How to Make Your Own Flypaper

homemade fly paper

The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

Flies can be a real nuisance: With all the gross things that they come into contact with and all of the diseases that they carry, you don’t want them in your home and around your family. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend money on products to get rid of them.

Just follow these simple steps to make your own flypaper. It works just as well as store-bought varieties, and since it’s so cheap to make, you’ll be able to switch it out more frequently. Because while it’s satisfying to see all those flies stuck to the flypaper, it sure doesn’t do anything for your décor.

Materials

You'll need just a few common household items to make your homemade flypaper. Gather together:

  • A brown paper bag
  • Scissors
  • A saucepan
  • Cookie sheets and drying racks
  • Tongs
  • A large spoon for stirring
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup water
materials to make fly paper
The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

Instructions

  1. Cut a brown paper bag into strips.

    cutting brown paper bags into strips
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 
  2. Combine equal parts corn syrup, sugar, and water in a saucepan. Heat, constantly stirring until the sugar dissolves.

    Adding ingredients to a saucepan
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 
  3. Remove the pan from the heat, submerge the strips in the sugar-water mixture, and allow them to sit long enough to become saturated.

    dipping paper bag strips into the sugar mixture
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa
  4. Remove the strips with tongs—careful, they'll be hot—and place them on drying racks overtop cookie sheets.

    letting strips dry on a cooling rack
    The Spruce / Jorge Gamboa 

Allow the strips to drip dry until they’re completely dry to the touch. It shouldn’t take long. Then, hang your flypaper wherever flies are a problem. It’s super sticky stuff, so be sure to hang your homemade strips out of the way of people and pets.

Warnings, Tips, and Ideas

One-fourth cup of corn syrup, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 1/4 cup of water make for a lot of flypaper, so don't use more than those amounts in your initial batch (unless you plan to hang the strips in an area dense with flies, such as in a barn or horse stall). The paper strips will be hot after you heat them, so resist the temptation to just pluck them out of the pan—use the tongs.

If your grocery store doesn't offer paper bags, save restaurant takeout bags or use paper lunch sacks. A roll of Kraft paper from the dollar store will also do the trick. For maximum stickiness, allow the paper strips to sit in the sugar water mixture for several hours or overnight.

Your homemade flypaper will dry out over time. When it loses its stickiness, just wet it again, or replace it with a fresh batch.

More Ways to Catch Flies

If you don't want to mess around with sticky flypaper, you can also make a fly trap in just a few minutes. And, there are plenty of other inexpensive ways to get rid of flies. If you're battling a swarm of fruit flies in your kitchen or bathroom—they can thrive and bring disease and bacteria to even the cleanest environments—get rid of them quickly with a simple, homemade trap.

fly paper with flies stuck to it
Room 76 / Getty Images