Gak Recipe

This Gak Recipe (aka slime recipe) has been on my to-do list ever since reading about Amy’s The Great Slime-Off on Child Central Station. Amy shares two different recipes: the first calls for liquid starch and the second calls for Borax. I looked all over town for liquid starch and it was nowhere to be found. Is it prohibited from the State of California?

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

But the second recipe that called for Borax was workable, and felt a bit like fate because my daughter’s nursery school teacher made up a big batch of it last week. This also fell on the heels of reading the Ooey Gooey Handbook (affiliate), which is FILLED with all sorts of luscious recipes like this one. If you’re into this sort of thing, this book is fabulous! You can follow Lisa Murphy of Ooey Gooey on Facebook for loads of good information.

This particular slime, also called Flubber, Gluep, Glurch, or Gak, is made from glue, water, and the tiniest bit of Borax (a mild powdered laundry soap).

Borax is soap and it’s toxic, so please use your best judgment and common sense if you choose to use this with young children.

We used half of this recipe from Steve Spangler Science, and the part that gave me the most confidence is where he says “the measurements don’t have to be exact.” Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief with me! This site also has a wonderful description on the science behind the recipe.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

Gak Recipe

  • 8 oz. bottle Elmer’s school glue
  • 8 oz. water
  • 1 teaspoon Borax mixed into 1/2 cup of warm water
  • Food coloring or liquid watercolors, optional

How to Make Gak

  • Mix the glue and water together in a mixing bowl.
  • Add a few drops of color, if desired.
  • Slowly add a bit of the Borax solution into the water-glue solution. Mix
  • Keep adding small amounts of the borax solution to the water-glue solution until it comes together like slime.
  • Play with your slime!
  • Note: Slime is NOT for eating!

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

I wasn’t sure how messy this would get and set the whole project up in our big mixing tub. We began by squeezing an almost-full 4 ounce bottle of glue into a glass bowl. Then we mixed in 1 1/2 bottles of warm water to the glue. The recipe calls for 4 ounces of glue and 4 ounces of warm water…do you see how fast I went off-recipe!! But like Steve says, the measurements don’t have to be exact and it worked out just fine!

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

N added red food coloring and mixed it into a lovely shade of pink.

Then we mixed 1 teaspoon of Borax into 1/2 cup of water, and slowly added the solution to the glue mixture…

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

Until the slime started to come together. We did not use all of the Borax solution.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

At first it was really wet and gooey.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

And stringy and sloppy.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

And then it started to pull together.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

Until it was one easy-to-work-with mass of slime that could be pulled apart and manipulated…to some extent. Because really, this slime has a mind of its own.

 

N requested a muffin tray with the idea that it would make nice little cakes. Can you believe how viscous and pliable it is?! Completely different from play dough, and absolutely inspiring to little miss curious.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

We often roll out our play dough, so she gave that a try and complained that it didn’t work. Good experiment!

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

Next she tried cookie cutters. Also a bust.

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

But the scissors…oh, the scissors were so much fun and completely rewarding with this medium.

+++++

When you’re done using your gak/flubber/slime, you can store it in a sealable container or Ziploc bag for about 2 weeks (when it may start to smell!).

If you’ve made Gak, or if you try this at home, please feel free to add your photos or links in the comment area. I love to see your ideas!

More PlayDough Recipes

Rainbow Play Dough, Tinkerlab

How to Make Cloud Dough, the easiest dough recipe that calls for oil and flour.

How to Make Goop with just cornstarch and water.

Make amazing scented pumpkin spice playdough.

How to make Gluten-free Cloud Dough

Glowing Playdough

DIY Masa Playdough, made with masa harina

How to make Salt Dough with just salt, flour, and water.

 

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Comments

    • rachelle says

      Thanks for the comment, Cynthaz. Because my daughter understands that the slime isn’t for eating and it’s a material that’s readily available in her nursery school, this didn’t occur to me. But YES, Borax is toxic and parents of children who might eat the material should stay clear of Gak. I updated the post to alert parents to the potential issue.

    • M says

      Borax is toxic for consuming. It may irritate the skin of some people and people with allergies. But in general, as just for touching it a while, is not harmful.

      • says

        it went great! Ours was a bit sticky so we’re going to try the cornstarch method tomorrow and see how it goes. I was thrilled to see AJ playing and enjoying the unusual sensation. Progress!

        What a great update, Melissa!! You could try adding less warm water (we added more than the original recipe), but it is a pretty sticky substance by nature. Good luck with the cornstarch play!

