure to test it on a scrap of starched fabric or in an inconspicuous place first. Hold the iron down in one spot for a few seconds until the fabric is most of the way dry, then lift it and move to the next spot. If your iron sticks to the fabric, gently twist the iron back and forth to loosen it.
To clean your iron, turn the heat all the way up and iron over an old wet towel. This doesn’t get all of the build-up off, so occasionally you may need to use commercial iron cleaner to completely clean the iron. You may also want to dedicate an old iron for starching, rather than gumming up a good iron.
Store any unused starch in the refrigerator. I prefer to make small batches so I don’t have to worry about it spoiling.
Experiment with the amount of starch to use in the recipes – these are only starting points.
Use raw starch in a spray bottle.
For each cup (240 mL) of water, use
1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) starch for light starch
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) starch for medium starch
1 teaspoon (5 mL) starch for heavy starch
Put the starch and water in a spray bottle and shake it up. That’s it. Shake the bottle frequently as you use it.
It is best to dip fabric or garments in cooked starch rather than try to spray it on. Unlike raw starch, it doesn’t spray very well. I find it comes out in a stream rather than a spray and clogs up my spray bottle.
For each pint (480 mL) of cold water, use
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) starch for light starch
1 teaspoon (5 mL) starch for medium starch
2 teaspoons (10 mL) starch for heavy starch
For each gallon (3.8 L) of cold water, use
1/4 cup (40 g) starch for light starch
1/2 cup (80 g) starch for medium starch
3/4 cup (120 g) starch for heavy starch
Put the starch in a cooking pot. Pour a little of the water into the starch, sir out the lumps, then add more water until about half of the water is in the pot. Heat on medium heat, stirring occasionally. When it starts to thicken, start stirring constantly. When it starts to boil, turn down the heat and boil for 1 minute while stirring. Turn off the heat and mix in the rest of the water.
To dip fabric or garments in starch, wet your fabric or garment with plain water, wring it out, put it in the starch mixture and swish it around. If you have more garments or pieces of fabric to starch, wring out the first one, then put the next one in. For small pieces of fabric or a single garment, squeeze out the liquid, then roll it in a towel. For larger pieces of fabric or several garments, put them in the clothes washer and set the washer to spin only. Use a low speed spin cycle to retain more of the starch.
Either let the fabric or garment air dry until it is only damp, or put it in the dryer and take it out while it is still damp. Put a towel or protective cloth over your ironing board. Iron the fabric or garment until it is dry with an iron set to the wool setting.