DIY Bioplastic: How to Make Bioplastic from Potato Starch?

To make bioplastic from potato starch, mix potato starch with vinegar, glycerol, and water; heat until thick, then spread and dry to form bioplastic.

Our World in Data records a staggering 350 million tonnes of global plastic waste produced annually. Fortunately, bioplastics have long been offered as a solution to address this plastic waste issue. They are made from renewable plastic materials with characteristics similar to conventional ones.

One that is quite popular is creating DIY bioplastic recipes with potato starch. But here’s the question, how to easily make bioplastic from potato starch at home? 

how to make bioplastic from potato starch
Potato Starch in a White Ceramic Bowl

Bioplastic experimentation with potato starch is generally easy, especially since the material is readily available in the market. You can even make a bioplastic project for students if you are a teacher!

In the following, we offer a bioplastic creation tutorial that can make it easier for you whenever you decide to make bioplastic at home. Ready to try?

Key Takeaways

  • Potato starch is a key ingredient in bioplastic production due to its natural polymer properties.
  • Adding vinegar and glycerol to the mixture helps plasticize the starch, making the final product flexible.
  • Heating the mixture is crucial for combining the ingredients into a gel-like substance.
  • Spreading the mixture thinly and evenly ensures uniform drying and thickness of the bioplastic.
  • The drying process can take several days, and the bioplastic must be completely dry before use.

Comparisons with Traditional Plastics

Potato starch-based bioplastics offer numerous advantages compared to traditional ones. Unlike conventional plastics, which involve the use of fossil fuels in their production, these eco-friendly plastic alternatives utilize renewable bioplastic resources that are less harmful to the earth.

how to make bioplastic from potato starch
Close-up of a Young Volunteer Collecting Plastic Bottles into a Bin for Recycling

The use of sustainable bioplastic materials helps mitigate the environmental impact associated with the production of non-renewable plastic products. Not only that, but the bioplastic production process also results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions, making it a reliable environmentally friendly packaging solution. 

A study states that the use of reclaimed potato starch helps reduce GHG emissions by around 10% and eutrophication by 40%, while also saving 60% of agricultural land use.

In contrast, traditional plastics are not biodegradable, persisting in the environment for a longer duration and contributing to ecological harm through land, sea, and water pollution. 

On the other hand, bioplastics made from potatoes break down more rapidly, reducing their environmental impact due to the organic materials they contain. This offers a promising approach to decreasing plastic pollution and represents a positive step towards a more sustainable choice for our planet.

Materials and Tools Needed

how to make bioplastic from potato starch
Starch and Fresh Raw Potatoes

Whenever you plan to make bioplastic from potato starch, you will need to prepare some tools and materials to support the production. Instead of browsing all around, we have compiled a detailed list of them in the following section you can check it out! 

1. List of Required Materials

Here are the materials you must prepare before diving into how to make bioplastic from potato starch:

Potato Starch

You can adjust the composition of the potato starch you need. But, we recommend adding only one cup and adding more later to make the right potato starch polymer recipe. 


It’s essential to make a homogenous mixture, knowing water acts as a solvent. For one cup of potato starch, you can add two cups of water. 


To enhance bioplastic strength and durability, you need around 1 to 2 tablespoons of vinegar per cup of water. Vinegar serves as a plasticizer that also improves the flexibility and pliability of your bioplastic. 


Similar to vinegar, glycerol is a plasticizer and humectant to improve the flexibility of potato starch bioplastic. You can add 10 to 20% of the total mixture and adjust the amount if needed. 

Colorants (Optional)

Though it’s optional, we highly recommend adding colorants to your organic plastic creation to enhance the bioplastic’s visual appeal. Just add as needed until the look is achieved as you desire.

2. Necessary Tools and Equipment 

Cooking Pot
Cooking Pot

In addition to the above-mentioned materials, you will also need to gather some tools and equipment necessary for crafting bioplastics in the kitchen at home.

Here’s the list you can take a look at! 


Choose molds based on your preferences. They are necessary to shape the structure and form the bioplastic into specific objects. We recommend preparing some with diverse shapes to experiment with bioplastic formulation techniques.

Stirring Utensils

For stirring utensils, we highly suggest you prepare at least two. They are crucial to mix the ingredients thoroughly and achieve a homogenous mixture, allowing proper bioplastic molding and setting. 

Cooking Pot

It is used for cooking the bioplastic mixture. Meanwhile, heat is essential to achieve the great consistency of the bioplastic mixture. If you want to try different bioplastic cooking methods, prepare two pots.

Measuring Tools

To ensure proper measurement, you better prepare measuring tools like a kitchen scale. It’s essential to weigh each ingredient for a consistent texture of bioplastic development from starch. 

Paper Towels or Cloth

Generally, the bioplastic dough will produce excess moisture, especially during molding. So, you can use paper towels or cloth to pat it dry and even clean the working area after the bioplastic production process.

3. Safety Considerations and Precautions

Beyond knowing how to make bioplastic from potato starch, ensuring safety during steps to create starch-based plastic is no less crucial.

Remember what we mentioned above that you will deal with heat sources, such as cooking pots? In this case, you must exercise caution to prevent burns and scalds by wearing gloves and aprons. 

This equipment also protects you from skin irritation from certain ingredients, like vinegar and glycerol. In addition, you need to work in a well-ventilated area to avoid fume inhalation.

What’s more? Preparing a first aid kit is necessary just in case some accidents happen, like spills of hot liquids. 

Last but not least, don’t forget to practice proper disposal of the leftover mixture to minimize environmental impact by separating it by the kinds. 

Making Bioplastic from Potato Starch

how to make bioplastic from potato starch
Making Bioplastic from Potato Starch

Now, we will thoroughly answer the question of how to make bioplastic from potato starch in this section thoroughly. This bioplastic project guide includes the detailed process of making natural plastics from starch you can easily follow.

