AbstractA glue stick is comprised of solidified adhesive mounted in a lipstick-like push-up tube. Whey is a byproduct of cheese making. Direct disposal of whey can cause environmental pollution. The objective of this study was to use whey protein isolate (WPI) as a natural polymer along with polyvinylpyrrolidone (PVP) to develop safe glue sticks. Pre-dissolved WPI solution, PVP, sucrose, 1,2-propanediol (PG), sodium stearate, defoamer, and preservative were mixed and dissolved in water at 90 °C and then molded in push-up tubes. Chemical composition, functional properties (bonding strength, glue setting time, gel hardness, extension/retraction, and spreading properties), microstructure, and storage stability of the prototypes were evaluated in comparison with a commercial control. Results showed that all WPI/PVP prototypes had desirable bonding strength and exhibited faster setting than PVP prototypes and control. WPI could reduce gel hardness and form less compact and rougher structures than that of PVP, but there was no difference in bonding strength. PVP and sucrose could increase the hygroscopicity of glue sticks, thus increasing storage stability. Finally, the optimized prototype GS3 (major components: WPI 8.0%, PVP 12.0%, 1,2-propanediol 10.0%, sucrose 10.0%, and stearic sodium 7.0%) had a comparable functionality to the commercial control. Results indicated that whey protein could be used as an adhesive polymer for glue stick formulations, which could be used to bond fiber or cellulose derived substrates such as paper.