Wheat paste is a mixture of flour, sugar, water, and sometimes glue, depending on how sticky you would like your mixture to be. Wheat paste has been being used since the 19th century and can be used for many different things including: bookbinding, decoupage, paper mache, flyposting, and collage work. It acts as a clear adhesive that will quickly and cleanly apply paper to most surfaces.
Back in the 19th century people used it for posting flyers, circus bills, propaganda, and posters of that nature. It wasn’t until the end of the 20th century that people could buy their own mixture instead of having to make their own. Since then people still continue to create their own wheat paste to hang up posters, prints, ads, propaganda, street art. etc.
Creating wheat paste is just a basic chemical bonding process using heat as the constant variable to from the molecule bonds together. By properly adding the correct amount of ingredients you can create the perfect bonds creating a high-grade paste that won’t hurt the environment.
First, we will need some materials. For making wheat paste you will need, water, flour, sugar, a hot plate or stove to boil water (H2O) on, and a pan to boil water in. After the wheat paste is made you will need an airtight container to pour it in, a brush to apply the paste to your design, and a surface to apply the design to. After we have all over our materials, the first thing you want to do is boil one cup of water. While the water it starting to boil place 3 tablespoons of flour into a bowl, add 10 teaspoons of cool water until it makes a runny mix and stir well.
Now that we have our mix made and the water is boiling, add the mix of flour to the boiling water and make sure to keep stirring. Keep stirring constantly for about two minutes or until you see that everything has been fully mixed together. It is important to keep stirring so that the paste does not clump up. By string constantly this wont allow the molecules to settle much like the boiling water.
Once everything is mixed together take your boiling water off of heat. Once cooled add two tablespoons of sugar (sucrose), the sucrose will add to the stickiness of the paste and help the flour and water mix.
By this point you should be having a mixture that looks something like this…..
[shot of wheat paste]
Depending on how strong you would like your paste to be you can add a couple of extra ingredients. Wood glue or wallpaper paste both make for good extra ingredients.
Let the paste cool for a bit and then pour into a container.
Once you have your paste put into an airtight container and place into refrigerator until you are ready to use.
Once you have your design or poster you want to hang ready, grab your wheatpaste and you are ready to begin application.
While wheatpaste is an adhesive, not all adhesives want to stick to every surface. Metal or concrete are both surfaces that are easy to apply wheatpaste too, while wood and plastic are not ideal. Place your poster on the surface you wish to apply it too. Starting at the bottom, take a brush covered in wheatpaste and start painting over the poster from side to side, bottom to top.
Depending on what type of paper you are using is also important! Light/thin papers such as newspaper work well because they can be dipped into the paste and then stuck up like a sticker. You will need to flatten and press the poster onto the wall though, to assure that it will stay. Heavier papers will need more paste to stay up and are usually not dipped.
After you have gotten the poster onto the firmly on the surface, let the paste dry, oxygen will harden the paste and make it stick almost permanently.
Now you’re done!