1. Extraction

First thing first, you must prepare the potatoes and extract them. Peel the potatoes and grate them in a bowl. Then, use a sieve of cheesecloth to extract the starch and separate it from the potato pulp.

Next, you can rinse the starch with water until it achieves a paste-like consistency. 

For the last touch, allow the starch to rest for around one night before removing the excess water. Repeat the process until you have relatively pure potato starch if needed. 

2. Mixing

Moving to another step, it’s time to mix the ingredients. Combine one cup of extracted potato starch and 1.5 cups of water, adjust if necessary. Then, add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar that works as a plasticizer, ensuring the potato starch plastic characteristics are closely similar to the traditional one. 

Now, add the glycerol of around 10-20% of the mixture to enhance potato starch plastic properties, especially the flexibility. Stir and mix all materials evenly. 

3. Heating

After mixing, you can now transfer the mixture to a cooking pot for the heating process. Put it on a low to medium flame. Then, stir the bioplastic mixture continuously to prevent sticking and achieve a smooth consistency. 

Once you see the mixture thicken, lower the temperature to around 150°C – 170°C. Keep heating for approximately 10 to 15 minutes to allow the gelatinization to occur. 

4. Molding

You can try two different methods to mold the bioplastic. For the first one, you can roll the warm bioplastic dough on a non-stick surface. Now, press the cookie cutters firmly to make the shape you want.

This method is ideal for those who want to have various potato-based bioplastic applications. 

Another one is simply to prepare a mold and spoon the hot bioplastic into it. Then, press the bioplastic gently to the mold and allow it to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. We recommend trying diverse molds, particularly three-dimensional ones to infuse a creative touch. 

5. Drying & Finishing

To speed up the bioplastic curing process, you can use a low-temperature oven. But if you are not in a rush, you can simply air-dry the molded bioplastic for several hours.

Once you make sure they are dry, you can refine the edge by sanding the rough parts. We also recommend applying a natural sealant to enhance its versatility. 

Tips and Tricks for Success

Choose the Most Starchy Potatoes
Choose the Most Starchy Potatoes

Following the homemade bioplastic instructions we have provided previously, we also cover some tips and tricks you can try for your first success!

From choosing the right potatoes to experimenting with upcycle methods, we’ve got you covered below. 

1. Choose the Most Starchy Potatoes!

We highly recommend choosing the most starchy potatoes to make bioplastic from starch. Why so? It’s because they can give you abundant yield for stock. Among all varieties, there’s nothing that can beat Russet or Yukon Gold potatoes as they produce higher starch content. 

2. Experiment with Different Ratios

Though you already know how to make bioplastic from potato starch by having read the step-by-step above, you are always welcome to experiment with different ratios. 

Try to make small batches and experiment with diverse ratios of potato starch, water, vinegar, and glycerol to find out the perfect balance of your bioplastic. For the heating, adjust it gradually and avoid rapid temperature changes as it may lead to uneven gelatinization. 

3. Handle the Issues

Brittleseness or cracking is one of the most common issues when you make bioplastic from potato starch. To address this problem, we recommend adding more glycerol to your bioplastic mixture to enhance flexibility. 

If you witness cracks, consider lowering the heat to ensure the product still keeps the necessary moisture to keep intact. For a more pliable consistency, adjust the ratio of vinegar or water.

Also, allow the plastic to cool properly before removing it from the mold to minimize cracking risks. 

4. Use Upcycle Materials for Molds

Instead of using new molds, you can explore your creativity by repurposing household items like cookie cutters, silicone ice trays, or wooden frames lined with parchment paper to shape the bioplastics. 

Not only do you have unique shapes of the plastics, but you also contribute to promoting sustainability. One thing you should do is clean and dry the alternatives before molding. 

Common Issues When to Make Bioplastic from Potato Starch

While knowing how to make bioplastic from potato starch is important to get the best eco-friendly product, acknowledging the common issues is equally crucial. For that reason, we have broken down some of the most common issues and the causes you probably encounter when making the bioplastic below. 

Quality of Final Bioplastic
Quality of Final Bioplastic

1. Issues in the Extraction Process

If you choose less starchy potatoes, you may experience extraction issues as you only get a small amount of starch. Besides, improper washing of the starch can also result in lower starch content or higher impurities (like fibers from the skin). 

Hence, you better follow our tips above to ensure you get the highest starch content from the chosen potato varieties. Also, employ thorough grating and separation to obtain pure starch.

2. Problems During Mixing and Heating

Uneven mixing is another issue you may face. It may cause inconsistent bioplastic texture. Thus, it’s essential to blend the ingredients thoroughly during the mixing process.

Not only that, but you must also maintain a steady temperature to avoid burn or undesirable consistency due to high heat. 

3. Quality of Final Bioplastic

Improper process leads to common quality issues, such as stickiness, brittleness, and uneven texture of bioplastic. To prevent brittleness, you better increase the ratio of plasticizers (e.g. glycerol or vinegar) to ensure flexibility and pliability. 

In case you have stickiness issues, it’s advisable to adjust water or vinegar proportion. And if you are dealing with uneven textures, back to the previous section, paying attention to the mixing and heating processes. 

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Final Thoughts

Potato starch, as a biodegradable material, serves as a promising resource that we can utilize for the development of eco-friendly plastic alternatives. In addition to being renewable, its use can reduce agro-waste in landfills. 

With excellent properties and wide applications of bioplastic, it’s your opportunity to explore and innovate with this eco-friendly alternative. Take this guide on how to make bioplastic from potato starch as a chance to be a hero for our planet, making it a safer and greener living place for generations to come.