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specific slime experiments
make Slime from PVA or PolyvinylAlcohol?
to make Slime from Guar Gum?
more information about Slime
Welcome to the fascinating world of non-Newtonian
fluids! They get their name from the fact that they
do not fit Newton's laws of how true liquids behave
(specifically, in how they react to shearing
pastes and glues, gelatin, and ketchup are all
non-Newtonian fluids. There are two main types of
non-Newtonian fluids, rheopectic and
thixotropic. The slimes, oozes, globs etc. on
this page are rheopectic, which means they
show an increase in apparent viscosity (resistence
to flow) with time under a constantly applied stress
(they do not have a well defined viscocity). They
resist flow dependent on the velocity of flow. If
something acts on them with a small amount of force
(if you stir them slowly, or let you fingers slowly
sink into them) they won't offer as much resistance
as they would if a greater force acted on them. If
you punch a good stout ooze, it should resist about
as much as a brick wall. They fight back.
Thixotropic fluids, on the other hand, tend to
have more apparent viscocity under low shear stress
and less under higher shear stress. Paints typically
are thixotropic fluids; they flow easily when being
brushed on, and stay put once applied. ¹
If you are ever so
inclined to study fluids a bit more seriously, you
will soon realize that these are very simplified
definitions, and that there are many more types of
fluids. But these are a good start:
resistance of fluid to a flow.
a fluid whose apparant viscocity changes
with applied shear force (Newtonian fluids
have constant viscocity)
apparant velocity increases with duration of
apparant velocity decreases with duration of
One of the simplest
of the slimes, and a favorite among schoolteachers.
Not terribly toxic, but watch the kiddies so they
don't eat it. It produces a lovely, white (unless
you color it), opaque goo. It will dry out, so store
it sealed and refrigerated (zip lock bags work
well). It also has a limited shelf life, and may
eventually develop mold (horrors!) It (usually)
cleans up easily. If it dries on anything, try
soaking in water. It is best not to set it on wood,
fabric, or any other surface that does not clean up
This is the quick and easy
- Teaspoon (or
- Big jar or
measuring cup (1 qt. or 1l)
- Bowl - 2 quart
- Measuring cup
- Borax powder
- 4 ounce (120
ml) bottle of white glue (not school glue!)
- Water (pref.
- Food coloring
Pour the glue into
the jar. Fill the empty glue bottle with water, and
add to the jar. Stir. You can add food coloring here
if you want to be festive - a few drops will do.
Pour one cup (240 ml) of distilled water into the
bowl and add 1 teaspoon (5ml) of borax powder.
Slowly add the glue
mixture to the bowl, stirring as you do so. Place
the thick slime that forms into your hand and knead
until it feels dry. (There will be an excess of
water remaining in the bowl.) It will be wet,
stringy and messy at first, but the more you play
with it, the better it mixes and the less sticky and
firmer it becomes. Store your slime in a zip-lock in
the fridge. That's it!
A slightly firmer variation
This makes a
firmer, dryer slime that will even bounce if it is
- Mix 4 tsp. (20
ml) water with 5 tsp. (25 ml) Elmer's or other
white glue in a small bowl.
- Add 1 tsp. (5
ml) talcum powder and stir until thoroughly
- Add 1 or 2
tsp. (5 or 10 ml) saturated borax and water
solution. Stir four a few minutes.
- Remove the
glob from the bowl and stirrer. Knead it for a
while and it will become drier. You will
probably need to wipe off some of the excess
moisture from your hands with a paper towel from
time to time. Don't be tempted to wipe the glob
with a paper towel as it will only stick. You
can add a little talcum to the surface if you
are having trouble getting it dry enough. Store
in a zip lock in the fridge.
Artisan methods: design your
The thing that
makes this particular slime work is the bonding of
polyvinylacetate (PVAC) molecules by the Borax
(sodium tetraborate). The molecules (polymers) are
long to begin with, and they are tangled, which is
why the glue is so viscous. Once the Borax links up
some of the molecules, it becomes even more viscous.
Not all of the molecules hook up, though. The more
that do, the more viscous it becomes, until it
reaches a point where it barely flows at all. The
amount of attachment that occurs among the PVAC
molecules depends in part on the concentration of
Borax solution used. This is where we get the
latitude for making different consistencies of
All of these
variations use the same simple ingredients: a
solution of Elmer's glue, and a solution of Borax.
The only variations are in the solution
concentrations, and in the ratios that the solutions
are mixed together.
