How to Make DIY PVA Glue (Elmer’s Glue) Substitute

Have you ever wondered how to make your own homemade DIY PVA glue? Well… you can’t. But you can make something very close to it that will work just as well.

Real PVA glue, like Elmer’s basic white glue, contains synthetic polymers you’re not likely to have around the house. But if you want to make a similar and very effective glue with just pantry staples, read on!

Homemade PVA glue substitute in art jar with paintbrush

What is PVA?

PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate) water-based non-toxic vinyl resin used in school glue or white glue. Its adhesive properties make it is widely used in crafts, woodworking, and even in some household repairs. It’s known for its strong bonding capabilities and versatility.

Benefits of Homemade Glue

Making your own glue offers several advantages, including:

  • Cost-effective: Homemade glue is cheaper compared to store-bought options.
  • Customization: You can adjust the color, consistency, and even add scents to suit your project requirements.
  • Non-toxic: DIY PVA glue made from household ingredients is generally safe and non-toxic, making it suitable for various craft projects, including those involving children.

Homemade glue in jar being used in paper crafting project

Customizing Your DIY PVA Glue

One great advantage of making your own PVA glue is that you can customize it according to your preferences. Here are a few ways you can personalize your homemade glue:

Adding Color

If you want to add some color to your glue, you can mix in a few drops of food coloring or acrylic paint. Be sure to add the color before heating the glue mixture, so it will blend more evenly.

Adjusting Consistency

If you prefer a thicker or thinner glue, you can adjust the consistency by adding more cornstarch or water respectively. Remember to make these adjustments while the mixture is still hot and before it cools down and solidifies.

Scented Glue

For a fun twist, consider adding a few drops of scented essential oil to your DIY PVA glue. This will give your crafts a pleasant aroma and make them even more enjoyable.

Storing Your DIY PVA Glue

Your glue needs to be stored properly so it will last and still be usable months from now.

  1. Pour the cooled glue into an airtight container. An old Elmer’s bottle is perfect.
  2. Store it in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight.
  3. Label the container with the date you made it. You can also add notes about any customizations you added.

This should keep your glue liquid and effective for several months.

Homemade PVA glue substitute in art jar with paintbrush
Yield: 16 ounces

PVA Glue (Elmer's Glue) Substitute

Prep Time: 2 minutes
Active Time: 7 minutes
Total Time: 9 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: Under $10

Have you ever wanted to make your own homemade DIY PVA glue? Well... you can't. But you can make something very close to it that will work just as well.


  • 1 tablespoon White vinegar
  • ½ cup of Cornstarch
  • Water


  • Saucepan
  • Whisk or spoon
  • Bowl
  • Jar or bottle to store finished glue


  1. In a saucepan, combine 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of white vinegar. Stir the mixture well until it's thoroughly combined.
  2. Place the saucepan on medium heat and bring the mixture to a simmer.
  3. While the mixture is heating, in a separate bowl, mix ½ cup of cornstarch with ½ cup of water. Stir until there are no lumps and the mixture is smooth.
  4. Once the water and vinegar mixture in the saucepan reaches a simmer, slowly pour in the cornstarch mixture while continuously whisking or stirring.
  5. Continue whisking or stirring until the mixture thickens to a glue-like consistency. This should take around 5-7 minutes.
  6. Remove the saucepan from heat and allow the glue to cool completely.

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Tips for Use

You can use your PVA glue just like you would regular school glue – just squeeze it out of the bottle. But sometimes you need more precise application.

I like to apply it with a paintbrush. Here are some tips to help you get the best bond from it.

  • Apply a thin layer of glue on both surfaces before joining them together for better adhesion.
  • Use a brush or sponge applicator for precise application.
  • Clean any excess glue immediately with a damp cloth or sponge.
  • Allow enough drying time for the bond to harden.
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