Making Methyl Cellulose

Methyl Cellulose is on a par with wheat starch paste in its usefulness to conservators. It is most commonly used as an adhesive, which is both reversible and water soluble, though not as ‘wet’ as wheat starch paste. It can also be used in a poultice form for removing spine pieces, and is regularly used for consolidating paper edges, where they may have lost strength over time. In each case, the material and media must be tested before MC is used.

This particular recipe is used at the V&A to make MC that can be kept for a month or so, out of the fridge.

Methyl Cellulose 5%

5g Methyl Cellulose
100ml water – 75ml hot and 25ml cold

– put the MC powder into a jar which has a lid.
– pour the hot water on top and stir.
– pour the cold water on top of this and stir again until powder is gone.
– leave for about 1 hour to cool.
– put lid on and leave until clear, about 24 hours.

2 Replies to “Making Methyl Cellulose”

  1. Is your recipe correct re powder to water ratio?
    Made the paste according to your formula, except increased the proportions as making a lot of paste paper. It turned out very thick and solid and I had to add a lot more water. I had sent this recipe to a friend who had the same problem.

    1. Hi Jen, Thank you for your message. There are always multiple recipes for these adhesives, such as MC and Wheat Starch Paste, all of which will vary depending on what you are planning to use it for. This particular recipe is to enable you to use MC as an adhesive and especially as a poultice to remove spine adhesive from books, so it may not be best for paste papers.

      If you have adjusted it to work well for paste papers, please do share it and I will update the post to include your contributions, if you are happy for me to do so.

      Hope that helps and all best wishes, Maudie

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