Wheatpaste is a liquid adhesive that is often used in direct action to hang protest art and posters. There are many recipes and methods of wheatpasting. Here is one way that we have found to be easy and effective. Note: In some cities you can be cited for wheatpasting on public property. Please use caution and be aware of local laws.
Cornstarch wheatpaste recipe:
1. Dissolve 1/2 cup cornstarch in 1 cup cold water.
2. Heat one quart of water to boil.
3. Slowly stir dissolved cornstarch liquid into boiling water. Stir and continue to cook as mixture thickens and becomes clearer. If paste is not thin enough, add additional boiling water.
4. Remove from heat and cool. Spoils quickly. Make fresh batches or store in fridge.
Tips for putting up posters:
CONTAINER: We put the wheatpaste in a 1 gallon bucket, then—if we want to be low key about it—put the bucket in a bag so it can’t be seen.
BRUSH: We use 4-inch chip brush or a wallpaper brush.
Test it out: Find a sheet of plywood or some place you can practice putting up a poster and see how it does when it dries.
SURFACE: Find a smooth surface, like painted metal, plexiglas, plywood, or not-too-rough cement.
LOCATION: Look for visible locations. We often prefer public spaces, like traffic boxes, construction sites, or places the art won’t be taken down or painted over quickly.
BRUSH THE SURFACE: Brush a thin layer of wheatpaste over an area the size of the poster on the surface you want to put it up on.
PLACE THE POSTER: Place the poster on the wet area, taking care to lay it flat without wrinkles.
BRUSH POSTER: Now brush over the poster with a bit more wheatpaste. Try to brush out wrinkles. Make sure the edges are stuck on well.
Video example here!