BPG Adhesive Recipes and Tips
Book and Paper Group Wiki > BPG Adhesive Recipes and Tips
Adhesives common in book and paper conservation are presented and discussed here, including specific recipe variations, rationales, and their uses. This page welcomes contributions from BPG members. If you would like to contribute a recipe, variant, or other piece of content, but are not a current Wiki editor, email your content to [email protected] This page is a companion page for the PCC chapter Adhesives which offers a more in-depth and technical discussion of adhesive properties.
- 1 Vegetable
- 1.1 Starches
- 1.2 Gums
- 1.3 Cellulose Derivatives
- 2 Proteinaceous
- 3 Synthetic Polymer Adhesives
- 4 Adhesive Mixtures
- 5 Heat and Solvent Set Precoated Repair Tissue
- 6 Remoistenable / Precoated Tissues
- 7 Historical Techniques and Materials
- 8 References
- 9 History of This Page
Wheat Starch Paste
- Hand stirred on hot plate (Library of Congress, updated in 2015): Add 57 g Aytex-P wheat starch to 400 mL deionized water. Stir to combine. Let the starch/water mixture stand for at least 30 minutes, and preferably overnight. This allows the starch to swell and will reduce the cooking time. Pour the starch/water mixture into a non-stick pot. Heat the starch/water mixture on a hot plate set to the highest setting, stirring slowly and regularly with a wooden spoon. Continue to cook the paste for at least 15 minutes, until it is thick, going translucent, and is bubbling. At this point it is important to begin stirring the paste vigorously and continuously. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pot regularly. Continue cooking and stirring for about 5-8 more minutes until the paste is shiny, translucent, and comes off the spatula in sheets. Put paste into a clean, lidded jar. The paste will keep 3 days unrefrigerated and for one week refrigerated. Strain prior to use.
- Hand stirred on a hotplate or stove: The Book and Paper Gathering has a blog post from 20th October 2016, "Paste-Making Tips with Two Recipes" that offers a great discussion and technique for making paste
- Brain Paste: Combine 50 mL volume of wheat starch with 100 mL of DI water in a nonstick saucepan. Stir mixture with paddle until completely dispersed. Set hot plate to “6” and start to stir the paste mixture. Stir continuously, with particular strength, vigor, and rapidity as the mixture thickens. Total time is about 20 minutes. Double batches will take slightly longer. Finished paste will form a stiff white ball which sticks more to itself than to the pan. Remove paste from pan and form a uniform, round, ball-like brain. Set this on a small piece of Mylar to cool. Paste should be removed from the interior of the brain and worked out with a brush, slowly adding water to dilute to desired consistency.
- Microwave Paste: Combine 1 tsp. wheat starch with 6 tsp. water in a microwave-safe container. Stir until dispersed. Set the microwave for 30 seconds at HIGH and cook for 20 seconds, or until paste is translucent and the consistency of cake batter. Stop the microwave at the 20 second mark and stir the paste with a spoon. Return to the microwave and let cook for the remaining 10 seconds. Stir again, remove from the microwave and let stand. Cool paste forms a semisolid mass. To use: Strain and dilute with water to a thin, cream-like consistency.
- Electric Saucepan: (Keiko Keyes, full details in Adhesives for Paper: Wheat Starch Paste). Make a slurry of wheat starch by mixing 1 part powder (wt) to eight parts water (vol) and let stand for at least two hours. Using a Salton Sauce Maker, cook and stir the slurry for 5-25 minutes depending on the setting. Just before use, strain the paste.
- wheat starch paste can be kept in air-tight tubes for off-site work. 
Rice Starch Paste
Algin or Sodium Alginate
- A recipe for sodium alginate and arrowroot paste was posted on the ConsDistList in 1998 by Iona McCraith:
- Make 100 ml of 1% sodium alginate by sprinkling 1 gram of sodium alginate powder slowly into distilled or deionized water in a beaker. Let stand for about 4 hours to dissolve. (To help the s.a. dissolve faster you can stand the beaker in warm water).
- Put 5 gram of dry arrowroot starch powder into a second beaker. Stir in some of the sodium alginate solution, then add the remainder. NOTE: For an even drier paste use 10 gram of arrowroot and for a thinner paste (i.e. for lining adhesive try 2.5 gram).
- Cook this mixture over a double boiler until it becomes clear and smooth, then simmer for about 20 minutes. Cool, then store covered. It should keep as long as other starch pastes before it goes off [...].
- This adhesive is reported to be "quite a bit drier than other starch pastes but still with good working properties".
