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Recipes for Making Your Own Craft Glues and Fun Paints

Updated on March 3, 2020

It's Fun to Be Able to Do-it-yourself

There are different types of glue needed for varied kinds of crafting projects and materials, and perhaps a new recipe discovery will be welcomed as you find something that matches a need you have.

There are several kinds of glue for paper, for leather and heavy materials, others for gluing envelopes, water resistant glues - just keep naming needs you have thought about before when working on a specific craft project.

There are even 'glue', solutions for other uses, like transfer ink, and paint-glue. I hope you find something new available here that will be helpful and usable for your projects.

Smaller size baby food jars are excellent storage containers.
Smaller size baby food jars are excellent storage containers.
White glue
White glue
Either white or cider vinegar will work, but clearer color happens with the white vinegar.
Either white or cider vinegar will work, but clearer color happens with the white vinegar.

Recipe #1 and #2 for Envelope Glue

This glue is a make, dry, moisten glue for envelopes. It is totally simple to make and works wonderfully, just like the commercial lick 'em, stick 'em envelopes.

Recipe #1 Envelope Glue

Amounts of this simple glue may be adjusted for how much you need, but it is so easily made that it is best made new for each project needed. It does not taste good, but works magnificantly.

Ingredients: In a small bowl fit for stirring, place 1 tablespoon white glue (like the popular Elmer's). Slowly add 2 teaspoons vinegar stirring til well mixed.

Using a small paint brush, paint along the envelope flap edge using plenty of glue. It will dry fairly quickly and may then be remoistened with a finger or Q-tip dipped in water when you are ready to glue the envelope or label.

This second glue needs to be heated to dissolve gelatin, but works and stores well. And it does have a bit better flavor. Other flavors might be used instead of mint if you prefer. It could also be faintly colored with food colorings if you liked that result.

Recipe #2 Envelope Glue

3 tablespoons white vinegar

2 (1/4 oz.each) packets unflavored gelatin

1/4 tsp. mint extract

Using a small microwave bowl, add the vinegar and gelatin stirring well, then bring to a boil. Stir until gelatin is dissolved and add extract.

Using a small paint brush (or can use your finger carefully) spread the glue on the envelope flap edge and let dry. Re-moisten to glue flap when ready. If you have enough to store, put in a baby food jar. Glue may thicken but if so, just set jar in bowl of warm water to soften again.

Tools for mixing, storage and using are common household items.

Homemade Leather Glue

This glue is a bit stronger, so useful for gluing heavy cardboard and cloth, or for leather to leather. It will keep for a few months in a jar. Though it will thicken or gel, simply warm the jar in a bowl of warm water to re-liquefy when needed.

Ingredients: In a microwave bowl, add 3 tablespoons water

1 packet unflavored gelatin

Heat to boiling. Remove and stir till gelatin is dissolved.

Add vinegar and stir well.

Add 3/4 tsp. liquid glycerin. again stirring well.

Using a small paint brush, apply a very thin layer to both items to be glued together. Either hold together for a minute or two, or weight the item for several minutes to hold. Let dry fully before using item.

A water-resistant glue.

This glue is very water resistant when dry and is great for wood, glass and some metal. It may be stored in a covered jar and warmed in a bowl of hot water when needed.

1 packet (1/4 oz size) unflavored gelatin

2 tbs. water 2 tbs. skimmed milk

In microwave bowl, add water, milk and gelatin and bring to boil. Stir till gelatin is totally dissolved. Use glue while still warm to brush a thin layer on items to be glued. Support items for several seconds while 'tacking'. Let dry thoroughly before handling. May be stored in a small covered jar, where it will thicken. This actually makes it more usable for gluing some items together. To use by brush, warm jar in a pan of hot water.

Old-fashioned paper paste

This glue is actually a time-honored make-it-do paste that was once one of the mainstays of 'kids home creations'.

Take an old cup or very small dish and put in about a tablespoon of plain white flour. Gradually add enough cool water to make a thick paste, stirring quickly and thoroughly. May add a drop of cinnamon oil if available, though this is not necessary. Or a drop of vanilla may also be used if desired. Using a smooth whittled stick or a popsicle stick, apply to paper in thin small areas. Press well and let dry.

You can make odd sized envelopes from many pretty papers for a unique envelope.

A good invisible ink for fun.

This ink has several ingredients to mix, but still a simple accomplishment. When the ink is painted on paper or cardboard and allowed to dry it will be basically invisible. To make the picture or writing appear, cover the paper with an additional sheet of paper and lightly iron with a warm iron for several seconds. The message will then be visible.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup milk

Fresh juice from 1 lemon

1 tbs. powdered sugar mixed in 1/4 cup water

1 tbs. baking powder mixed in 1/4 cup water

1 tbs. alum mixed in 1/4 cup water

Place all these ingredients in a small jar and shake together very well.