Most basic recipes
suggest a 4% Borax (in distilled water) solution for
an average slime. This would be app. 1 teaspoon to
half a cup (you've got it easy if you use metric!)
The glue to water
ratio is almost always 1:1, though I have
encountered 1:.75. This really won't effect the
viscosity, however, the amount of water that the
slime retains does effect its "stickiness".
The typical glue to
Borax solution ratio is 1:1. Ratios of 2:1 and 3:1
are often cited. I have seen them as high as 7:1,
but usually the Borax solution was more
concentrated. If you want to experiment with making
different consistencies of slime, I would suggest
two things. First, measure everything metrically, if
possible. This makes it much simpler to keep track
of concentrations and ratios. Second, start with
basic solutions of 50% glue and 4% Borax, mixing
increasing and decreasing the concentration of Borax
solution, all else being the same. The more
concentrated the Borax, the more viscous the
outcome. You can actually produce something like a
hard rubber ball if the concentration is correct.
The lower the concentration, and the closer you
approach a wet, sticky liquid. Keep notes so you can
repeat the results that you like. If you can't quite
get the consistency you want, vary the amount of
water that goes into the mix.
Boric acid and borax method
This formula uses
both boric acid and borax to produce a slime that
seems drier and stiffer. Mix a solution of 100ml
water (preferably distilled), 10ml rubbing alcohol,
and 1 to 2ml boric acid powder. Mix well 20 - 30ml
of this solution with approximately 50ml of white
glue. Make a borax solution of 1 - 2ml borax to
100ml water. Add the borax solution a teaspoon or so
at a time to the glue mixture. Stir continuously,
adding borax solution until the desired consistency
is reached. As with the other white glue slimes,
kneading will make the slime drier and more viscous.
If the slime feels too wet or sticky after kneading,
knead in a little more of the borax solution.
Gel type glues
Over the past few
years several brands of gel type glues have been
introduced. Most of these make excellent slimes, and
are able to be stretched into large, clear
membranes. These slimes can be made to be very
elastic and have a nice color and consistency. I
have personally experimented with Elmer's School
Glue Gel, but there are several similar products
available from other manufacturers. Use the quick
and easy method or the boric acid and borax method,
above. If they are a little sticky when they are
stored, they will tend to be stickier after a while.
If this happens, see the following paragraph.
Slime overly sticky or runny?
If your white glue
or gel glue based slime is too sticky or thin
(runny), first try kneading it for a while. Working
it in your hands will help to mix things up better,
as well as remove some of the moisture. If it is
still not quite right, mix 1 part borax with 10
parts water. Dunk the slime into this solution,
remove and knead. The more you do this, the more
"stout" the slime becomes (to a point).
This is often
referred to as "institutional" or "commercial"
slime. This is the type that is generally found in
toy stores. It is a little trickier to make, not
quite as safe, and more difficult to get the main
ingredient for (polyvinyl alcohol) than is the
Elmer's slime. But it produces a superior slime.
Longer lasting, more transparent, and with a visual
and tactile appeal that is more, well, "slimy".
Assuming you can
get hold of PVA, it is a fairly simple process to
make slime. First, mix a 4% solution of PVA and
water. 4 % would be 40 grams of PVA to 960 ml of
distilled water (of course you can adjust and make
more or less). Wear a mask and have plenty of
ventilation when doing this! It helps to have a
heated magnetic laboratory stirrer (don't use one of
your good kitchen saucepans - it's best to use Pyrex
lab ware). Slowly, gradually, mix the PVA into the
distilled water. Heat it slowly, stirring the whole
while, until the PVA goes into solution. This will
take 15 minutes or more. Do not let it boil. Once
cool, the solution can be stored in a stoppered
The 4% Borax
solution is made by dissolving 4 grams of borax into
100 ml of distilled water. It should go into
solution without heating. This can also be stored in
a stoppered bottle.
Mix the two
solutions in a glass or ceramic bowl. Do not use
plastic. Start with the PVA solution, and stir in
the coloring, if used, and borax solution. The
standard ratio is 5 parts PVA solution to 1 part
Borax solution. This works well, but ratios have
been quoted bother slime makers as 6:1, 20:3, and as
high as 200:15 (app. 13:1). The best bet is to start
with the basic 4% solutions at 5:1, adjusting the
ratio as necessary to get the consistency you want.
Store in a sealed container. No need to refrigerate.
Keep it clean and it should last indefinitely.