Funori (Japanese Seaweed Adhesive)
- In Swider and Smith's 2005 JAIC article  they noted a wide variety of preparation methods, but conclude that "Preparing funori is a flexible procedure, and overall our attempts [with different recipes] successfully produced a material that was free of debris and suitable for treating artifacts." In general the preparation steps they recommend are:
- 1. Rinse dry funori under dripping water for 15 to 30 minutes.
- 2. Soak for 8 hours or more (to shorten the heating time).
- 3. Heat at or just below a simmer (about 60–90°C), adding water if needed.
- 4. Extract by filtering through clean, undyed fabric or a fine mesh strainer.
- 5. Dry by pouring onto clean glass, silicon-coated Mylar or Formica.
- 6. Reconstitute for use by soaking in water for 10 minutes.
- (For step 5, you can try the dropper method, invented by Yana van Dyke of the Metropolitan Museum: see isinglass entry for further information)
- This is usually prepared as a grams per milliliter solution. The number of grams of methyl cellulose added per 100 milliliters of water equals the percent of the mixture. Preparations between 2 and 5 percent are often used. Methyl cellulose does not dissolve readily in water. It is best to prepare it a few days ahead of time and allow it to sit, or use a magnetic stirrer if needed sooner.
- The preparation instructions from Adhesives for Paper: Methyl Cellulose: Do not use a blender because mixture tends to foam. Disperse powder first in hot water (about 1/3 of full measure) to avoid lumping and gelling, then pour in remaining ice-cold water and agitate until mixture is smooth. Wait twenty minutes to one hour for mixture to thicken.
- If bubbles form, they will generally disperse over the several days.
- A more speedy and exacting recipe is provided in Evaluation of Cellulose Ethers by Feller and Wilt
- "First, heat about one-third of the required volume of water to 80-90 °C Then add the methylcellulose powder to the hot water with agitation. Continue agitating until the particles are thoroughly wetted and evenly dispersed. Remove from heat and add the rest of the water as cold water or ice, continuing agitation. The solution should be cooled to below 10 °C (for maximum clarity, cool to 0-5 °C for 20-40 minutes). Agitate until smooth; once cold this should take only a few minutes, but the process can take as long as an hour.
- If other dry powdered ingredients are to be used in the formulation, they can be combined with the methylcellulose and blended dry. When the ratio of other ingredients to methylcellulose is greater than 3:1, it may not be necessary to use hot water to disperse the methylcellulose thoroughly with the other pulverized ingredients.
- Nonaqueous solvents, such as mixtures of methyl alcohol and methylene dichloride, can be used with certain types of methylcellulose. In special applications, advantage can perhaps be taken of the fact that MC can be applied in an organic solvent and removed in water, or vice versa. If hot water is not available, then the water should be agitated and the methylcellulose powder added very slowly to prevent agglomeration. Cold water will help speed dissolution."
Hydroxypropylcellulose (Klucel G)
- Talas: Talas offers a recipe for preparing Klucel G in water or organic solvents: Klucel G (The same recipe is also published by the manufacturers. Klucel G was originally produced by Hercules Incorporated, which ceased operation in 2008; it is now manufactured by Ashland )
- 2% Klucel G in ethanol: Slowly add 1 g Klucel G to 50mL ethanol, whisking as you go. Close the container and shake vigorously until powder is dissolved. It’s okay to stop shaking after a while and let the mixture sit overnight. Just make certain that the powder is all dissolved before using. Store in air-tight container. When ready to use, measure out needed amount into a smaller container to prevent drying out and contaminating the whole jar.
- Klucel G can be prepared in DI water, cast out onto tissue on silicone release Mylar, and then reactivated for treatment with solvents like ethanol.
Hydroxypropylcellulose (Klucel M)
- Available from Kremer Pigmente (2017). Higher viscosity and strength than Klucel G. Klucel M was the subject of a poster by Catherine Magee and Michiko Adachi at the 2017 AIC Annual Meeting "Captain America Encounters Klucel M at the Library of Congress" (online later in 2017). This poster presented the use of Klucel M as a solvent-reactivated tissue for paper repair and updated the testing data on Klucel M from the earlier studies by Feller and Wilt (1990).
- New York Public Library's recipe File:NYPLEthulose.pdf
Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose
- From Evaluation of Cellulose Ethers by Feller and Wilt "Carboxymethylcellulose is soluble in either hot or cold water, insoluble in organic solvents. It will dissolve in water rapidly, but has a tendency to form lumps. It is recommended that the powder be added to the vortex of vigorously agitated water. The rate of addition should be slow enough to allow the particles to separate and become wetted, but fast enough to minimize the rapid thickening of the solution."
