Slime took over the world a few years ago. There were kids with Instagram accounts dedicated to making and selling slime that had hundreds of thousands of followers. There was a glue shortage at the beginning of 2017 because everybody was making slime.
Depending on the type of slime you want to make, you'll only need to pull together a few common ingredients to begin your Slime Empire because it's still fun in 2020.
Part of the appeal of making slime is that it's very easy to do but results in hours of entertainment (yes, even for adults). It stretches, condenses, feels weird, can smell a little strange and can look remarkably delicious.
Making slime is just using basic science - a chemical reaction takes place that allows for the formation of a polymer. Most slime recipes include the use of sodium tetraborate or borax which you can find at places like Woolworths, Coles and Bunnings.
An added bonus: Working with slime allows you to teach your kids about Non-Newtonian fluids, a wonderful type of liquid that defies Newton's Law of Viscosity. That means that it acts differently under different stresses. You can pull it apart if you're fast, but if you punch it, it feels more solid. Take that, Isaac.
Here are the most common slime formulations and how to make them:
Ingredients: Glue, Borax, Food Colouring, Water
Gak is one of the most common slime recipes because it uses everyday items you can find in a well stocked house (I know I don't personally carry any Borax at home, but). It's also one of the simplest methods and doesn't require too much exact chemistry to really get the mixture right. The glue contains polyvinyl acetate that reacts with the borax to form your gooey substance.
- Squeeze a bottle of glue into a bowl and then fill the glue bottle up with warm water and add that into the mix
- Add your food colouring - you don't need much! - and set aside.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of Borax with 1/2 cup of warm water and dissolve.
- Add Borax solution to the mixture.
- Commence frenzied mixing
Ingredients: Cornflour, Water
Oobleck is one of the lesser-desired non-Newtonian slimes. It's the creepy uncle. The weird, distant cousin. But it is also really easy to make and because it doesn't use borax or glue, it's the safest by a mile. Once it's completely dried, it's very easy to clean up too.
- Add 2 cups of cornflour to 1 cup of water in a bowl
Yes, that's it. You can obviously add food colouring too so you're oobleck takes on a nice, soft glow but this is definitely the easiest recipe if you're just keen on playing with some goop quickly and messily.
Ingredients: Polyvinyl Alcohol, Borax, Food Colouring
One of the most reliable and long-lasting forms of slime uses polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and borax to create a muck that lasts a little longer and is a little tougher than the other forms on this list. The major issue with it is you have to find polyvinyl alcohol, which is much harder to find and purchase than your standard PVA glue. You can find some PVA at online stores, so if you've caught the slime-bug, you may want to load up.
Fortunately, the method is simple and the slime that comes out the other end is best in class because PVA is what you see used in the manufacturing of toy slime.
- Add 100ml of PVA to a bowl
- Add food colouring
- Mix 1 teaspoon of Borax with 1/2 cup of warm water and dissolve
- Add 10ml Borax solution to the bowl (try and keep the PVA/Borax ratio at 10:1)
- Frenzied stirring will form your slime!
Ingredients: PVA Glue, Saline Solution, Baking Soda, Shaving Cream, Food Colouring
While slime is great, fluffy slime has a much more aesthetically-pleasing look. The shaving cream makes it look more like a cloud and gives it a softer touch. It also creates more mess in the creation part, depending on how crazy you go with the cream.
- Add 4 cups of shaving cream to a large bowl
- Add a couple of drops of food colouring to the mixture
- Add 1/2 cup of PVA glue, mix thoroughly and then add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the saline solution and whip yourself into a frenzy, the slime should start to form.
This article has been updated since its original publication.