Wallpaper Paste

People ask me for this old folk recipe all the time. Everybody claims that there is no commercial wallpaper paste that works as well and is free of pesticides!

  • 1 cup flour (wheat, corn, or rice)
  • 3 teaspoons alum
  • water
  • 10 drops oil of cloves (natural preservative)

Combine the flour and alum in a double boiler. (If you donít have a double boiler, set a smaller pan inside a bigger one that contains enough water that can be brought to a boil without overflowing). Add enough water to make a consistency of heavy cream; stir until blended. Heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture has thickened to a gravy texture. Let cool. Stir in the clove oil. Pour into a glass jar with a screw top. Apply with a glue brush.

Makes 1 cup. Shelf life: 2 weeks refrigerated.


Amanda K.
Amanda K.4 years ago

This article was posted in 1999. Has anyone seen the long-term effectiveness of this paste, given that it's now 2012? I would like to use it, but I don't want to ruin $500 worth of wallpaper :)

Teresa R.
Teresa R.4 years ago

Alum is a pickling spice that can be found in the spice section of any grocery store. It isn't needed, nor is the clove. I usually just boil water and add my flour/water paste and whisk it in like you would when making gravy. Works wonders!

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Thanks Annie!

Robert O.
Robert O.5 years ago

Thanks Annie!

Austin S.
Austin S.5 years ago

Alum is also known as "Pickling Spice", I think. It makes your pickles crispy, and is slightly toxic.

K s Goh
KS Goh5 years ago

Thanks for the article.

Jonh Doe
6 years ago


Jax xx
Jackie E.6 years ago

what is alum please?

gail d.
gail dair6 years ago


Maria S.
Maria S.6 years ago

Great and easy to make. My problem though is I don't know what alum is nor do I know if I can find it here. Is there anything else I can use instead of alum?