Paste Mix Experiment

An experiment with various glues and binders to find a mix that has the following properties.

a. Economical
b. Strong
c. Quick drying time
d. Application


Having looked into materials I currently use in my art practice. Talking to both fine artists (Gordon Cheung) and street artists (Shepard Fairey) and based on what I have read on the internet I will be testing the following materials in various ratios and mixes.

a. Solvite wall paper paste

b. Amaco wheat paste

c. PVA glue

d. Golden gel

e. Varnish

f. I will also test regular house hold flour as a substitute for wheat paste



The main ingredients in each of the mixes will be (a)Solvite or (b)Amaco. These make the bulk of the mix as they are the cheapest ingredient which will solve (a) in the purpose. c,d & e will be added to the mixes to see if adds any strength to the overall mix or of they are in fact just adding additional cost. I will be making scaled down ratios for these experiments. To work this out I used the following recommended quantities from the manufacturers. Solvite recommend 4-7 Litres per 190g bag Amaco recommend 4-5 Litres per 225g

Solvite // 5Litres ÷ 190g = 38g per Litre = 3.8g per 100ml

Amaco // 5Litres ÷ 225g = 45g per Litre = 4.5g per 100ml

So I will use 5g per 100ml for both of the above as my control test.


Experiments - Round 1

Mix 1 // Solvite 6g Amaco 4g PVA 20ml Varnish 25ml water 200ml

Mix 2 // Solvite 11g PVA 35ml Varnish 25ml Water 200ml

Mix 3 // Solvite 15g Golden 15ml Water 240ml

Mix 4 // Wheat 15g Golden 15ml Water 240ml

Mix 5 // Flour 100g Water 240g PVA 15ml

Mix 6 // Solvite 13g PVA 11ml Varnish 20ml Golden 30ml Water 250ml



Mix 1 // Smooth application and the mix had a good consistency.

1st - This was the quickest mix to dry.

6th - Peeled off the easiest.

Mix 2 // Thicker mix and felt slow to apply.

5th - Still slightly damp after 12 hours.

4th - Came off in big strips.

Mix 3 // Very, very thick mix.

6th - Still damp in areas after 12 hours

2nd - Hard to pull off (came off in little bits)

Mix 4 // Thin mix and lifted some colour from poster.

2nd - Quick to dry

1st - hardest to pull off (came off in little bits)

Mix 5 // Mix had separated the next day and the image was very dirty looking.

4th - quite quick at drying

3rd - quite strong considering it is just flour and water

Mix 6 // Mix turned paper to a plastic quality

3rd - dried quick

5th - came off in big strips


Results Analysis

The mixes with PVA, and varnish were the weaker of all the mixes. I think they plasticised the paper which meant that it would be more resilient to water, but less so to people. For this reason I will rule out these two elements. The mix with Flour was strong and very low cost, but it clouded the image too much. Mix 3 and 4 were the strongest of the two mixes but both had different advantages and disadvantages.

Mix 3 // PROs - Hard to pull off. Solvite is cheaper in uk than amaco Thick mix so does not run, though may be a little too thick. CONs - Still damp the next day so could come off while drying. Might be a bit too thick which means application is slower.

Mix 4 // PROs - Hardest to pull off. Quickest to dry. CONs - Cost more in the UK than in USA plus difficult to come by on Amazon. Lifted some colour from the print. Very thin mix so more wheat powder would be needed


Experiments - Round 2

Combine 3 & 4 and test how much the golden gel effects the strength.

Mix 7 // 7g Solvite 7g Amaco 240ml Water

Mix 8 // 7g Solvite 7g Amaco 240ml Water 100ml Golden Gel


Final Results

Both MIx 7 & 8 are very strong with the paper coming off in very small pieces when purposely trying to remove. 8 is the stronger of the two, but as a result of adding the golden gel it is much more expensive. The consistency and viscosity of 8 is also much better than 7, again this is due to the golden gel.

I measured the amount of paste used for each poster


Mix 7 // total after mixing and transferred to tub 244ml

Mix 8 // total after mixing and transferred to tub 344ml


Mix 7 // total after brushing 204ml

Mix 8 // total after brushing 316ml


Mix 7 // 40ml

Mix 8 // 28ml

So less of mix 8 was used to stick up the poster and it was still stronger.

I would say that the perfect mix is anywhere between 7 & 8 on a sliding scale of how much money you want to spend on your mix. You would need to scale these ratios up proportionally to get a larger batch of the mix.

Keeping notes on the experiment

Making sure the tests are accurate using digital scales

Meassuring volume of mix to see how much is used

Applying the mix to colour printed paper posters on ply wood.

Post it notes to keep track of the mixes

Final mixes being tested. Previous rip test can be seen on other paper.