Unexpected Uses for Flour Besides Baking

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay – Hans 

Flour is a staple at my house since I do all my own baking. Besides making bread, cake, pie or cookies, I also use flour for thickening gravies, making a roux base for soups to using in combination with cornstarch for cream pies for a deliciously different taste and texture than a mere cornstarch alone. Today, I thought you might be curious how else besides baking and cooking to use it with these unexpected other uses for flour.

Creative Ways and Unexpected Other Uses for Flour

If you have kids, then you can always count on flour to help keep them occupied and to stimulate their artistic juices with flour related projects such as using it for paper mache. You will be surprised at what you can craft and then later paint to spear their creativity and imagination such as unique jewelry boxes, trash cans, Christmas ornaments, decorative trays to hold school supplies, etc.

Besides flour, you need a form such a box, balloon, bowl or plate to shape around. You also can go free-form and shape your own from treated newspaper to work with. In addition, you also need a hefty supply of newspaper that you can cut in size to dip into a retired baking pan or old plate that holds the makeshift flour glue for the paper mache project. You’ll also need some nontoxic tempera paint and paint brushes. Mod Podge is something else you may want to have on hand if you intend to make the finished masterpiece shiny. Working with paper mache is messy so protect the surface with a table covering and have a trash container near the work area.

All that you need to do is to make a paste out of equal portions of flour to water and stir together until smooth and it forms a thick paste. This makes a nontoxic adhesive that turns rock hard when dried and can also substitute as glue if you run out. Dilute with more water if the mixture gets too thick or threatens to dry.

What you do next is to attach a moistened sheet of that newspaper around the form and allow your first coat to dry. Once it hardens, you proceed and build up until you get the thickness and shape desired.

If you want to get fancy, you can use white paper that you have for your printer and share with your kids for the final treated sheets for layering over the project. Doing so, the newsprint won’t show through the paint in the same manner. However, several coats of tempera paint works just fine. Finish with a final coat of Mod Podge for shine to complete the project.

Nontoxic homemade play dough is another one of those unexpected ways to utilize flour that is wonderful for keeping kids busy. Mix two cups of flour, one cup of salt, four teaspoons of cream of tartar, two tablespoons of oil, two cups of water and food coloring. To prepare, mix the ingredients together and cook over medium heat for about three minutes while carefully stirring until thickened. (You can add a few drops of food coloring while cooking or before kneading where you can make several colors as you shape if you like, but it is not necessary.) Of course, if you’re using food coloring, protect your hands and use two Ziplock bags as a pair of gloves as you knead the color into the dough.

Flour Play Dough Balls Illustrating Unexpected Uses of Flour Besides Baking
Photo Courtesy of Pixabay – evstiforova

Shape into flour play dough balls just as you would bread and store without coloring or knead in a few drops of color. Use less if you like pastels (about two-three drops of food coloring) or deepen the shade up with more.After cooking, transfer the homemade play dough to a sheet of wax paper and knead until pliable. Store in Ziplock freezer bags and this dough can be played with at least a month or two without losing its softness.

Flour as a Cleaning Product

Playing cards tend to pick up grime if used often enough over time. A simple solution to clean is tossing them in a Ziplock bag with about one-third cup of flour. Give them the cards some brisk shaking for several minutes. Afterwards, you remove them from the bag and shuffle them a few times over a sink to avoid the flour flying as you do. Once you finish shuffling and examine the cards, they are fresher and cleaner in appearance.

Another one of the unusual uses of flour is for polishing stainless steel appliances. A little flour on a dry cloth can gently buff up the stainless and help get rid of fingerprints without much effort.

Have you ever had plastic containers with lids that lock too tightly for you to reopen again? If so, another one of the other uses of flour is dipping the container edge to dust it with flour can make that annoying problem a thing of the past.

These are just some unexpected uses of flour you may want to try sometime.  If you have more unexpected uses for flour, please share because I would love to hear what you do.



  1. Rochelle Haynes
    February 7, 2019 / 5:20 am

    Things you do not know

  2. tat2gurlzrock
    February 7, 2019 / 11:49 am

    This is a really interesting post! I have only used flour for cooking or baking. I never was aware of all the other uses!

  3. ellen beck
    February 7, 2019 / 8:40 pm

    I love paper mache ! So fun and cheap although a messy fun. I like your cleaning ideas especially cards. I use corn starch only because I actually hadn’t thought of flour!

  4. gloria patterson
    February 8, 2019 / 2:38 pm

    Interesting I never would have thought about cleaning with flour. I buy a one pound bag the first of January each year and at the end of the year I throw away what is left in the jar. I use it for gravy and maybe once in a while if I am going to fry something.

    • nuts4stuff
      February 9, 2019 / 12:36 pm

      You also try it when making a cream pie for an wonderful texture over plain cornstarch thickening.

  5. Karen Smith
    February 10, 2019 / 4:58 pm

    This is a really interesting post! I have only used flour for cooking or baking. I never was aware of all the other uses!

    July 3, 2022 / 11:18 am


    • nuts4stuff
      July 3, 2022 / 11:41 am

      Hi Denise,

      I’m so glad that you’ll try them. You can make so many creative and beautiful pieces from decorative organizers for mail, jewelry to trash cans just for starters.

  7. July 3, 2022 / 7:27 pm

    Just remember that flour is a raw agricultural product. It can contain pathogens such as salmonella or E. coli. if not heat treated. Make sure kids don’t eat or put it in their mouths.

    • nuts4stuff
      July 4, 2022 / 12:16 am

      Hi Mary,

      I agree. You need to watch kids and what they tend to put in their mouths.

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