Use a cotton swab or tiny paintbrush, write desired message on white paper. Dry. Some papers do work differently or better than others. Try several types to see which you like.

Using a paintbrush, paint your desired picture on white paper and let dry. The message or picture disappears as the ink dries. Send to your friend with instructions on how to discover what the message or picture is, but make sure an adult helps with the ironing if necessary.

Veggies stamp ink

This ink should have adult supervision if a child is making it because of the varnish and alcohol.

Stamp Printing Ink

A small bowl and a flat glass plate

1 tbs. varnish

1/4 tsp. alcohol.

about 3 tbs. powdered pigment (like Tempera)

Mix the two liquid ingredients with a craft stick or other tool. Add in any color pigment you want to use and mix well.

On an old flat glass plate smooth out some of the ink thinly with a brush or flat side of craft stick. Use rubber stamps or a cut potato or carrot or celery to stamp into the ink, then on your paper. Will need to renew the ink plate frequently to keep coverage.

An easy transfer ink for fun

 This ink works well with comic strip or other colored pictures from magazines.

Ingredients:   1/4 cup hot water

2 tbs. powder soap, such as Ivory Snow

1 tbs. turpentine

 Dissolve the soap in hot water, then add the turpentine.  Shake well in a small lidded jar.

To use, brush the ink over the picture to be copied - 'transferred'.  Wait 10 to 15 seconds.  Put another clean piece of paper over the inked picture and rub it lightly with the back of a large spoon.  You will see the picture transferring to the new paper.  Pull off gently and let dry.

Waterproof fabric ink

 This ink is made with powdered cloth dye - any color - OR the permanent liquid dyes available for cloth. 

If you use the powdered dye, add 1 tbs. to 1/4 cup water and mix well.  Then add 1 teaspoon glycerin and 2 teaspoons alcohol.  Store in small jar.

If using the liquid dye, take 1/4 cup and add 1 tsp. glycerin and the 2 teaspoons alcohol, mixing well.  May be used with dip ink point or ink pen, small paintbrush or even a Q-tip for painting on fabric. Paint with several layers of newspaper underneath cloth to grap any excess.  Dry thoroughly.  First washing will remove a slight amount of color.

This is excellent for fake tie-dying cloth by just dripping or painting on different colors.  Handle all with care while crafting because it is permanent color!

Easy Finger Paint

This is an easy fingerpaint to make and use and it may be stored in small jars.

Ingredients: 2 tbs sugar

1/2 cup cornstarch

2 cups water

Liquid dish soap, clear type

1/2 tsp. white glue

Food colorings

In a saucepan mix sugar and cornstarch together.

Gradually mix in water and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil.

Turn heat down to make a simmer, and keep stirring til mixture thickens to a heavy paint texture. While cooling, stir occasionally.

Pour some of the mixture into a couple of muffin pans and add to each portion, one drop each of clear dish soap and a desired food coloring. Mix well for each color.

Extra uncolored paint may be stored in a covered jar. This paint washes off well but some clothes may stain if not rinsed before it dries completely. 

From the old to the new, and the finding out about those things that work for your projects.

In the 'olden' days as young children may say, people did not have the same things we have now: Plastics galore, foils, beautiful paint colors and pens, gel pens, permanent inks, etc. And while that is indeed true, the children then were only aware of enjoying what they created, technology or not. They invented their own projects, just as children of today, and enjoyed the satisfaction in the same innocent way that we all do when we have 'made it myself'.

And that is one of the major joys of making 'your own', just the satisfaction of doing it yourself, showing off your creative ideas and methods. And too, the blessing of those who care, spoken in encouragement of those momentarily important projects. Our projects may not last forever, but the loving, cheering support will! I hope you find and enjoy your own too, always!


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    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 months ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi frogyfish I like your idea and it sounds most useful for kids play. I plan to try MAKE this type of glue thank you

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Central United States of America

      ladyguitarpicker, the waterproof glue works well for several items. I hope it does work for you. I would think your hide glue would be similar, but perhaps hold stronger than this glue. I have not used this type.

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Central United States of America

      Lexie Bradley, I don't know that the leather glue would work on glass. It would likely work on the denim, but a different type glue sounds necessary. There are some commercial glues to bond glass to materials but I am not familiar with a glass to cloth homemade glue. Perhaps someone will give us one to try.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 

      5 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I need the waterproof glue will see how it works. Sounds easy to make. Do you use hide glue for anything? I will be looking for some.

    • Lexie Bradley profile image

      Lexie Bradley 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing these awesome recipes! I was wondering, do you think the leather glue would be a good glue to bond glass beads to denim? And if so, how much vinegar should be used? Thanks so much!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central United States of America

      Becky Puetz, I see you are a fellow Okie. On the glues, I have used the envelope glue a lot - and yes it tastes bad, but it works! Thanks for visiting.

