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Elmer’s Glue & Gak

Posted By Heather On March 18, 2009 @ 8:13 pm In Gluten-free Crafts,Parenting,Product Advisory | 7 Comments


[3]Do you worry about the gluten content in craft products? Well, I do. Some parents and even doctors will tell you that if the craft products aren’t being eaten, it shouldn’t be a problem. If you’re working with paints, dried pastas, or dried cereals, maybe you can wash away all trace of gluten before your kids stick their thumb in their mouth or bite their nails. But, when working with finger paints or squishy, gooey stuff that has gluten in it, I worry about traces of gluten getting trapped under fingernails, in the crevices of the hands, and ultimately in the mouth. So, I try to avoid any craft products with gluten, just to be on the safe side.

This week, my kids’ preschool made Gak for the kids to play with. Gak is a gooey, stretchy mixture that’s just fun to play with. I was happy that the teachers asked me about the gluten content of the ingredients before my kids played with it. And, I was even happier that I was able to confirm that every ingredient is indeed gluten-free.

Over the past few years, I’ve heard differing opinions about the gluten content of Elmer’s School Glue [3]. The Elmer’s website [4] confirms that their school glue is all-synthetic, no gluten or dairy: “[Their] products are derived from synthetic materials, not any type of animal or milk protein” “All of [their] products are gluten free except for the Elmer’s Finger Paints. The finger paints contain wheat and oat products.”

So, if you’re still having rainy weather and need an indoor project try this Gak recipe.



2 Cups Elmer’s glue
1 1/2 Cups water, warm
1 1/2 TBSP Borax*
1 Cup water, hot
food coloring or tempera paint, optional


  1. In a medium bowl, mix 2 Cups Elmer’s glue and 1 1/2 Cups warm water until thoroughly combined.
  2. If desired, add a few drops of food coloring or a tsp of tempera paint. Mix thoroughly. Add more coloring if you prefer a darker, brighter color.
  3. In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 TBSP Borax with 1 Cup hot water.
  4. Now, pour the small bowl mixture into the medium bowl and mix well. Once the mixture starts to pull together, you can knead it with your hands. Pour off any excess liquid. If it’s too sticky, add a little more Borax.
  5. Have fun! Store in zip-style plastic bags or airtight containers.

*Young children should be supervised while using this product and older children should be instructed not to eat it. Everyone should wash hands after playing with it. Borax is a natural mineral compound that can be toxic in large doses. Similar to other household cleaners, Borax should be kept out of reach of children.

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[4] Elmer’s website: http://www.elmers.com/faq/index.asp

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