  1. says

    Flubber/Gak is so much fun. My children sometimes prefer it to playdough.
    Our daycare center staff were able to attend a workshop by Lisa Murphy, aka The Ooey Gooey Lady, in January… and we’ve been enjoying her ideas since. Flubber is the most popular. (We found that if it is a bit sticky at first, that placing it in a baggy and kneading abit, helps for some reason)

    Pink flubber always brings to mind The Cat in the Hat to me, for some reason. :)
    These are such nice photos, and clear directions.
    Brenda

    • rachelle says

      Ah, so jealous that you got to see Lisa Murphy in person! I bet it was inspiring! Thanks for the sticky/baggy tip — that’s helpful for troubleshooting.

  2. says

    Hmmmm I just noticed the comment above re: possible toxicity of borax, I’m not convinced of this. It is a chemical, as is liquid starch, but I don’t THINK a harmful one. I could be mistaken. A good idea to check into.
    B

    • Billy says

      Yes, borax is indeed toxic if ingested in certain quantities.
      This recipe does not call for a dangerous proportion of this naturally occurring chemical, so no need to be concerned! Cyanide is another naturally occurring toxic chemical and is found in small quantities in apple seeds (among many other foods), children ingest apple seeds every day, but not the quantity required to be harmful!

  3. says

    Wow. What a fun afternoon making slime. The pink slime is super cool. Everytime I have made slime or gak of any kind for kids, it is addicting and they can’t get enough of it. The exploration, testing and discovery always follows. I love the cookie cutters and muffin tins. Thank you for sharing this engaging activity with your readers.

    – Steve Spangler Science

    • rachelle says

      Hi Susan! Thanks for your comment — it’s so nice to have your knowledgable input. I’m relatively new to slime, but for the reasons you share, I do see a lot of it in my future.

  4. says

    Thanks for the shout out! We love our slimes and gaks…. I’m sorry you can’t find liquid starch! Here is the website for the brand we use, maybe that will help? http://www.staflostarch.com/
    I’m glad you had just as much fun as we did with it!

    • rachelle says

      That looks like a fabulous product — and with a shelf life of one year, you can’t go wrong! Thanks for the link.

  5. says

    I bet it was fun with the scissors – that would be a great medium to practice with – this has also been on our list of things to make for a LONG LONG time – just finally got some Borax, so we’ll be trying it sometime soon.

    I love how N sat and watched it drip getting ready to snip it!

    Jamie

    • rachelle says

      The scissor thing took me by surprise (not sure why since N adores scissors!). I also find that play dough is an awesome material to practice cutting on. I actually introduced scissors to her at a very young age with long play dough snakes. It just makes cutting so easy!

  6. says

    This is a Great post! I love the pics and the story! We’ve made slime that was basically ooobleck (cornstarch and water)! C loved it ! I remember making this kind of slime ages ago in a camp with kids! We will make some soon I’m sure! Can’t wait to see your part II !!!!

    • rachelle says

      We’ve made Oobleck, too, and the slime is totally different. I’m finding that there are camps of people who strongly prefer one over the other. I’m currently falling into the Gak camp :)

  7. says

    Love it all – and love how the slime was making a break for it! You have a lovely way of documenting with photographs that makes for a really inviting blog – I need to learn to take better pics :)

    Hi Jenny! Are you kidding? Your photos are wonderful. And thank you for the kind comments. Truly appreciated.

  8. says

    Love that Gak and that sweet little face! My boys love to do this but I don’t think we have ever used the scissors. Next time!

    Jo @ SmileMonsters

    Thanks, Jo. My daughter learned to use scissors on play dough, so I think anything pliable becomes a canvas for cutting in our house!

  9. says

    Hi! I love this project, I’m going to try it with my kids this summer. Can you tell me what kind of cleanup to expect? Thanks!

    • rachelle says

      Hi Nikka! The clean-up was really easy. Once the Gak comes together, the glue mixture becomes rubbery and fly-away pieces are easily picked up. The only recommendation is that it doesn’t come out of fabric or rugs very well, so make sure that kids wear aprons and that you do this over a smooth table and floor. My daughter’s dress collected a pool of Gak that smooshed right into it, but it washed out without a problem. Rugs would be another story altogether! Have fun, and thanks for the question.

  10. Teacher Laura Oreamuno. says

    When you get into mixing the borax and water..does this water has to be warm too?? I did something really wrong in my science experiment class…it became kind of a solid matter,water on one side an a white hard stuff like sterofoam in my hands…so, we talked about turning liquids into solids!! But I still want to play with Slime!!
    San Jose ,Costa Rica.
    Central America.

