Does anyone else ever feel like they’re re-inventing the wheel? I was so excited to learn about another easy inexpensive adhesive, but I find now that it’s been in use for centuries.
Sokui, or rice paste, is this latest discovery. It has a centuries-long history of use in wood and paper arts in Japan and China.
It is easy to make and inexpensive. It’s also acid free and more resistant to humidity than glue made with wheat. It dries hard and transparent, and can be diluted to the desired consistency with water. Rice glue will resist moisture for a while, but it is not water-proof – you can separate glued pieces, if necessary, by wetting or steaming them.
If you look it up online, you’ll see there are uncountable variations. Sokui can be made using rice flour instead of whole rice. Various additives and preservatives are sometimes used, and there are different preparation methods.
To make the simplest version of paste from rice, you will need:
- white rice (the hulls of brown rice can interfere with adhesion)
- cooking facilities
- strainer or blender
Put a quarter cup (or less!) of white rice and three cups water in a pot on the stove. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low. Simmer, covered, for an hour or longer. Check from time to time; add water if necessary. The rice grains will loose their shape and congeal to a sticky mass.
(Suggestion: use only a little rice. I used half a cup and got over 4 cups of glue – way more than I needed.)
Allow the rice to cool. Press the mixture through a fine sieve, or blend it first, and then sieve it. You might need to add water for this part. If the added water makes the glue too thin, put it back on the stove to thicken till you get the consistency you want.
Store finished paste in the refrigerator. I’ve had mine in the fridge for 10 days & it shows no sign of spoiling.
Some websites say the paste can be frozen. Others say not. I froze some to find out. It thawed to a rubbery and lumpy consistency, after excess water was squeezed out. It does adhere, but doesn’t apply smoothly. I won’t freeze it in future.
But I will keep it in mind as a quick and effective adhesive for future projects!