I know, I know, we are behind on this one. Slime was the hot viral sensation six months ago back in January, when we shot and filmed this post. My fourteen-year old daughter, Ava, has been utterly and completely obsessed with making slime. She is the one who made up this recipe, she is the one who asked me to film her making it, and she is the one who pushed me to publish this post, despite being behind the trend. Her recipe is not the most precise as she is not a measuring kind of girl. Plus, making slime is not an exact science, as it turns out. The recipe below does have measurements, but just know that you can play around with it (as you will see in the video).
Fun fact: All slime recipes are basically the same. Yup, it’s true. I don’t have the heart to tell Ava that her recipe is not entirely original, other than her added zeal! My friend Asia writes about the science behind slime if you want to know more.
Advisory warning: There has been some controversy about Borax, which I will address in full at the end of this post. In short, it’s a naturally occurring compound that is mined like salt. It can be toxic in large quantities, just like salt can be, or caffeine. Used properly, it is very safe. Still, use Borax responsibly – just a tablespoon in water, don’t breathe it in, don’t eat it. 🙂
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Ava’s Slime Recipe
– 1 cup Elmer’s glue
– 1 cup shaving cream – half at the beginning, then half later (Note: I find Amazon’s price on this to be expensive and I get mine at the CVS or Walgreen’s in town.)
– 4 teaspoons corn starch
– 5-6 teaspoons activator (mix 1 tablespoon Borax with one cup of hot water to make your solution)
(Note: You can find Borax at the grocery store in the detergent aisle. If you live outside the US, try recipes using liquid starch, eye solution, or laundry detergent.)
– plastic containers for storage (we recycle deli containers, but you also can buy these new from Amazon)
1. Mix 1 cup glue with a 1/2 cup shaving cream. Mix well.
2. Add 4 teaspoons of corn starch (which makes the slime harder, for lack of a better word). Mix well.
3. Add your color. We used liquid watercolor, but you can use food coloring. Mix well.
4. Now comes the fun part, adding the activator. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of Borax with a cup of hot water. Use this mixture one teaspoon at a time. DO NOT POUR IT IN. The key to good slime is adding the activator slowly and mixing very well. Ava adds 1 teaspoons at a time. (In the video it looks like she is putting in two teaspoons at a time, but in typical Ava fashion – the non-measurer – she used the teeny half-teaspoon.) You’ll know when you’ve used too much activator when the slime starts ripping apart and is less stretchy.
5. After about 5 teaspoons, she decided to put her hands in and feel the consistency for herself. It feels very sticky to her. Time to add more shaving cream.
6. Add another 1/2 cup of shaving cream. Mix well.
7. Time to take it out of the bowl and play! Ava loves the crackling sound that this fluffy slime makes. I think it’s the air bubbles from the shaving cream that pop when she squeezes.
8. Finally, store your slime in an air-tight plastic container.
For die-hard slimers, make all of the rainbow colors. Ava’s favorite part is mixing them all together! Ultimately, it makes a giant blob of gray slime, but she loves seeing the colors blend.
I made this video of Ava in action. You can see how much she stirs. Her arm actually gets really tired. You can also see the table shaking with all her vigorous work!
Tips from Ava, master slime maker:
1 – If you want your slime to pop even more and create little bubbles that rest at the top when the slime is in it’s container, then add a few squirts (about 6) of foaming soap.
2 – Over time, the slime will get less fluffy as the shaving cream dissolves. Play around with adding more shaving cream.
3 – Add a few squirts of hand lotion (about 4) to your mixture to make your slime more stretchy.
4 – Put lotion on your hands before you use your slime if you don’t want it to stick to your hands.
I’ve written about Borax before, here in my flubber post from 2012. (And yes, back then I called it flubber but it’s basically the same as slime. Ava’s recipe is better, though!) I remember researching Borax heavily before using it, and deciding that it was perfectly safe. My own children, the children in my art class, and the children at the many birthday parties I have hosted where we make slime, have never had any adverse reactions to the slime.
As I said above, Borax (sodium borate) is a mined substance, just like salt is mined, and occurs naturally in the Mojave Desert, Chile and Tibet. Borax is only slightly more toxic than salt, and in some countries it is used as a salt substitute. Caffeine and flouride are also toxic. Breathing Borax powder is not a good idea, so don’t let your kids handle the powder. And don’t breathe the powder if you are pregnant. But once it is in it’s polymer form, it is completely safe.
I think this article about the safety of Borax is very good.
Because slime has been such a fad lately (Elmer’s glue was actually sold out on Amazon for a while!), there are more people using these ingredients, and therefore there will undoubtedly be a higher rate of allergic reactions. Some parents have reported redness on their child’s hands after playing with slime, and one mom even said that the slime her daughter made caused burns. I believe that these are just allergic reactions, not a sign of unsafe ingredients. My son is allergic to corn starch so I don’t let him play with this recipe. But that doesn’t mean I think corn starch is unsafe. If you find that your child’s hands become chaffed, they could be allergic to any one of the ingredients within the slime. It would be best to quit making this recipe and wash their hands.
Let me know if you have any questions or comments when making your slime!
xo, Bar and Ava