Search form

The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

Accessibility Information

Visit the carle


Making Art Together

Homemade Liquid Starch Glue

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 refridgeration.  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.

tissue paper collage

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.

Here are some Tissue Paper collages made with Liquid Starch Adhesive:

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. 



We enjoy exploring materials and ideas in the Art Studio, and we’re excited to share our process with you! Please consider the following factors when adapting these posts for your learning environment: 

We facilitate a variety of programs within the Art Studio for a wide range of age groups. Please carefully consider the age appropriateness of each individual activity in your own learning environment.

Our projects are always done with adult supervision and proper safety precautions. Be sure all of your projects are overseen by adults who likewise follow proper safety precautions. The adults overseeing your project must also be responsible for handling or assisting with any potentially harmful equipment or materials. 

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is not responsible for any damages, injuries or liabilities that result from any activities contained within this website, and we expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability therefor. From time to time, we reference materials that we have found to be particularly important in our projects. We do not receive any monetary compensation for recommending materials. 


by Meghan Burch

  • Tags:

This entry was posted on Monday, June 23rd, 2014 at 9:00 am and is filed under Collage, Homemade Materials and Tools. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Catherine Stock
Friday, May 5, 2017 - 1:41 pm
Thanks, I am making some crocheted bookmarks and wanted to stiffen them. I appreciate this recipe!
Thursday, June 6, 2017 - 3:51 pm
Thank you for this recipe and for your great work with kids! I need to glue folded up cardboard together with strong enough adhesive that it will stay together when the finished piece is repeatedly pulled in and out of a box. Do you think this would be strong enough? I want to use the most eco-friendly glue possible!
Tuesday, June 6, 2018 - 11:47 am
Hi Ruth, Thank you for your comment and kind words! This adhesive is best for adhering papers together, but I believe it will not be strong enough to hold up to cardboard in motion. We recommend using tacky glue as it is considered non-toxic and creates a strong bond. It does require more time to dry than a white glue but is well-worth the wait. Best of luck with your construction project! Thanks again, Sara
Atheana Weeks
Saturday, November 11, 2017 - 8:02 pm
Is this a tablespoon or teaspoon of cornstarch? Just a T. Is confusing for me.
Tuesday, June 6, 2018 - 11:41 am
Hi Atheana, Thank you for your feedback and I'm sorry that the recipe was confusing. I've changed the post to clarify the amount, it requires one tablespoon of cornstarch. Thanks again, Sara

Add a New Comment

Leave a reply

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
To Top