Tuesday, August 11, 2009

starching clothes and pre-uhu glue days

"Then to make the starch, pour hot water on some white powder...." peter made this comment in my posting on laundry blue.

when we were in primary school, during our art and craft lessons, the glue we used usually came in a tube like a small tube of tooth-paste or a small bottle-like container. back at home when we needed to do any sticking or glueing, we would make use of the starch that our mother used for starching clothes.

how do you prepare this home-made glue? those days, my mother used tapioca flour - peter referred to this as some white powder - to make this starchy substance. you can use any vegetable flour. for the picture in this blog, i used some left-over potato flour.

first, you add some tap water to the flour and stir it until it becomes a thick, milky solution. then you add hot water to it, a little at a time, and continue to stir very hard and fast. the opaque solution will gradually become clear. when the paste becomes transparent (as in the top picture), you stop adding hot water.

the paste, if it is going to be used for starching clothes, should not be lumpy. when you want to starch the clothes, you scoop a handful of the starchy paste and dissolve it in a pail of water. then you rinse the clothes in the pail of starchy water. the clothes, when they are dry, will become stiff and this makes ironing them easier.

nowadays, the fabric starch comes in the form of an aerosol spray can. it has brightener to give your clothes that smart, crisp look. it is supposed to help remove creases and wrinkles on your clothes. however, it cannot be used on silk and other delicate fabrics.

for glueing purpose, if you want the 'glue' to be thicker, then you do not need to add so much hot water. the paste will be lumpy but it will stick better. if you want to keep the glue for sometime, then, instead of using just hot water, add some vinegar to the water.

today, hardly anyone makes use of the home-made starch. you can get glue which comes in handy containers or in the form of a stick.


peter said...

This was the kind of starch we needed to make the SAF #3 uniform stand upright/stift.

I forgot that you first need to add "ordinary' water to the white powder before adding hot boiling water. I think I tried once and made a mistake. One should not pour hot water too fast; otherwise cannot turn to glue. Am I correct YG?

In primary school, we use another kind of starch, again white powder but no need hot water. The white powder came from an orange colored box like the size of a cornflake box. It does not look like starch but maybe like creamy mayonaise or "yoghurt"

nah said...

When we were young, we used tapioca flour and turn it into starch for our paper mache and ‘layang-layang’.
Now that we are older, we use tapioca flour, and with a slightly different process, turn it into something yummy tummy.
Here’s how: mix tapioca flour, rice flour and water to form batter. Heat oil in frying pan till hot. Pour batter into pan. Once batter solidifies, pour in beaten eggs. Fry until bottom layer is golden-brown. Drizzle with light soy sauce. Toss in oysters. Sprinkle coriander leaves, spring onion, pepper and we have delicious Fried Oyster Omelette.

yg said...

peter, yes, you add the hot water a little at a time. i also remember using the 'mayonnaise' type of glue. it was not watery and had a certain smell.

yg said...

nah, sometimes when we did not have the glue, we used cooked rice grains for our layang (kite).

Anonymous said...

I remember the glue that we used in school in the 50's came in aluminium can. I think we called it paste. It was not glutinous but the texture was quite like that of the present yuhoo type. The brand was Panguin.