I Love My Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue

June 22, 2009 at 3:03 am 5 comments

IAH-074-BBB-ButterflyGRASONVILLE, MD – Monday morning – Recently at a Laugh & Craft gathering at our Studio, we decided it was time to get back to the basics and share the Aleene’s Burnt Brown Bag technique. What’s the most fun with this project is everyone is so amazed at how you can create the look of metal from burnt brown bag.  Yep! That’s right, this is three layers of brown bag – as in grocery bags – add a coating of Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue – burn with a candle – add antiquing paste and you have the look of metal! This intriguing technique was discovered in the early 1960’s by Katy Ogle, one of Aleene’s designers, when she was testing Aleene’s Glues for flammability. Enjoy this vintage Aleene’s technique! >>Tiffany

Aleene’s Burnt Brown Bag Butterfly
by Tiffany Windsor

Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue
18 gauge florist wire (cut into 3” length and bent in U shape for antenna)
Wooden skewer
Brown grocery bags
Rub ‘n Buff – gold and silver
Plumbers candle and matches (or other candle with tall flame)
Soft cloth (for wiping away soot)
Bowl with water


IAH-074-BBB-Butterfly-Step-1Transfer your pattern to 1 layer of brown bag. We used a stencil for our pattern —  only tracing the outside lines. Keep in mind that you can use all sorts of patterns for this technique. We have used leaf patterns and created a whole branch filled with look-of-metal leaves, we have seen beautiful work done by other designers that included a stunning sailing ship.  The design possibilities are really unlimited!



Next, cut two additional layers of brown bag and glue all three layers together with the pattern on top. Immediately cut out the butterfly pattern. You want to do this cutting step quickly because next, you need to insert the wooden skewer and the antenna between two layers and if you let the glue dry too long, it’s really difficult to accomplish this!

IAH-074-BBB-Butterfly-Step-9With the antenna and skewer inserted in between the layers, now it’s time to apply the glue to one side of the butterfly covering all of the brown bag with the glue.  Do not leave any of the brown bag exposed because it will burn if it is not covered with the glue.  Apply the glue with your finger in a generous coat. You do not want to see any of the brown bag.

IAH-074-BBB-Butterfly-Step-10Light the candle and hold the glued side of the butterfly right in the top part of the flame. The tip of the flame should be touching the wet glue. Keep the butterfly moving around at all times. In this step, you are blackening the glue.  Some bubbling will occur from the heat of the flame. This is fine and adds texture to the design but be sure to keep the butterfly moving in the flame until the entire glue surface is blackened.

IAH-074-BBB-Butterfly-Step-12 Let the butterfly set for several minutes and then gently wipe away the soot with a soft cloth. Use a gentle touch because if you press too hard, you will break through the skin of the glue. If this happens, you will see white glue oozing out. Just return that spot to the candle flame and re-burn. Your finished side should look shiny and with the soot wiped away, the glue will have turned to a shiny dark charcoal-gray color. The surface should have ridges which either developed during the burning process or while you were wiping away the soot.  Let butterfly set for a few minutes and repeat process on back side.

IAH-074-BBB-Butterfly-AntiqLet your burnt glue surfaces dry completely. Then apply gold and silver antiquing paste with finger lightly over the surface. Apply enough paste to add a nice burnished effect but be sure to let some of the black show through. Take a look at the finished example above again which shows the pretty burnished effect of the antiquing paste.

IAH-074-BBB-2-ButterfliesTiffany’s Designer Tip: This burnt brown bag technique looks great in many different designs and several pieces grouped together make a great sculpture.  You can also use 18 gauge wire for the stem (in place of the wooden skewer).  Do not try this technique with any other glues. We have tested the Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue for this technique and it is the only glue that we recommend. Also, always have a bowl of water handy just in case you have any sort of flame flare-up with the brown bag while you are burning your butterfly.


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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gabriela  |  July 10, 2009 at 1:30 pm


    What a fabulous project! Love it!

    ~ Gabriela ~

    • 2. Tiffany  |  July 10, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      Hi Gabriela – I know isn’t it fun and intriguing! Let us know when you try this technique. Would love to post your project!


  • 3. Cathie  |  February 8, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Hi! So glad to see someone else remembers this project! I just finished a mobile with hummingbirds and a heart in the center. I’ve gone to using copper wire from the hardware store, and when they’re done and painted I add a beaded wire dangle.

  • 4. Zoeanne  |  November 24, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Where can you buy Aleene’s Super Thick Tacky Glue?

  • 5. Maria  |  March 20, 2012 at 3:56 am

    Can I use tacky clue on plastic against metal


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