Some archival art
glues are actually a 5% PVA solution. It is almost
certainly more expensive to purchase the glue than
it would be to purchase the PVA, but, if you do
happen to have a bottle around the house that you
probably wouldn't use otherwise, it should work
(check the ingredients!) PVA is also sold as a mold
release agent for fiberglass molding, etc. Check
with supply houses for molding, boat repair, or auto
painting. Also, some soluble bags used in hospitals
are made of PVA. If anyone knows how to make slime
from these, I would like to hear about it.
Guar gum Slime
This produces a
good slime, but is tricky to make, and guar gum must
be purchased from a chemical supplier.
The guar solution
is made by adding a measure of guar gum to distilled
water and stirring to dissolve. It will thicken more
if you bring it to a simmer for a few minutes. Skim
off the scum that forms on top and allow to cool.
The Borax solution
should be 4% , as with the above slimes. Of all the
slime recipes I have collected over the years, none
vary so widely in concentrations and proportions as
those involving guar gum. Typically, the guar is in
1% to 6% solution (though I have seen it up to 12%),
and the ratios of guar to Borax solutions range from
10:1 up to 35:1. Start with a Borax solution of 4%,
a guar gum solution of 5% and a mix ratio of 20:1
(guar to Borax). Experiment with the guar solution
concentration as well as the ratio that the two
concentrations are mixed together until you get the
consistency you want.
To mix, pour the
guar gum solution in a bowl (preferably glass; not
plastic), add coloring if you so desire (a few of
drops of food coloring works,) and then add the
Borax solution. Stir. Guar gum slime improves with
age, so let it sit a couple of days for it to be at
its peak sliminess. If some happens to get in the
carpet, try cleaning with a little vinegar, followed
Cornstarch makes a
classic, sticky, messy slime. It is insanely simple
to make. There are only 2 ingredients, dry
cornstarch and water (food coloring optional). The
lines are very thin between dry cornstarch, slime,
and cloudy white starch water, so mix slowly and add
the water only a little at a time. This stuff will
make a mess, no matter how careful you are. Start
with 2 parts cornstarch in a bowl (now is the time
to add the food coloring). Slowly, add 1 part water,
mixing with your hands (there really is no other
way) to get all of the powder wet. Have another
measure of water handy, and drop in a little at a
time, mixing as you go. It will take much less water
than you might think to change the consistency much,
so add only a few drops at a time. You will know
when it is the right amount, as the wet powder will
stick together and suddenly start behaving very
oddly. This slime has some of the weirdest
properties. It will flow fairly quickly into the
bottom of the bowl, and your fingers will sink into
it readily, but just try and punch it...
A strange variation
I have not yet attempted is 1 part cornstarch to 1
part Elmer's glue.
Electro-active cornstarch slime
Mix 3/4 cup (175ml)
of cornstarch with 2 cups (475ml) of vegetable oil.
Put it into a tumbler in the refrigerator until it
is chilled. Remove from the refrigerator, stir to
mix (it will have separated), and let warm just
enough so that it will flow. Find a block of
Styrofoam, about 1by 6 by 6 inches (25x150x150mm -
not at all critical), and rub it on your hair (or a
wool sweater, or a cat, etc.) to build up a static
charge. Tip the container of slime. It should flow
slowly. Place the charged Styrofoam just in front of
it (an inch or so), in the path of the flow. The
slime should stop flowing and seem to solidify.
Wiggle the Styrofoam, and the slime will follow it
somewhat, and pieces of it may even break off.
Remove the Styrofoam, and the flow will resume.
You can create
homemade "flubber" by using Metamucil. Place a
teaspoon of the product into a shaker jar with 8-10
ounces of water. Shake vigorously for about 60
seconds, then pour the contents into a standard size
cereal bowl. (Here's where it gets fun) Place the
bowl into the Microwave. Run at full power for 4-5
minutes....until the goo starts to "rise". It will
look like bread-dough rising in a bowl, but much
faster. When the bubbles are just about to overflow
the bowl, turn off the microwave. Let it cool
slightly and repeat the. The more times you repeat
this process, the more "rubbery" the flubber gets.
After 5 or 6 runs,
pour the goo onto a plate or cookie pan. With a
spoon, stir the goo while it's cooling. (Be very
careful, as this concoction will burn your fingers
right down to the bone in a nanosecond, until some
cooling has taken place.)
Once it's cooled,
you have a "non-stick" Flubber. Take a knife and cut
it into different-size pieces. You can shape it into
all kinds of neat things... use our imagination.