    • rachelle says

      Hi Laura, I’m sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t work for you. Yes, the water has to be warm, but not the glue. Perhaps try it again without the kids and see if the ratio was correct. And please let me know how it goes!

    • Rachelle says

      Thank you, Lola, for mentioning us in your post and sending your fans my way. Your blog is beautiful too and I’m so glad we’re able to inspire each other across the seas. xo, Rachelle

  11. Judywhatilivefor says

    We made slime using your recipe a few weeks ago and my boys have loved it…thank you so much for sharing this!
     http://www.whatilivefor.net/2012/03/how-to-make-slime.html

    • Rachelle says

      Woo-hoo! I’m delighted to hear that your boys loved the slime recipe. And thanks for sharing the link…look forward to seeing what you did! Cheers, Rachelle

  12. Cyn says

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borax

    Borax is NOT soap, it’s a salt. It is NOT toxic and is even used as a food additive in many countries.

    There continues to be a confusion between boric acid and borax. While they share some chemical composition, they are different yet related… much like air (oxygen and other gases) and water (oxygen + hydrogen) are different, yet related. It would be “toxic” to breath water and we would dehydrate if we tried to drink air.

    • rachelle says

      Hi Cyn,

      I’m always open to standing corrected, but in this instance I think it’s important to educate my readers to ensure their safety, as I cannot be held responsible if a child consumes products that could harm them. Borax is technically sodium tetraborate, and when it’s purchased commercially from 20 Mule Team, it’s referred to as an “all natural laundry booster and multipurpose household cleaner.” In this instance, referring to it as soap is pretty accurate and will make sense to the parents or caregivers who search for or use this product.

      While it’s not acutely toxic (consumed in small quantities), a large dose of Borax could be fatal. This is why I’m comfortable allowing my child to use it (as she would shampoo, shaving cream, or tempera paint), but I’d want to supervise the experience and would recommend the same to my readers.

      Cheers,
      Rachelle

  13. Tatyana says

    We also try this project but we use sta flo instead of water borax. I think I found it to be more cool then my son. He hates getting his hands dirty for some reason. So we had to use latex gloves in order for him to enjoy it.

  14. Leani says

    My 2 and a half year old loved this it has entertained her for many hours! And once she’s done with it it entertains my husband for a few hours as wel!! We had friends visiting with two daughters aged 9 and 12, they were so fascinated by it that we made a batch for them that they played with for about 2 hours! Fun for all ages!

    • rachelle says

      I love this feedback, Leani! How cool that it entertained children of such different ages, and for so long!! Cheers, Rachelle

    • rachelle says

      That’s so funny, Jill. I’ve never seen a commercial for Gak. Save your money! This stuff is so cheap to make!

  15. says

    Hi Rachelle,

    I tried this tonight. I used clear glue …(discovered later that white glue was required)…when I added the water…it already became sort of flubber/gak/slime. I added some of the borax/water mixture but I don’t think it picked it up.

    So I am gonna try the white glue later this week.

    Do you know what the difference is between white glue and clear glue?

    Thanks for the help
    Regards
    Esther

    • rachelle says

      Hi Esther,

      You raise such a good question. I’ve never tried this with clear glue, but now you’ve peaked my curiosity and I have to do some experimenting.

      I did a little online research for the ingredient lists of white glue vs. gel glue, and I couldn’t find anything substantive. I did find this recipe that uses clear gel glue, and it looks like the ratio is a little different (in the first step it calls for 1/3 c. glue:1 c. water).

      Thanks for the comment!
      Rachelle

  16. Nancy says

    HI I just tryed making flubber and it was a great idea I tried with my kids and they loved it but after playing with it for one day it looks like it’s not as slimy what can I do?

    • rachelle says

      Hi Nancy,
      That’s a good question. I’m not really sure, but my first guess would be that some of the water evaporated with use. You could try adding a little bit of warm water and see what happens. Will you let me know what works? The fun here is that you have a bonafide experiment on your hands that your kids can learn from :)
      Rachelle

      • Nancy says

        HI Rachelle what I did I added cool water and I put it on the fridge over night and it worked ;)

        • rachelle says

          Awesome! More slime play is in your immediate future! Thanks for circling back. xo

  17. Jada says

    Another fun way to play with this is to use straws to blow air into it to make bubbles. My boys love blowing bubbles and can play with this stuff off and on all day! I will have to try scissors next time, we didn’t think of that and they will enjoy it.

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