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Today I’m sharing how to make slime. Homemade slime is so easy to make, and the payoff is huge. Not only do kids like playing with it, but grownups can’t resist either.

how to make slime easy

This Slime Recipe has been on my to-do list for ages, and I’m so glad we gave it a try.

Note: In case you’re looking for a slime recipe that uses saline or contact solution, click here >> Contact Solution Glitter Slime

How to make gak

This recipe fatefully fell into my lap after my daughter’s nursery school teacher made up a big batch of it for the kids last week. We used half of this recipe from Steve Spangler Science. When Steve says “the measurements don’t have to be exact,” I gained a huge amount of confidence. And it’s true, because we were pretty imprecise. Go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief with me! This site also has a wonderful description on the science behind the recipe.

This particular slime, also called Flubber, Gluep, Glurch, or Gak, is made from glue, water, and the tiniest bit of Borax.


Note: Borax is not edible, so please use your best judgment and common sense if you choose to use this with young children.


Okay, here we go…

How to Make Slime

Gak Recipe - How to Make Gak - TinkerLab.com

Ingredients

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

Steps

  1. Mix the glue and water together in a mixing bowl.
  2. Add a few drops of color, if desired.
  3. Slowly add a small amount of the Borax solution into the water-glue solution. (This is where you don’t have to be precise)
  4. Keep adding small amounts of the borax solution to the water-glue solution until it comes together like slime.
  5. Play with your slime!

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.

How to make gak.

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!).

Some of my readers have had questions about Borax. What is it? Is it the same as boric acid? I did some research and have answers:

Borax vs. Boric Acid

Borax vs Boric Acid

Are they the same thing? Actually, no! Borax and boric acid are similar, but not the same. Here’s the break down on the differences between borax and borix acid: 

Borax (Na2B4O7 · 10H2O) is also known as sodium borate and sodium tetraborate contains sodium, boron, hydrogen, and oxygen. It’s naturally found in dry lake beds of arid areas such as California, Nevada, China, and Turkey. It’s a mineral and an inorganic salt (a salt that doesn’t contain carbon).

Boric acid (H3BO3), known as hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boricum is made of boron, hydrogen, and oxygen. No sodium! It’s a natural anti-fungal that comes from boron. It’s found in some volcanic waters, hot springs, minerals, sea water, plants, and fruits. It can also be produced in a lab by combining Borax with a strong acid such as hydrochloric acid. You can read more about boric acid here.

More Slime and Dough Recipes

Easy Glitter Slime, made with Contact Solution

Rainbow Play Dough

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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59 Comments

    • 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.

      • 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. 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

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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!

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

  5. 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

    • 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. 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 !!!!

    • 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. 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. 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. 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!

    • 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. 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.

    • 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!

    • 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. 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

    • 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. 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.

    • 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. 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. 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!

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

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

  15. 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

    • 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. 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?

    • 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

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

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    Thank you!

  18. 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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