At the Craft Table with Rae Grant: Good Old-Fashioned Paste


With early spring fast approaching there is still time for plenty of indoor crafting projects before the shift to outdoor weather play begins. Getting your kids to sit down at the craft table can sometimes be a challenge. Time and organization is one hurdle and having useful basic materials in the house to get the process started spontaneously is another.

Be Resourceful

Having a few simple materials on hand can help make crafting a creative outlet rather than a dull chore. That is very good for everyone! One simple item to have on hand whenever you want to get started at the craft table is good old-fashioned paste. It’s easy to make, non-toxic, and easy to store for your children’s daily and weekly craft time.

When you make homemade paste with your kids, you are teaching them the very basics of being resourceful—that you don’t always have to go to the store to buy everything. Many crafting and art items  can be made at home using everyday materials. That can be part of the fun.

Organize the Project with Your Kids

Let’s be honest, sometimes it’s much easier to not have the help of children but it is valuable to your child when they learn to listen to directions and are involved in the process.

Before you begin, here are a few extra steps to do in advance of the paste project. Definitely get your kids to help in this stage of the project.

  1. Make a list of necessary items you will need and gather all materials such as craft sticks for stirring, measuring cups, measuring spoon, and a mixing bowl.
  2. Gather and collect small yogurt containers. Have a washing session in the sink with soap and water. Wash and dry and set containers on a clean dish towel.
  3. Set out newspapers or a plastic tablecloth on your work surface.
  4. Once this is ready you can begin making the paste.

Making the Paste

Here’s my favorite simple no-cook paste recipe to try. It is perfect for pasting collages, homemade cards, or paper chains. I like it a little watery but if you want a thicker paste then  add one or two tablespoons of flour to get the consistency you desire. I prefer to start with small batches to avoid waste. This recipe makes about 6 oz (a small yogurt container). These 6 ounces will go a long way in one day. If you have several children you can let them each make their own batch or divide the recipes into small containers. Adding a dab of tempera craft paint  to each container can make this an exciting project as well. Cover with a lid and refrigerate when not in use for about 1 week.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cold water

pinch of salt

Craft stick or fork for stirring

1. Measure 1/4 cup of flour and place in a small mixing bowl.

2. Gradually add water to the paste and stir well with a fork to combine.

3. Add the remaining flour and stir until the consistency is smooth and creamy.

4. Pour the paste into a clean plastic container and cover with a fitted lid or waxed paper and a rubber band until ready to use.

Kara here. Thanks for sharing your paste recipe, Rae!  My kids and I are excited to give it a try. What about you guys? What are you and your kids going to make with your paste?

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  1. Thanks for this recipe…such a simple thing like paste can be so achievable for most parents to have “up their sleeve” when crafting with their kids. Thanks for sharing

  2. I’m excited to try this with my kids – and I love the idea of being able to show them that everything doesn’t have to come from a store, even glue! :-)

  3. I love the idea of showing children that they can make their own paste. It is such a simple idea, but I know my girls are going to have a ball with it. It almost doesn’t matter what they make with it :)

  4. Whenever we make this paste, it is always a delightful surprise to discover how well paper adheres using only a flour and water mixture. We made paper chains from colorful valentine envelopes this week as our first project with this paste. Charming….and the chains dried nicely. It’s different than white glue and glue sticks and a lot more fun to work with. Have fun experimenting…

  5. thank you so much for this rae! so glad to see one of my favorite authors here on one of my favorite blogs!!

    i really appreciate your acknowledgement that it is often easier to prep for projects without “help” from our children. i tend to be fairly disorganized and sometimes prepping for an activity with the kids helping me is enough to stress everyone out and prevent us from enjoying the craft.

    however, as i’ve been (very intentionally) working to get more organized in our home, i’m finding that i am much more open to doing projects start to finish with my children and the experience is very rewarding.

    looking forward to making paste. maybe even today since it’s our third rainy day this week…

    .-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..5 days. 5 videos. ~ #4 =-.

  6. Think of yourself as the alpha kid. There has to be a little order but lots of room to create individually. No one person needs to be totally in charge except maybe for set up and clean up. Crafting can be a real act of freedom for kids and the adult too (who should be making her own paper chains at one end of the table).

  7. Oh, Rae! I love this. So simple and yet we use SO much glue – how have I never let the girls make paste before?! I cannot wait to try this out.

    Do you use small yogurt containers because it’s easier to throw them out when the paste is gone? We don’t normally buy yogurt in containers like that. I’m wondering if old baby food jars I have in the cabinet could be used. Will the paste ever wash out?
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..40 Days of Joy {day 7} – it’s the little things. =-.

  8. Hi Megan,
    I prefer to not use glass containers with young children for safety reasons. An alternative would be to use small non-breakable mixing bowls, or metal or plastic measuring cups. Even better for a group of kids, one could distribute the paste in a non-breakable ice cube tray and assign a craft stick or paint brush to each child. The nice thing about this paste is that it cleans up easily with warm soap and water. You may want to discard leftover paste in the trash though rather than washing it down the sink.

    Hope this helps,

    • I really like the tip of using an ice cube tray and each creafter getting a portion. Maybe an egg carton would work, too?

      Great tip!

      • Yes I would suggest eggs shell cartons too. The cardboard is durable enough to hold the paste and it is easy to break into individual containers… any of these ideas demonstrate resourcefulness from everyday materials around the house. Now I am thinking of making my papier mâché pins after all this paste discussion.

  9. This is a great idea. I teach art at a preschool(180 young artists) ranging from 18 months to 5 years old. I am always looking for an alternative to store bought supplies. I might also add a little food coloring for fun! You could paint and glue on cardboard with it.
    I’ll be getting my artists to make this in class.

  10. I like the idea of using cardboard as canvas and hand colored glue as the paint Julie. Thanks for sharing.

  11. We use a mix similar to this for making pinatas! Every birthday we cut strips of newspaper, get them all slimy in the paste and sick them to a blown up balloon. Layer after layer we make; then when the paper mache is dry, we pop the balloon.
    Voila! a pinata that the kids can paint and decorate as desired.
    .-= Aimee´s last blog ..A Guidemap for Finding Real Salt =-.

    • Pinatas! Oh, what a perfectly festive use for this paste :-)

      I’m thinking that I may have to come up with something to celebrate this weekend “just because” so we can use this paste and make a pinata! FUN!

  12. I remember making that pinata and an easter type basket/egg when I was little, It was a ton of fun! Thank you for this recipe, my boys love anything to do with helping in the kitchen type stuff, so this is right up their alley! I also just put glue on our list, so I’ll go right back and mark it off the list. Thank you!
    .-= jeana´s last blog ..We’re nice and cozy! =-.

  13. This is wonderful. I keep meaning to do this , and should have when my son was still eating glue like it was it’s own food group.

    This is on my to do list, thanks!


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