Article Type Making Art Together Making Art Together Categories Collage Theory and Resources

Homemade Liquid Starch Glue

Meghan Burch

This recipe requires the use of a stove, so it is recommended for adult preparation.

In The Art Studio at The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, we use liquid laundry starch as the adhesive when we offer Tissue Paper Collage projects. We like using the prepared liquid laundry starch because we go through a lot of it and can store it without refrigeration.  If, however, you can’t find liquid laundry starch in the laundry area of your store, or you just prefer to make your own, below is a recipe you can use. Children can assist by measuring the ingredients.

An adult and child work together to create a collage using tissue paper and liquid starch glue.

Tools and Ingredients:

  • Sauce pan
  • Whisk
  • Mason jar or plastic screw-top container
  • 3 Cups cold water
  • 3 Tablespoon cornstarch


  • Put the cornstarch in the sauce pan and first whisk in about ¼ cup of the water to make an even slurry, then whisk in the remaining water
  • Place the pan over medium heat and whisk constantly. When the mixture comes to a boil, take the pan off the heat
  • The starch will thicken as it cools. Transfer it to the screw-top container when it’s no longer hot.
  • Refrigerate the starch when not in use to prevent spoilage. It should keep in the fridge for at least 1 month
  • You can tint your glue by adding food dye or liquid watercolors if you want.

To use the starch adhesive, pour a small amount (a couple of tablespoons worth) into a yogurt container or no-spill paint cup. A stiff-bristled brush works well for tissue paper collage.

This recipe can also be used to make a thicker paste or homemade finger paint. Just cook the starch a little longer past the boil.

A small hand gently places a tissue paper ball onto a paper with glue on it.

My next experiment will be with corn-alternative starches, so if you or your young child are allergic to corn, stay tuned!

Update: 6/27/2018: This is a great homemade recipe for collage paste. We no longer use store-bought liquid laundry starch in the Art Studio and instead use AP certified non-toxic Elmer’s Art Paste. 


Meghan, smiling and wearing a grey shirt with a blue background.

Meghan Burch

Art Educator from 2003-2016, Meghan has a BFA in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She tries to think with materials and work with her hands every day.
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