I both love and detest glue. I love its potential as a tool for crafts – to adhere two or more items together. However, there is a long list of annoying things about glue.
Sometimes it is too wet – damaging the paper or taking too long to dry so the children get frustrated and often give up before they successfully complete their project. Glue is easily spilled and difficult to get it from the container to the spot you want it to be.
Sometimes it is too dry – clogged squeeze bottles, shriveled up glue sticks, glue pots containing rubberized mounds of old glue. I find it nearly impossible to have good glue available for the children to use independently whenever they want it. At least 75% of all the glue I buy gets wasted – thrown out without ever getting used for crafts.
Cleaning up glue is another frustrating task. Using water just thins it out spreading it further and further until the entire table is coated. A dry paper towel sticks to the glue on a table more permanently than any of the craft supplies we tried to attach. Clean-up is more time consuming than set-up and creation combined.
In an effort to find a solution to my issues with purchased glue I’ve tried several homemade glue/paste recipes. Most have failed to provide good results – often easy to work with but the crafts simply fall apart after the glue dries. However, recently I tried this recipe;
• 1 1/2 Cups Water
• 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
• 1 Teaspoon White Vinegar
• 1/2 Cup Cornstarch
Pour 3/4 cup of the water into a medium sized pot along with the corn syrup and vinegar. Bring this mixture to a full boil, stirring often.
While you are waiting for that mixture to boil, mix the remaining cold water and the cornstarch together. Beat well to remove all of the lumps. Slowly stir the water and cornstarch into your boiling mixture, stirring constantly. Bring this mixture to a boil and let it boil for 1 minute. Remove the pot from the heat and let cool.
Once cooled, put the glue in a covered container and wait at least a day before using.
The resulting jelly-like product was easy for even the youngest artists to scoop and spread;
Everyone was impressed by how easy this glue was to work with;
It is so sticky that layers upon layers of papers were quickly adhered together;
Even when only part of the paper touched the glue gravity wasn’t strong enough to release it after it dried – and it dried quickly too;
Stored in a covered container, the homemade glue was still sticky and spreadable the following week but I wasn’t certain how long it would remain ‘good’ so I decided to use all the remainder in our sensory bin. I gathered a bunch of other leftovers – shredded paper, sand, powdered paint, potpourri, etc. The toddlers were curious and examined the dry ‘ingredients’.
I envisioned that once the glue was added we would be able to use the mixture much like clay and form it into shapes. However, the children were hesitant to touch it now.
It was so very sticky that mounds of shredded paper was instantly stuck to the hand of anyone who dared to touch the glue. It was an extreme sensory activity. One by one the children began to mix the items together in the bin – very hesitantly – mostly just trying to bury the glue.
It wasn’t until I added a bit of water that the children became less reluctant to participate. Even then they didn’t really seem to like the incredible stickiness. They were however fascinated by the potpourri – picking out the bigger pieces and peeling apart the layers.
Not what I was expecting but very interesting to watch. Still, the best was yet to come. This glue, as sticky as it seems, cleans up in seconds. I was so very impressed. A quick rinse under running water and it is completely gone! No sticky hands. No messy containers. No residue on the table. Nothing.
Easy to make. Easy to use. Easy to clean up. Wow!