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thank you for listing these different purpose craft glue recipes and paints, I will keep these for reference. Great for all kinds of projects !

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      6 years ago from North Texas

      This is a great reference for crafters! Definitely going to bookmark this article. Particularly find the paint/fabric ink recipes of interest.

      Voted up and useful!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Central United States of America

      daisyjae, love your name! And thank you for sharing your comment here. Indeed you can save lots of money by doing-it-yourself on many kinds of crafting needs. Best wishes as you teach those kids too!

    • daisyjae profile image


      6 years ago from Canada

      I will have to save this article, buying this kind of stuff is expensive and I go through lots of it in my daycare!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Central United States of America

      Becky Puetz, thank you for visiting me...we must be near neighbors in OK.

      Glad you got some tips...and memories!

    • Becky Puetz profile image

      7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Enjoyed your hub, it brought back some great old memories for me plus I learned a trick or two here :) I remember the finger paints well but never knew how they were created. Thanks again

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Central United States of America

      Bishop55, glad you found helpful information, and thanks for the pin!

      RTalloni, so we need to see your glue craft, ok? Thank you for sharing!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Just saw a craft using glue as a design element that I want to try so this was interesting. Pinning this to my children's activities board!

    • Bishop55 profile image


      7 years ago from USA

      very good. I'm pinning this!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Central United States of America

      jamiesweeney, I enjoy the fun stuff also! Thanks for visiting and enjoying...and thanks for commenting!

    • jamiesweeney profile image


      9 years ago from Philadelphia, PA

      Very creative mind. I love painting as well and finding lore information like this is really fun. Great information here.

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Central United States of America

      Cross stitch and Liz Goltra, thanks for visiting, enjoying and commenting.

    • Liz Goltra profile image

      Liz Goltra 

      9 years ago

      Great ideas. Voted up. Thanks for posting!

    • profile image

      Cross stitch 

      9 years ago

      very interesting hub, thanks for sharing

    • profile image

      Rick Roll 

      9 years ago

      why cant elmer glue gust let me know there ingredients

      it would make my science fair prigect so much easer

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Central United States of America

      Zsuzsy Bee, your name is so neat! Hope you have lots of fun with your granddaughters! Thank you for visiting here and commenting too.

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 

      10 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      I had forgotten the recipe for the leather glue. The finger paint sounds really great, my recipe is way more complicated. I will make up a few colors for my granddaughters. Our Victoria day long weekend is coming up then we'll have a 'artsy festival'.

      Thank you for sharing this great hub

      regards Zsuzsy

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Central United States of America

      Thanks for your comment, and best wishes in your new business adventure. I'm sorry but I do not know a single thing about silk-screening so dare not offer even an opinion. Would like to see some of your t-shirt results someday...!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I have just started a t-shirt printing business, and this is so helpful. I was wondering if you know whether I could use this fabric ink for silkscreening. Is it not going to be too runny. I would like to use organic inks on my shirts. Thanks!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Central United States of America

      jill of alltrades, isn't it amazing how something so simple as glue can awaken long-tucked-away memories! Glad they were happy for you!

      Hope you like the glue very well too!

    • jill of alltrades profile image

      jill of alltrades 

      10 years ago from Philippines

      I've done some of these during my school days. They bring back happy memories.

      Your waterproof glue is exactly what I have been looking for! I'm going to try it. Thank you very much for sharing frogyfish!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      Montana Farm Girl, glad you found something new, and hope you have good use for it sometime.  Thank you for commenting!

    • Montana Farm Girl profile image

      Montana Farm Girl 

      11 years ago from Northwestern Montana

      How clever!!! Some of those I have never, ever heard of!!! Great hub, great information!!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      bskinny, thanks for comment and letting us know how you liked the glue. It is simple to make and works great! Thanks again!

    • bskinny profile image


      11 years ago from US

      Tried the waterproof Glue. It worked very well.

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      Lwelch. Thank you for comment/suggestion - I just added it.  Appreciation and cheers to you too!

    • Lwelch profile image

      Lena Welch 

      11 years ago from USA

      you should add a tag for craft recipes. That is what I would look for to find this stuff if I were searching - I love it!

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      Hawkesdream, glad you liked it...there is another 'transfer glue' that will do for wood or stone, but I couldn't find it - it is similar to this one though...Thanks for comment too!

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Al Hawkes 

      11 years ago from Cornwall

      This is great, especially the transfer one, have bookmarked it.

    • frogyfish profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from Central United States of America

      Glad to assist you there!  It was a fun one to work up as it even brought back memories of pasty subjects for me!  I have used the envelope glue a lot. Thank you for liking it!

    • dianacharles profile image


      11 years ago from India

      This is really nice frogyfish, especially for those with young kids or teachers. Bookmarking it. Thank you.


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