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Slime (also called GAK or Flubber) was first created by Mattel toys in 1976. Like the name implies, it was designed to be gross with a glossy green shine and cold slimy feel to it that would ooze all over the place. The product even came sealed in mini green plastic "trash cans." The trash cans had lids on them to keep it from drying out. Parents and teachers hated it, but kids loved to play with it and get into mischief. From pretend "nose snot" to getting a person to accidently dip their hand in a bowl of it, slime had all sorts of fun pranks that could be played with it.
Science Behind Slime
Slime is considered to be a Non-Newtonian fluid which means it behaves like both a solid and liquid at the same time. The famous scientist Issac Newton stated that regular liquids, like water, are only affected by temperature and pressure. If something breaks this rule and goes against what Newton stated, we call it Non-Newtonian. Slime does not obey Newtons fluid rule. Non-Newtonian fluids react when a force is applied to it. This is what causes slime to behave so strangely when you play with it. Other famous toys with this property include Silly Putty and Play-Doh which were developed decades earlier and is seen as an early predecessor to slime.
When the glue and borax in slime combine, it forms long strands of cross-linked fibers, similar to spaghetti noodles and creates a polymer. Just like a bowl of cooked spaghetti, if you slowly run your fingers over it, the pasta moves away and allows your hand to glide smoothly through it. However, it you push it down quickly, it pushes back hard and acts like it is more of a solid. This is why slime feels so weird when you handle it.
When slime is made without borax (sometimes referred to as "glop"), a different process happens similar to what makes quicksand feel both like a liquid and solid at the same time. One slime recipe uses just cornstarch and water. This forms what is called an obelisk which is a mixture of small solid particles surrounded by water molecules. It creates a Non-Newtonian fluid since the water molecules let things slide, but if you press firmly, the cornstarch solids compress and take over after squeezing out the water that was surround them. However, the water later surrounds the particles against. Over time the water molecules will eventually separate on their own and the mixture will become mostly solid if you don't stir it.
The original slime formula sold by Mattel was made from guar gum, which is a common food additive that comes from guar beans and is used to thicken things, like milk shakes and frappuccinos, mixed with borax. Borax is a white powdered substance that easily dissolves in water. It contains the element boron and has many uses. Borax is often used in detergents to clean clothes, glazes to coat pots, and even cosmetics. It is also used as a pesticide.
Slime was a huge hit for Mattel and they continued to release new and improved versions of it up until 1990. One of the goals of the new product releases was to make it even more disgusting, such as adding fake worms, insects and even eyeballs to the mix. The Slime Master board game sold by Mattel in the late 1970's revolved around slime and not getting your board pieces hit by it when you played the game.
Given the immense popularity of it, other toy companies came out with their own versions. The first was for Masters of the Universe and the Hordak’s Horde Slime Pit. [Kenner]] used it extensively for their Real Ghostbusters toys based on the 1984 [[Ghost Busters] hit film. A pink and purple version of slime came out in 1987 to create Ecto-Plazm Play Gel. More Ghostbusters toys were created by Kenner, such as the Banshee Bomber, Squisher, Sludge Bucket, and the Green Ghost that would in one way or another involve lots of messy slime.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle (TMNT) also had a set of toys that revolved around slime. One of the more grosser ones was called Flushomatic that would ooze slime through a play toilet seat on one of the TMNT toys below it. The Dissect an Alien game by Mad Scientist came out in 1986 and was one of the most disgusting uses of slime. It came with a toy alien that had plastic organs mixed with slime that had to be dissected out of its body.
Slime became even more popular after Nickelodeon, a popular TV Network for kids, started featuring it on their shows. For example, on "You Can't Do That on Television," if someone said "I don't know," a bucket of green slime would be dumped on them. It was later used on many of their game shows, like "Double Dare" where contestants would compete on an obstacle courses to get their "reward" if they won, which was a huge bucket of slime dropped on their heads.
Slime is still very popular today all around the world. There are countless YouTube videos with millions of views on them showing people playing with slime and even how to make their own DIY slime at home.
Slime is considered to be non-hazardous when used as directed and with the correct amounts of chemicals when being made.. However, it should never be eaten and only used as it was intended. If swallowed, a Poison Control Center should be contacted. Slime can stain clothing, carpets, furniture, and wood surfaces. When food coloring is added, it will stain things including skin even more. When experimenting with it or making your own version of it, wear chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, and a chemical-resistant apron. Please review current Material Safety Data Sheets for additional safety, handling, and disposal information.
The materials used to make slime can be dangerous if not handled properly. The main ingredient, borax is also used as pesticide and can cause stomach discomfort and pain if ingested. Some children may even get seizures from ingesting it.. Slime can also be a skin and eye irritant. If a person is going to be getting slime around their eyes, goggles should always be worn. There are reports of some children getting severe hand burns after being in contact with borax slime. You should avoid breathing in borax powder. Be sure to have an adult read all the ingredient labels to make sure it is safe for you to use. We also provide safer versions of slime that do not use borax, such as ones made just from cornstarch. We suggest using this version if you have any safety concerns.
