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Most Slime and Putty recipes use some amount of sodium tetraborate, commercially available as Borax. Authentic commercial Silly Putty is made from Borax and silicone oil -- unfortunately I haven't got details on the precise ratio. [As an interesting aside, Silly Putty was apparently invented in 1943 in a failed attempt to produce a synthetic rubber. The large chemical company which invented it sent samples to more than 12,000 engineers around the world, but no practical use for it could be found.]


Silly Putty can be successfully approximated with Elmer's Glue instead of silicone oil. The recipe below makes a small, palm-sized ball:

  • 1 fluid ounce of 50% Elmer's Glue solution (in water)
  • 5 milliliters of 4% sodium tetraborate (Borax) solution (in water)
  • a few drops of food coloring.

Mix the food coloring with the Elmer's Glue solution. Add the 5ml Borax solution and stir for 2 minutes. Roll around the lump in your hands for two minutes, after which time it will cease to be sticky. Store the putty in a clean, covered container.


Many toy stores sell one form or another of colored Slime. Usually they come in small tubs, are slightly unpleasant-smelling, and are cold and clammy to the touch (apparently because of an endothermic reaction). The recipe below is the exact recipe for commercial Slime, and makes a small, palm-sized amount:

1 fluid ounce of 5% Polyvinyl Alcohol (acid-free art glue) solution (in water)

  • several milliliters of 4% sodium tetraborate (Borax) solution (in water)
  • a few drops of food coloring.

Mix the food coloring with the Polyvinyl Alcohol solution. Add one milliliter of the Borax solution and stir like crazy for 2 minutes. Adding more Borax solution will yield thicker slime if desired; nice thick slime can be had with approxiately 4-5 ml of Borax solution per fluid ounce of polyvinyl alcohol solution. Store the slime in a clean, covered container.


For those of you who want all the fun and twice the mess of a dilatent fluid without the chemicals, then I suggest the following recipe for oobleck:
  • Corn Starch
  • Water

You only want about a tablespoon of water per cup of corn starch. THis makes a fluid that flows easily in your hands, but will harden when it is handled quickly. It can be really fun and inexpensive to put about 50 lbs of corn starch into a kid's swimming pool (empty the pool first!) and then add enough water to get the desired consistency.