Just add water! And flour. And art.

Mary
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Earlier this week, I posted about a cool piece of street artwork (I'm loathe to call it graffiti, because it wasn't spray-painted) I'd seen in Brooklyn. One of our readers promptly informed me that the technique, which I described rather ineptly as using "a piece of waterproof paper or some similar material," was called "wheatpasting." Apparently, this is exactly what it sounds like -- putting up fliers and other paper works on cement using wheat flour. I found plenty of easy instructions for making the paste (wheatpasting seems to be popular among web-savvy anarchists), and lots of useful pointers such as "coat the paper with shellac to waterproof it," but I couldn't resist sharing these two slightly more off-beat tips:

1. If you're worried about being linked to the crime, wear gloves and carry a plastic bag with you. If you see a security guard or a police officer, put all your wheat pasting supplies in the bag. To make it even less suspicious wear some nice light-colored clothing (so that the wheat paste doesn't show up on it) and carry a Gap shopping bag.

2. I had a Ziploc bag of [wheatpaste] chilling in my room for about a week, and one day I woke up to the worst odor ever to assault my olfactory lobes. I can't describe the smell, but finding a rotten bag of wheatpaste ... is something I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy. Who would think that mere flour and water would be capable of such offense? So guys, throw out your leftover wheatpaste.

I feel more rebellious already, just having blogged about wheatpasting. (Note: We at mental_floss do not condone crimes of any sort. No sir. ) Anyone know why the flour would go sour so badly?

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August 17, 2006 - 2:22pm
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