Slime will stain, and if it dries out, getting the slime spot clean will be more of a challenge. You can clean slime that has dropped on something by soaking it in water. Hot water may be more effective. Bleach or other cleaning products may be needed to remove colored slime stains. White vinegar can be very helpful to remove more stubborn slime stains. If you get any slime your hair, mayonnaise can help get it out. Never throw slime down the sink, since it can seriously clog drains. This is especially true for cornstarch based versions that can later dry up and form a hard solid after sitting in pipes.
Making Your Own Slime
There are many ways to make your own slime at home. This not only saves you money, but also lets you make your own special versions of it, like rainbow or magnetic slime. When making these slime recipes, if you are a kid, make sure you have adult supervision to help you out. Please read the above Safety warnings.
This is the most basic version and uses borax powder and Elmer's white glue.
1.) Get a jar and fill it with 4 ounces (half cup) of Elmer's glue (Elmer's is the best one to use). You can use white or clear glue. The clear glues gives it more of a shiny translucent look. Next, add a half cup of water to the jar and stir it up. You can add some food color, like green or any color you like at this point to give it some fun colors.
2.) In a separate container add 1 cup of water mixed with a teaspoon (5 ml) of Borax Powder. Be careful handling the borax. You can get borax powder at most markets in the detergent section, such as 20 Mule Team Borax. There are alternative versions of slime listed below that don't use borax.
3.) Slowly add the glue solution to the borax/water solution you just mixed.
4.) It will start to get "slimy" which is what you want. Use your hands and knead it like you would bread dough. You will probably have extra water still in the bowl which is fine. The more you knead it, the firmer and less sticky it will get. Keep going until you get the consistency you want. Your slime is ready for action.
5.) Always store your slime in a sealed container, like a zip-lock bag to keep it from drying out.
Slime Without Borax
Borax is one of best materials for slime, but many people don't have it, or have safety concerns using borax powder. Here are some great alternatives. Remember to always store your slime in an air-tight sealed container to keep it from drying out.
This is probably the easiest way to make slime and the safest in terms of ingredients.
1.) Just dump some cornstarch in a bowl and add warm water. It is important to use warm water. Keep adding water until you get the slimy consistency you want. As a general rule, you will probably want to start with twice as much cornstarch as water.
2.) Add your food coloring to make it look good and gross.
3.) If you are having troubles mixing it, warming up the mixture in the microwave can help. Just keep mixing it until your slime is done.
Powdered Fiber Slime
This method is very easy too and just uses food fiber, like the ones they sell at markets and drugstores to help keep people regular. You might have some at home already. Just follow the cornstarch slime recipe above, but use fiber instead of the cornstarch. You may need to warm it up several times to get it to mix.
Liquid Detergent Slime
This technique is very good alternative if you don't have borax powder, but have liquid laundry detergent at home. Just substitute the laundry detergent for the borax and use the classic slime recipe. It actually uses borax too, but in a form that is already mixed in the detergent. Adjust the amount of detergent to get your desired consistency. Most laundry detergents have borax in them, but read the box to be certain.
Liquid Starch Slime
This method uses liquid laundry starch instead of the borax. Follow the classic slime recipe.
Slime Without Glue or Borax
This method does not use glue or borax.
1.) Put 1/2 cup of shampoo in a bowl. Thick shampoos work best.
2.) If the shampoo is clear or white, add some food color and/or glitter for effects. Stir well.
3.) Add 2 and 1/4 cups of cornstarch and stir until done.
4.) If you want a more runny gooier slime, add some water one tablespoon at a time. You may need 5-6 spoons. Keep stirring until you get the consistency you want.
5.) Knead the slime until you get it to be the right consistency.
Shampoo and Salt Slime
If you don't have glue, or don't even have cornstarch, you can still make slime with this simple method.
1.) Put some thick shampoo in a bowl. If you also have body wash, it will make the slime thicker. Add equal parts shampoo and body wash.
2.) Add salt until the mixture thickens. Keep adding salt until thick.
3.) Place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Your slime is ready to play with. You might need to freeze it again if it becomes too runny.
Shampoo and Toothpaste Slime
This is not as gooey as the other methods, but in a pinch it is still a lot of fun and uses ingredients almost everyone will have on hand.
1.) Add thick shampoo to a bowl. 2-in-1 shampoo works even better if you have it.
2.) Add color if want.
3.) Squeeze in some toothpaste and keep mixing until you get a nice slime consistency.
Hand Soap and Sugar Slime
Here is a simple slime recipe using only hand soap and sugar. It requires waiting 2 days for it to set, but the results are good.
1.) Add about 20 pumps of liquid hand soap to a bowl.
2.) Add about 1 teaspoon of granulated sugar to the mixture and stir well using a wooden stick until it is cloudy in color and the solution is completely mixed. You can also add color at this point if desired.
3.) Cover and let it stand for 2 days.
