If you’re a bookbinder, having a dependable adhesive in your arsenal is crucial. And what could be more fantastic than a wheat paste that is budget-friendly, effortless to create, non-toxic, pH neutral, and organic? Not only does it dry transparent and maintain its flexibility, but it also doesn’t spread as much as the widely used PVA glue. Moreover, it can be used for any type of binding. So, let’s delve into this incredible wheat paste recipe and elevate your bookbinding projects!
What You Should Know About Wheat Paste
Before we begin, let’s quickly go over two vital points to keep in mind:
Gluten: Excessive gluten can attract insects that can damage your books. To prevent this, use cake flour in your wheat paste recipe. It has the lowest gluten levels, making it less appealing to bugs.
Short Shelf Life: Wheat paste can only be stored for 2-4 days in an airtight container. Due to its lack of preservatives, it naturally spoils and molds within a few days. To maximize its lifespan, it’s best to make small batches.
Cooked Wheat Paste Recipe
- 1 cup of cake flour
- 4 cups of distilled water (you can use clean or filtered tap water as a substitute)
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan.
- Cook over medium-high heat, continually stirring with a whisk until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from heat and stir for 3-5 minutes.
- Allow the paste to cool completely to room temperature, stirring every 1-2 minutes.
- Your wheat paste is now ready to use! Any leftover paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days in an airtight container.
If you prefer different methods, here are a couple of alternatives:
Double Boiler over Hot Water: Using a double boiler can enhance the consistency of your wheat paste. Just remember to whisk continuously. Follow the same instructions for use and storage.
Microwave: If you choose to use a microwave, heat it for 2-3 minutes, depending on its strength. Pause and stir every 30 seconds to prevent clumping and bubbling over. Again, follow the same storage instructions.
Tips & Tricks:
For a smooth result, gradually add the flour to cold water while stirring continuously. Once the mixture is well-mixed, turn on the heat.
Alternatively, you can add cold water to a mason jar, then add the flour. Close the jar tightly and vigorously shake it for 1-2 minutes. Transfer it to a cold pan and heat it up. Use a whisk to dissolve any remaining clumps.
If you still have clumps after heating, strain the mixture through a fine strainer.
To extend the life of your paste, consider adding a small amount of PVA (around 1-2 tablespoons per cup of mixture) while the paste is cold. Mix well and keep it covered. This trick, shared by a fellow bookbinder, appears to prolong the storage life by a few extra days.
If you want to delve deeper into bookbinding glues, adhesives, and pastes, check out my comprehensive guide: Know the Difference | Bookbinding Glue.
If you’re new to bookbinding, my New Bookbinder Guide offers helpful information to kickstart your bookbinding journey.
So, what do you think? Which adhesive do you typically use for your bookbinding projects? If you haven’t tried any of these yet, which one are you most likely to use? Share your thoughts with me on Instagram or Facebook!