Methyl Hydroxyethyl Cellulose
- "Food" or "photographic" grades are recommended for purity. Powdered gelatin dissolves quickest. This is usually prepared as a grams per liter solution. The number of grams of gelatin added per 100 liters of water equals the percent of the mixture. It dissolves best in hot water.
For further information, please see the following article. 
Bone or Hide Glues
In paper conservation, isinglass is generally used for consolidation of flaking media in a 1-3% solution.
Synthetic Polymer Adhesives
Poly Vinyl Acetate Dispersions (PVA or PVAc)
Poly Vinyl Alcohol Solutions (PVOH)
Acrylic Resin Solutions
Acrylic Resin Dispersions
Aquazol 50, Aquazol 200, Aquazol 500
poly (2-ethyl-2-oxazoline) Aquazol is available in 3 molecular weights: 50, 200, and 500, of increasing chain length, adhesion, and viscosity. They are water-soluble. According to Lechuga, the solutions are "prepared by mixing appropriate amounts of Aquazol granules and solvent in a beaker. The beaker was covered and the mixture was occasionally stirred until all of the solids dissolved; solutions were ready to use within a few hours."
See additional listings in pre-coated tissue bibliography below.
The above adhesives can be combined to produce a variety of desired effects. PVAc is frequently mixed with methyl cellulose or paste to slow drying time and to potentially increase reversibility.
Heat and Solvent Set Precoated Repair Tissue
Kelly, Katherine, Jennifer K. Herrmann, Alisha Chipman, Andrew R. Davis, Yasmeen Khan, Steven Loew, Katharine Morrison Danzis, Tamara Ohanyan, Lauren Varga, Anne Witty, and Michele H. Youket. 2019. Handouts from "Use of Heat and Solvent Set Repair Tissues". Presented at the 47th AIC Annual Meeting in Uncasville, CT.
- Lascaux 498 HV Tissue (1:4 in water)
- Lascaux 498 HV : Lascaux 303 HV Tissue (3:2:8 in water)
- Aquazol 200 / Aquazol 500 Tissue
Remoistenable / Precoated Tissues
The following list of citations was originally starting by selecting citations from Eliza Jacobi and Claire Phan Tan Luu's larger bibliography on treating iron gall ink on their Practice-in-Conservation blog. It has been added to as new resources were brought to our attention. Please add any useful citations or comments you may have.
Anderson, Priscilla R. and Alan Puglia. 2003. "Solvent-Set Book Repair Tissue " (PDF). The Book and Paper Group Annual 22. Accessed September 9, 2016.
- Discusses the use of solvent set adhesives for repairing leather books with tissue pre-coated with Lascaux Acrylic Adhesive 498HV.
Anderson, Priscilla and Sarah Reidell. 2009. “Adhesive Pre-Coated Repair Materials”. The Book and Paper Group Annual 28.
- The authors presented "Adhesive-Coated Repair Materials: Preparation and Use" in the Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group (LCCDG) and "Pre-Coated Repairs Part 2: Preparation and Application" in the Archives Conservation Discussion Group (ACDG). The authors discuss wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose mix, methyl cellulose, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, isinglass, Klucel G, Lascaux 498 HV, Rhoplex AC 73 and 234, and BEVA 371. BEVA 371 "is especially noted for its use in the repair of parchment and waterrepellant oily or greasy paper artifacts." The advantages of isopropanol and acetone are discussed. Briefly mentioned are also the variety of substrates: tissue, goldbeater’s skin, fish swim bladders, parchment, Tyvek, Mylar, and Hollytex.
Brückle, Irene. 1996. "Update: Remoistenable Lining with Methyl Cellulose Adhesive Preparation". Book and Paper Group Annual 15. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Lau-Lamb, Leyla. 2007. "A New Material for the Conservation of Papyrus"(PDF). The Book and Paper Group Annual 26. Accessed September 9, 2016.
- Describes the use of remoistenable tissue (sodium carboxymethylcellulose, Aqualon Cellulose Gum CMC, and Japanese paper) to mend papyrus.
Lechuga, K. 2011. "Aquazol-Coated Remoistenable Mending Tissue." (post-prints) Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation. Ottawa, Canada.
Pataki, Andrea. 2009. "Remoistenable Tissue Preparation and its Practical Aspects." Restaurator 30: 51 – 69. DOI: 10.1515/rest.004.
