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How to Make Slime

woman holding slime
Making slime is fun, easy and educational. MamiGibbs/Getty Images

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A few years ago, homemade slime (sometimes known as Gak or goop) became all the rage, with all-in-one kits showing up on store shelves and YouTube tutorials saturating iPads everywhere. Perhaps this explosion was the next logical step in a worldwide push to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. Or maybe the activity took a cue from fidget spinners and snowballed into a fad.

Either way, making slime is an epic way to introduce them to the concept of non-Newtonian liquids, which act as solids sometimes and liquids in other situations. Long strings of molecules called polymers are ultra-important to slime recipes because they act as liquids until other chemicals are introduced, giving slime its somewhere-between-a-liquid-and-a-solid makeup, thus turning it into a non-Newtonian liquid.

A typical slime recipe involves school glue and borax (and some food coloring). School glue has an ingredient called polyvinyl acetate, a liquid polymer. Borax, often used as a laundry additive, is another name for the chemical sodium tetraborate. When the two ingredients are combined, the sodium tetraborate causes the polyvinyl acetate molecules in the glue to stick together and create one big putty-like polymer (a process called cross-linking).

Sure, you can purchase ready-made slime in a can, but where's the fun in that? We've got some recipes for super-satisfying slime concoctions below.

Recipes for Making Slime

There are many recipes of slime to literally experiment with. Take a look at some of these options and try one (or all)! Use some caution and common sense when making slime, however. Wash hands thoroughly when you're done (better yet, wear gloves) and do not make slime with children under age 3.

Classic Slime Without Borax

The folks at Elmer's Glue have come up with a litany of creative slime recipes to test. Here's an easy one for classic slime that's ideal for beginners.

Materials:

  • 5 fluid ounces (160 ml) of Elmer's Color Glue (or plain white glue if you don't care about color)
  • 1/2 tablespoon (7.5 ml) of baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of contact lens solution
  • 1 bowl and spoon
  • Measuring cup

Instructions:

  1. Pour the glue into a bowl.
  2. Measure out the baking soda. Add to glue and mix thoroughly.
  3. Mix in the contact lens solution. Keep mixing until the slime gets noticeably more difficult to mix.
  4. Remove slime from bowl and knead with your hands to help it really take shape.

*Helpful tip — if you notice that the slime is too sticky when kneading, simply add an additional 1/4 tablespoon (3.25 ml) of contact lens solution and knead again. Keep adding at the same increment as needed.

Stretchy Universe Slime

What kid isn't obsessed with the stars, planets and universe in general? Try out this super cool slime recipe from the good people at NASA to create your own bit of the galaxy right in your home!

Materials:

  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) clear school glue (you can use white glue, but your slime universe will be less dark and mysterious)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of borax
  • 1-1/2 cups (360 ml) water
  • Blue and red food coloring
  • Two bowls and spoon
  • Measuring cup
  • Glitter
  • Wax paper

Instructions:

  1. Mix the glue with 1/2 cup of water in one bowl.
  2. Add food coloring to the mixture. NASA recommends 3 drops of red and 6 drops of blue. This will turn the mixture purple.
  3. Mix 1 cup (240 ml) of lukewarm water with the borax in the other bowl. Stir until the borax is COMPLETELY dissolved. This can take some time.
  4. Add the purple glue mixture into the borax water mixture. Stir slowly while you're doing this.
  5. Stir as much as you can. Then, dip your hands in and knead.
  6. Remove the slime from the bowl and place on top of the wax paper.
  7. Flatten the slime and add glitter to the top. Light-colored glitter will stand out more against the purple slime universe.
  8. Fold slime in half to trap the glitter and press it again. Keep folding and pressing until you're satisfied with the appearance of your slime.

Fluffy Slime

The great thing about fluffy slime is that most of the ingredients are already lying around your house. Plus, it's just so fluffy! The kid experts at Chuck E. Cheese's recommend this easy recipe for fluffy slime.

Materials:

  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) white shaving cream
  • 8 ounces (120 milliliters) school glue
  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) laundry starch
  • Food coloring
  • Measuring cup
  • Large container

Instructions:

  1. Add the glue to the large container.
  2. Add food coloring to the glue as desired and stir it in.
  3. Thoroughly stir in the shaving cream.
  4. Pour in the laundry starch and stir. It might need to be manipulated by hand, rather than spoon.
  5. Continue mixing and kneading until the mixture becomes less sticky and more solid.

Slime Without Glue

Here's a recipe for slime, that doesn't use borax or glue, from Dummies.com:

Materials:

  • Suave Kids 3-in-1 Shampoo (You can start with 2 tablespoons [30 ml] and add more to make a bigger batch)
  • Shaving cream
  • Salt
  • Mixing spoon
  • Mixing bowl

Instructions:

  1. Pour shampoo into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add shaving cream to bowl. The ratio of shampoo to shaving cream should be 1:1, so if you use 2 tablespoons of shampoo, use 2 tablespoons of shaving cream
  3. Stir ingredients together.
  4. Stir until your mixture is a uniform consistency.
  5. Add salt. The ratio here is 6:1. So, for 2 tablespoons of shampoo, use 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of salt
  6. Mix until the concoction is smooth in texture.
  7. Freeze for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove and play!

Note: To keep slime from drying out, store it in a sealed sandwich bag. Don't use foil or wax paper, as the slime will stick to those.

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