4.) Place in the freezer for 2 hours before using.
You can make many different slime variations. Here are some of the more popular ones.
Glitter Slime Just use Glitter clear glue instead of the regular white one. Elmer's makes one that is good to use. You can buy this glue at an art supply store, or make your own by adding glitter to clear glue. Color can also be added with the glitter for a stunning effect.
Make different separate batches of slime for each color of the rainbow (red, yellow, orange, green, blue). Combine the batches together to make your rainbow slime. You can mix and swirl the slime colors up, or place them next to each other in rainbow order.
Glow in the Dark Slime
Just add 3-4 tablespoons of Glow in the Dark paint along to your glue/water mixture. Some neon food coloring adds a nice touch.
This popular slime version is light, soft, and squishy. The trick is to add about 1/2 cup of shaving cream into your glue before making the classic slime recipe. For extra fluff, you can add another 1/2 cup of foaming body wash to the mixture. Next, put in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch and mix well. The cornstarch will help it keep a better shape. Finally, add a few pumps of hand lotion to give it some starchiness. You can also add some food color to make it look better The final step is to add the borax water solution. You may need a few more teaspoons of borax to get the right consistency. Knead it like dough until done.
This version of slime will get magically pulled around by a strong magnet and is a lot of fun to play with. The effect is achieved by adding around 2 tablespoons of iron oxide powder to your slime mixture and mix well. A regular magnet will not normally be strong enough to move the slime, but a neodymium (rare earth) magnet can do the job. However, if the slime is runny enough, a regular magnet will get it to move a little. Be very cautious using the iron powder and neodymium magnet. Neodymium magnets are incredibly strong and not for young children, since they can chip and spark if not handled carefully. Adult supervision is required. The slime will move around and follow the magnet when it is moved.
Floam has a similar texture as kinetic sand and is a unique sensory material kids will love to play with. It uses the basic classic slime recipe, but you add about 1/3 of a cup of polystyrene beads to the mixture. Polystyrene beads can be purchased at places like Target, Walmart, or Amazon.
This slime has a cosmic outer space look to it. It uses liquid water colors, such as purple, magenta, and teal added to your basic slime mix. Adjust the colors and glitter to look like a galaxy filled with stars. We suggest using clear glue with gold and silver glitter.
This very colorful version looks like the name. You make basic slime, but form separate strands in different colors. The colors needed are pink, blue, green, and yellow. Once completed, the colored slime strands can be braided together as a rope and then shaped in any form you like. There is a "special" shape kids call "Unicorn Slime Poop." Just use your imagination on how to shape it. Your unicorn slime is now ready to play with.
Pink Glitter Slime
Make standard slime and mix in 1 tablespoon of pink craft paint and 1 tablespoon of red glitter.
Cleaning Slime Recipe
A special slime can be made that is useful for cleaning things. It is known as 'cleaning slime,' which is a type of slime that is great for removing dust and lint from hard-to-reach places, like computer keyboards. Make sure you don't leave the cleaning slime too long on the surface being cleaned to prevent damage. Just dab it around quickly with a gentle pressure. You must first form it into a dry ball that does not stick to your hands before it can be used. The recipe for it is given below. Be sure to follow all the directions carefully.
Cleaning Slime Recipe
1.) 1-1/2 cups of warm water
2.) 5 ounces white glue
3.) 1/4 cup borax laundry booster
4.) Food coloring (optional)
Mix 1 cup of warm water with the borax and stir until the borax is fully dissolved. Put this mixture to the side. Next, in a new mixing bowl, stir in 1/2 cups of warm water, the glue, plus two drops of optional food coloring. Combine the borax water with this new mixture. Stir until it becomes firm to the touch. It will start out really gooey, but just keep mixing until it sets. You now must knead it with your hands until it becomes a dry ball which can take up to 5 minutes. It must be really dry and in the form of a ball to work or you will get a gooey mess on your cleaning surface and even ruin your electronics. If after 5 minutes it is still sticking to your hands, try adding in a few more tablespoons of borax powder and continue mixing.
- "Teens Are Hoarding Borax & Glue to Make Slime—But Is It Safe?". http://www.parents.com/toddlers-preschoolers/everything-kids/teens-are-hoarding-borax-glue-to-make-slime-but-is-it-safe/.
- "Doctors warn DIY slime toy can be toxic, cause seizures". http://news10.com/2017/01/04/doctors-warn-diy-slime-toy-can-be-toxic-cause-seizures/.
- "Warning Parents: “Slime” created in science or art at school poses health risks to children". http://www.crimeonline.com/2017/02/26/warning-parents-slime-created-in-science-or-art-at-school-poses-health-risks-to-children/.
- "Homemade slime leaves 11-year-old girl with third-degree burns". https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/03/28/homemade-slime-leaves-11-year-old-girl-third-degree-burns/99722692/.
- "Whip up a batch of all-purpose cleaning slime in minutes". https://www.cnet.com/how-to/how-to-make-cleaning-slime-for-electronics/.