Quandt, A., Elissa O’Loughlin and Paul Hepworth. 2002. "Remoistenable Tissue for Mending Paper Damaged by Copper Pigments". Handout prepared for the 2002 IIC meeting held in Baltimore Maryland USA. T. W. A. Museum. Baltimore.
- This handout presents a instructions for making remoistenable tissue coated with wheat starch paste and methyl cellulose.
Titus, Sonja , Regina Schneller, Enke Huhsmann, Ulrike Hähner and Gerhard Banik. 2009. "Stabilising local areas of loss in iron gall ink copy documents from the Savigny estate." Restaurator.
- This article (sent out in a June 2017 BPG listserve announcement) discusses the treatment of letterpress copy books with iron gall ink using Berlin tissue pre-coated with gelatin, activated with limited moisture on a suction table. Gelatin was chosen over Klucel because of its stabilizing influence on iron gall ink.
van Velzen, Ban and Eliza Jacobi. 2011. "Instructables, Remoistenable Tissue" (PDF). Journal of Paper Conservation 12 (1). Accessed September 9, 2016.
- Instructions for preparing 3% gelatin on tissue as a remoistenable tissue.
van Velzen, Ban and Eliza Jacobi. 2011. "Instructables, Repair on Iron Gall Ink with Remoistenable Tissue" (PDF). Journal of Paper Conservation 12 (2). Accessed September 9, 2016.
- Instructions for using the tissue prepared above to mend iron gall ink.
Varga, Lauren, Jennifer Herrmann, and Kathleen Ludwig. 2015. "Heat-Set Tissue: Finding a Practical Solution of Adhesives". Book and Paper Group Annual 34.
- This article (available in print currently and online in 2017) describes the National Archives & Records Administration's development and use of heat-set tissue (applied either with heat or through solvent reactivation) to mend paper documents. This progressed from the recipe developed at the Library of Congress in the 1970s (Rhoplex AC-73 and Plextol B500), changed to a mixture of Rhoplex AC-73 and Rhoplex AC-234, and then, when those adhesives were no longer commercially available, changed to the most recent recipe (Avanse MV-100 and Plextol B500). The recipe NARA uses is: 4 parts water: 1 part Avanse MV-100 : 1 part Plextol B500. The adhesive is cast out onto thin kozo paper on silicone release Mylar through a screen.
Wagner, Sarah S. 1996. "Remoistenable Tissue Part II--Variations on a Theme". The Book and Paper Group Annual 15. Accessed September 9, 2016.
Historical Techniques and Materials
Down, Jane L. 2015. Adhesive Compendium for Conservation. Canadian Conservation Institute.
Maynor, Catherine I. and Diane van der Reyden, liaisons. 1989. Chapter 46: Adhesives. In the 6th edition of the Paper Conservation Catalog, (print edition 1984-1994).
- Matsumaru, Mito. 20th October 2016. "Paste-Making Tips with Two Recipes". Blog post on The Book and Paper Gathering.
- Stone, Janet L. and Elizabeth A. Morse. 1989. "A Method for Storing Additive-Free Wheat Starch Paste." Abbey Newsletter 13 (8).
- McCraith, Iona. August 14, 1998. "Dry Starch Paste". ConsDistList post.
- Swider, Joseph R. and Martha Smith. 2005. "Funori: Overview of a 300-Year-old Consolidant" JAIC Volume 44, Number 2, Article 5 (pp. 117 to 126).
- Feller, R.L. and Wilt, M. 1993. Evaluation of Cellulose Ethers for Conservation The Getty Conservation Institute
- Feller, R.L. and Wilt, M. 1993. Evaluation of Cellulose Ethers for Conservation The Getty Conservation Institute
- Charles, V. "Cold Gelatine Adhesive." Papierrestaurierung. Vol. 9, No. 3 (2008): pp. 11‐12.
- Van Dyke, Yana. 2009. Sacred Leaves: The Conservation and Exhibition of Early Buddhist Manuscripts on Palm Leaves. BPG Annual 28: 83-97 (particularly pages 89-90).
- Petukhova, Tatyana, and Stephen D. Bonadies. 1993. Sturgeon glue for painting consolidation in Russia. JAIC 32 (10): 23–31.
- Lechuga, Katherine. 2011. “Aquazol-Coated Remoistenable Mending Tissues.” Proceedings of Symposium: Adhesives and Consolidants for Conservation. Canadian Conservation Instıtute 2011, October 17-21.
History of This Page
This page was created in 2016 to collect recipes and observations about adhesives commonly used in book and paper conservation, and was the subject of an August 2016 BPG Wiki Call for Content. This page builds on the structure and adapts some content from the PCC wiki page Adhesives.
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