How to Make Glue with Natural Ingredients (5 recipes!)

How to Make Glue with Natural Ingredients (5 recipes!)

No matter what project you’re working on, we can show you how to make glue to suit your needs. Try one of these five recipes!

I’m a glue stick addict.

It’s terrible, I know. I can’t imagine a single art supply that uses up more worthless plastic packaging and takes up more landfill space, unless perhaps it’s markers, which are also pretty terrible, but at least markers last longer. My two daughters can use up an entire glue stick during the course of one exuberant art project.

This year, one of my goals has been to regularly use homemade, natural glues in place of store-bought ones. Homemade glue has a lot going for it. You know exactly what’s in it, it’s WAY cheaper, it doesn’t require a ton of plastic packaging, it’s completely effective, and if you run out in the middle of a project, you can just whip up another batch instead of running to the store. Here’s how to make glue using all natural ingredients, and I have five options for all different applications!

I’m thrilled to say that since my experiment has begun, my family hasn’t thrown a single empty glue stick into the trash, and we’ve found some great glue recipes that we all love to use. Below are five of our favorites.

How to Make Natural Glue

1. Homemade Glue

In her round-up of homemade kids’ craft supplies, Maria Dryden links to a homemade glue recipe from Eco Child’s Play that calls for flour, sugar, water, and vinegar. I imagine that you need to use refined white sugar here, not the funky turbinado sugar that I usually bake with, but it was a good recipe to use up the last bit of white sugar that I had to buy to bake birthday cupcakes.

5 Natural Glue Recipes

2. Cornstarch Glue

We have a lot of cornstarch on hand that we use for a multitude of craft and science projects, so I probably use this simple cornstarch glue the most often.

The consistency of cornstarch glue is more like paste than white glue, which makes it best for children’s daily little craft projects and activities.

5 Natural Glue Recipes

3. Envelope Glue

I do make my own envelopes, so I find this lickable envelope glue from Scrapbook.com to be a helpful substitute for the double-sided tape that I used to use.

The glue calls for gelatin, so it’s not vegan, but it also calls for the flavoring extract of your choice, so that you can, if you so desire, make chocolate-peppermint envelope glue.

4. Glue Dots

As a scrapbooker, I’ve been the most thrilled by this tutorial for homemade glue dots, courtesy of The Frugal Crafter.

The tutorial actually calls for store-bought glue, but if you’ve ever shelled out for glue dots, suspecting the whole time that surely you could make these yourself if only you knew how, then you, too, will be thrilled to learn the secret.

My biggest revelation when making homemade glue dots is the realization that they don’t have to be dots anymore–when you make your own, you can make them to be any shape that you need them to be, perhaps following the outline of a specific embellishment that you want to add, or sized to a particular cut-out.

5. Flour-less Glue

Homemade glue recipes are only fun if you actually have the ingredients to make them at home, so here’s another basic glue recipe with some different ingredients: this flour-less glue recipe, courtesy of the Kitchen Pantry Scientist, uses only milk and vinegar.

This flour-less glue isn’t vegan, either, since it requires the casein from animal milk to make it work, but if you don’t have flour, but you did have cereal with cow’s milk for breakfast, then you’re in luck.

Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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  1. These are great, thanks!! I make jewellery using hemp cord and I dap a bit of hypo cement on the ends of the cord so they don’t unravel. Do you have any suggestions for a natural glue that I could use for this that would dry clear?

  2. I do remember something about making glue when I was in school. We won’t even talk about how long that was!! At 66, I do well remembering if I ate today. Thanks so much

  3. Do you know what the life span for the glue is? Does it need to stay refrigerated, will it mold. Flour and casein, sound like they would rot over time. My daughter is looking for an all natural adhesive she can mix with water to make a liquid that would help with dust control. It’s for a science project

    • The thing about natural stuff–food, glue, even stuff like wood and cotton materials–is that they’re not impregnated with artificial preservatives, so yes, in time they will deteriorate. Food-grade items that aren’t chock-full of preservatives are going to mold, for sure. There are, however, natural ingredients that you can experiment with that may provide preservative benefits to your glue. Tea tree oil is an anti-bacterial, but of course it’s an oil, so it’s going to work against the glue. There are also ingredients like salt or vinegar, just to name a couple off the top of my head–anyway, definitely worth the experimentation!

  4. I’m working on a project for a local Candle Company I’m trying to put a lid on a glass jar I have a wood lid I’m trying to use cork for the gasket so I’m needing a all natural glue to glue the cork to the wood

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