We go through a lot of glue here. I usually pick up several bottles of it when I find a good sale, but even so, there are a few issues I have with bottled glue. First of all, it can be really challenging for little people to use it – the bottles are sometimes really hard to squeeze, they accidentally twist the top closed, and get frustrated, it is tricky for the twos to apply the glue exactly where they want to, and with clear glue the 2′s have a tough time seeing where they’ve applied it. Now I know all of these challenges provide opportunities for learning, and for fine motor development, and that’s great, but when you’re sitting in a circle of four or five 2′s and 3′s, the frustration can put a bit of a damper on things.
Remember those little bottles of clear, amber glue when we were kids? The ones with the rubber duck-beak kind of nozzle, that we would simply stamp on our paper to apply the glue? Can you get those any more? Man, I’d love some of those.
Anyway, for a while now, I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have a good sized pot of glue that they could just dip craft sticks or paint brushes into to make their crafting a little easier. I tried making glue a while back with flour and water and a couple of other ingredients, and I stored it in the fridge in a dish soap bottle, but it quickly separated, and I wasn’t thrilled with the consistency.
I found the following recipe the other night, and thought it might be better as it calls for cornstarch (corn flour in the UK) instead of flour.
We tried it out yesterday when we made our Easter eggs with coloured rice, and I’m happy to say it worked really well for that project.
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoons white vinegar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup cold water
Mix water, syrup and vinegar in small saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. In small bowl, mix cornstarch and cold water. Add this mixture slowly to first mixture. Stir constantly. Let stand overnight before using.
*I will say that I had a moment of fleeting disappointment when I checked my glue after letting it stand over night. It had kind of solidified into a thick gel. I just added a tbsp or so of water, and gave it a stir until it was back to the consistency I was happy with. Maybe I should have put a lid on it when it sat overnight instead of leaving it uncovered?
I added a bit of blue food colouring, so the youngest Hooligans would be able to tell where they’d applied it, and I thought a bit of colour would look fun. If you’re going to do this, you don’t need much colour. I probably added too much, as the colour is still noticeable when the glue dries. Start with a drop and add more if needed – until your glue is just barely tinted.
I’m storing mine in a little tub with a large opening so it’s easy to dip into with a craft stick. When we used our glue yesterday, to decorate some eggs with our rainbow rice. It had been about 4 days since I’d made the glue, and the consistency was still great. I just shook the tub before I opened it. This glue doesn’t dry as quickly as store bought glue, but we always craft in the morning here, and it was dry by afternoon, so that works for us.
*I’m sorry that I can’t tell you how long this will keep for. I would recommend keeping it in the fridge to prevent it from going mouldy. Someone mentioned to me that it should keep 6 months if you refrigerate it, but I don’t know for sure. I do know that within a week of keeping mine at room temperature, mould developed around the lid, so I’m refrigerating my next batch.