One of the latest wacky trends among kids these days is playing with slime - yep, just literal slime. Gooey, moist, sticky slime.

hands squeezing slime

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What Is Slime

The original slime, released by the toy company Mattel in 1976, was a bright green, non-toxic, stretchy substance made mostly of guar gum. It was marketed to children as a toy, and came in a signature little green trashcan. Different variations of slime have been produced over the years, including versions mixed with rubber insects and eyeballs.

A quick internet search for slime turns up dozens of results for all kinds of different brands. From glow-in-the-dark to scented slimes and putties, slime is definitely having a moment right now.

Can You Make It At Home?

As kids today get more web savvy, the web gets more savvy at appealing to kids. Currently, there are all kinds of recipes out there for creating your very own customizable slime with basic ingredients you probably already have in your household.

The two most popular ways to make slime from scratch involve white glue (the most popular brand to use is Elmer's), and Borax, a mineral found in alkaline salt deposits. Borax is usually used for cleaning and sanitizing, but is also used for things like making glass and ceramics. Borax is definitely not safe to eat though, so we advise using the Borax-free slime recipe for younger kids.

girl playing with red slime

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How To Make Slime Using Borax

What You'll Need:

1 teaspoon borax
1 and 1/2 cup white glue
1 cup water
food coloring (optional)*

Instructions

1. In a mixing bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of borax into 1 cup of water. Stir well.
2. In a separate bowl, mix a 1/2 cup of white glue with a 1/2 cup of water. Mix in a few drops of food coloring if you want colored slime.
3. Combine the contents of the two bowls and stir together. The more you stir, the more the mixture will become thick and sticky. Over time, the slime will harden into more of a solid putty that can be molded and shaped.
4. Enjoy your slime! Store your concoction in a resealable plastic bag when you're done using it; preferably in the fridge to discourage mold growth. Mainly, you'll want to keep the water in the slime from evaporating and drying out your creation.

*Note: Without food coloring the slime will take on the white color of the glue. Alternatively, the white glue this recipe calls for can also be substituted for a clear glue which will produce a more translucent slime if food coloring is not added.

The Science

Slime is technically a polymer, which means the molecules within it link together to create tiny chains. Adding water to polymer substances fills the spaces between the links, resulting in a substance that's more rigid than water, but less structured than a solid. This allows the slime to stick to itself in a contained form, but also be flexible and malleable.

girl playing with blue slime

jarabee123/Shutterstock

How To Make Slime Without Borax

What You'll Need

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup white glue
1/4 cup liquid starch
food coloring (optional)
mixing bowl and mixing spoon

Instructions

1. Pour 1/4 cup of glue into your mixing bowl.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of water into the mixing bowl with the glue and stir together.
3. If you've decided to use food coloring to make a specific color, and 6 drops to the mixture.
4. Mix in 1/4 cup of liquid starch and stir. The more you stir, the more the mixture will get stretchier and more solid.
5. Enjoy your slime! When you're done, make sure to store your creation in a resealable plastic bag so it doesn't dry out or make a mess while it's not being used. Food coloring can stain certain materials, so try to keep your slime contained.

The Science

Glue is actually a liquid polymer, so the molecules in its ingredients form strands that hold together like a chain. The liquid starch reacts with the glue, making all the polymer strands link together to give the slime that sticky, gooey texture.

Variations

Make glitter slime by adding glitter to any slime recipe, or substituting white glue for a dense glitter glue.
Create rainbow slime with swirls by making smaller batches of slime with different food coloring colors. Stack the batches into layers and then twist them together to make fun, colorful patterns and rainbow whirls.
Mix it up to make fluffy slime by adding foam shaving cream to the mixture for added puffiness.
To get a glow-in-the-dark slime, add glow-in-the-dark craft paint and make sure to use a clear glue instead of white glue.

And there you have it! There are infinite colors and combinations you can blend together using glitter, sprinkles, or whatever else you wanna add to the mix.

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