If your first batch
is "sticky" to the touch, you've used too much
water. If prepared properly, it should feel cold and
clammy to the touch, but should not stick to your
fingers or anything else. If it does, try another
batch with less water.
Flubber will keep
for months if you store it in a baggy...it will last
even longer if you refrigerate it.
what "movie" slime is made of. It is an organic
thickener used in many of the foods we eat. Mixed
with a little water and coloring and allowed to "set
up", it makes one of the most beautiful of all the
slimes (see "Ghostbusters"). Unfortunately, it is
organically based and tends to stink/dry out fairly
quickly. Not really recommended for home use.
However, if you really feel compelled to make a
batch, try some of the motion picture supply houses
listed on the web.
Baking soda and cornstarch
A variation on the
cornstarch recipe. Uses 1:1 baking soda to
cornstarch instead of just the cornstarch.
Supposedly makes a less sticky slime.
Mix 1 part white
glue (regular Elmer's; not school glue) with 1 part
liquid laundry starch (these ratios vary; some
sources suggest 1 part starch to two parts glue).
Stir quite a bit, and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Knead the daylights out of it. It will take a while,
but it will transform into a very nice ooze. If it
is too sticky add a few drops more starch. Store
mix 1 part white glue with 1.5 parts starch.
Proponents of this method prefer to let the solution
sit for several hours, then pouring off the excess
starch before kneading.
Green jelly ooze
This makes a nice
jelly like ooze. First, you need to make some iron
acetate. Do this by placing some steel wool in a
jar, and adding enough white vinegar to cover it.
Let this stand for five days to a week. Pour off
some of the mixture into another. In yet another
glass receptacle, add equal parts (a tablespoon or
so) of this mixture and household ammonia. Use plain
ammonia, not sudsy, and not scented. Instant weird
green jelly ooze. Note: I haven't gotten this one to
work correctly. If you know this slime, and I am
leaving something out, please let me know.
You can't really
make this at home (unless you have the resources of
Dow Corning) but a lot of folks are curious as to
what Silly Putty™ is made of.
Silly Putty™ (Dow Corning 3179 Dilatant Compound)
Percentages by weight.
Siloxane, hydroxy-terminated polymers with boric
17% Silica, quartz crystalline
9% Thixotrol ST
1% Decamethyl cyclopentasiloxane
1% Titanium Dioxide
Not technically a
slime, but it somehow seems to belong here all the
- 1 cup (250 ml)
- 1/2 cup (125
- 2 tsp. (10 ml)
cream of tartar
- 1 cup (250 ml)
- Few drops of
In a pan heat
2-tbsp. (10 ml) vegetable oil. Add the other
ingredients, and cook 3 minutes. Stir constantly.
Let the dough cool. Store in plastic wrap in the
- 1 cup (250 ml)
- 1/3 cup (83
- 6-8 tbsp.
(30-40 ml) water
- Food coloring,
Add the water
gradually, using only enough to produce a workable
consistency. To set, bake at 300° F until hard.
Here are a few
other recipes that have been sent to me. I haven't
tried them yet, so no guarantees!
"Just a quick FYI
for your interest: many years ago I found out that
one can make a substance somewhat like Silly Putty
by simply mixing sodium silicate (which used to be
available in drugstores (no longer, alas!) and which
was also used to coat eggs - it sometimes was
carried as 'egg preserver'!) with everyday rubbing
alcohol. The two combine to form a jell-like
substance that exhibits flow somewhat like putty.
The ratios are not terribly critical."
- Submitted by
"One of my students
went home and tried to duplicate the slime, but
didn't have borax so he used Chlorox (liquid laundry
bleach) instead. The result, which he brought in,
was not slimy and much more like "Silly Putty". You
might want to give it a try."
- Submitted by
Cassandra L Whitsett
Slime rules and safety
- Slimes can
wreak havoc with plumbing, so don't throw them
down the drain.
- Always wear a
mask when mixing PVA.
- Use distilled
water for all solutions for best results.
- Keep slimes
away from anything they could damage. They can
dry into fabric, and any dyes they may have can
stain. All slimes can potentially harm surfaces,
small children when playing with slimes so they
do not ingest any.
- Some people
are allergic to Borax powder. Wearing rubber
gloves when mixing should help.
- Slimes using
Borax solutions work best if you pour the Borax
solution into the other solution, rather than
the other way around. Coloring should be added
before the Borax.
- Use metric
measurements whenever possible. This will make
it simpler to experiment with different
concentrations and ratios.