Homemade slime – what works and what doesn’t?

One of the questions we hear most often from parents at our science birthday parties and after school clubs is ‘how do we get slime to work at home?’ We’ve compiled a list of the slime recipes that work and those that don’t to help you achieve successful slime at home!

Borax Slime

Perhaps one of the most commonly heard of slime ‘activators’ is borax which comes as a powder and is mixed up as a solution before being used. Borax is a great slime activator and the most likely to give you a successful slime. The most common worry about this for parents is ‘is it safe?’ We’ve made an entire page with studies relating to the safety of Borax and you can click here to visit it. In short, borax powder can be irritating to the skin, eyes and throat if inhaled and should not be handled by children. Borax solution should be made according to the instructions below and children should not be left unsupervised with it. Borax solution cannot get through unbroken skin but hands should be washed after playing with slime and before eating. 

Instructions

Step 1 – Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons PVA glue into a cup or bowl.

Step 2 – Add a few drops of paint to get desired colour and stir.

Step 3 – If you would like to make your slime ‘fluffy’ then add 1 tablespoon shaving foam and stir.

Step 4 – If you would like to make your slime ‘crunchy’ add 2 tablespoons polystyrene balls (from bean bags) and stir.

Step 5 – In a separate container, have a grownup mix up 500ml water with 2 teaspoons borax powder. You can purchase borax powder here.

Step 6 – Gradually add your borax solution to your PVA solution, stirring throughout. The glue should start to stick to itself and become more solid and less sticky. Once your glue has stopped being sticky, pick it up and move it around in your hands. If it starts to get sticky again, add more borax solution.

Troubleshooting: If your slime is too sticky add more borax solution. If your slime is too hard try again with a more dilute solution of borax.

Contact Lens Solution Slime

This seems to be the one that causes parents the biggest headache! Contact lens solution is often advertised as a borax free ‘activator’ but in actual fact only some contact lens solutions work – the ones containing borax! The benefits of these solutions are that the borax is already in solution so you don’t have to worry about keeping the powder out of reach of children. It is, however, a much more expensive way of buying borax. We’ve tested a few contact lens solutions and like this one from Amazon.  Science party for 3 year olds

Instructions

Step 1 – Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons PVA glue into a cup or bowl.

Step 2 – Add a few drops of paint to get desired colour and stir.

Step 3 – If you would like to make your slime ‘fluffy’ then add 1 tablespoon shaving foam and stir.

Step 4 – If you would like to make your slime ‘crunchy’ add 2 tablespoons polystyrene balls (from bean bags) and stir.

Step 5 – Gradually add your contact lens solution to your PVA solution, stirring throughout. The glue should start to stick to itself and become more solid and less sticky. Once your glue has stopped being sticky, pick it up and move it around in your hands. If it starts to get sticky again, add more contact lens solution.

Troubleshooting: If your slime is too sticky add more contact lens solution. If your slime is too hard try again and this time add the contact lens solution more slowly.

Starch Slime

If you are looking for a truly borax-free slime, try this recipe with Starch. The best one we have found is Kershaw’s laundry starch that can be found here.  This should still be kept out of reach of children and the solution should be made up before use. This produces a more stretchy slime but can be a bit messier! 

Instructions

Step 1 – Pour 2 – 3 tablespoons PVA glue into a cup or bowl.

Step 2 – Add a few drops of paint to get desired colour and stir.

Step 3 – If you would like to make your slime ‘fluffy’ then add 1 tablespoon shaving foam and stir.

Step 4 – If you would like to make your slime ‘crunchy’ add 2 tablespoons polystyrene balls (from bean bags) and stir.

Step 5 – In a separate container, have a grownup mix up 500ml water with 10 teaspoons starch powder.

Step 6 – Gradually add your starch solution to your PVA solution, stirring throughout. The glue should start to stick to itself and become more solid and less sticky. Once your glue has stopped being sticky, pick it up and move it around in your hands. If it starts to get sticky again, add more contact starch solution.

Troubleshooting: If your slime is too runny and doesn’t come together and is very runny, try again with a more concentrated starch solution. If your slime is too hard or tough, try again with a more dilute starch solution.