Wheatpaste (also known as potato paste, flour paste, rice paste, Marxist glue, or simply paste) is a liquid adhesive made from vegetable starch and water. It has been used since ancient times for various arts and crafts such as book binding, decoupage, collage, and papier-mâché. It is also made for the purpose of adhering paper posters to walls and other surfaces (often in graffiti). Closely resembling wallpaper paste, it is often made by mixing roughly equal portions of flour and water and heating it until it thickens, or by smearing cooked rice into a paste.
A common use is in the construction of chains of paper rings made from colored construction paper. It can also be used to create papier-mâché.
In the fine arts, it is often used in preparation and presentation, due to its low acidity and reversibility.
Activists and various subculture proponents often use this adhesive to flypost propaganda and artwork. It has also commonly been used by commercial bill posters since the nineteenth century. In particular, it was widely used by 19th and 20th century circus bill posters, who developed a substantial culture around paste manufacture and postering campaigns. In the field of alcohol and nightclub advertising, in the 1890s, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's posters were so popular that instructions were published on how to peel down the pasted posters without damage. Until the 1970s, commercial poster hangers always "cooked" their own paste, but since then many have bought pre-cooked instant pastes. It is applied to the backside of paper then placed on flat surfaces, particularly concrete and metal as it doesn't adhere well to wood or plastic. Cheap, rough paper such as newsprint, works well, as it can be briefly dipped in the mixture to saturate the fibres.
When Flyposting, to reduce the danger of being apprehended, wheatpasters frequently work in teams or affinity groups. In the USA and Canada this process is typically called "wheatpasting" or "poster bombing," even when using commercial wallpaper paste instead of traditional wheat paste. In Britain the term for the verb "wheatpasting" is "flyposting."
The words paste, past], and pastry have a common heritage, deriving from the Late Latin pasta (dough or pastry cake), itself deriving from the ancient Greek pasta, meaning "barley porridge". In English, paste is used as would be "dough" in the 12th century, or "glue" in the 15th century.