Slime, Flubber, Oobleck, Oh My!


You probably have a box of borax sitting in your laundry room and have probably used it to take out that tomato sauce stain from your shirt. Borax is a compound of elemental boron, or sodium tetraborate decahydrate. It is a bleaching agent and used as a cleaning additive. However, borax is more than just a stain fighter- it is one of the main ingredients in gooey, stretchy slime.

Slime is a very strange substance and there are many different types of slime. It is liquid but also solid. Slime is a non-Newtonian fluid, meaning that its state depends on how much force is applied to it. When you move slime from hand to hand, it is almost like liquid and moves very smoothly. But, if you try to poke it hard, it feels solid. 

By mixing some borax and liquid glue together (here’s an interesting article on glue), a long and thin polymer molecules form. When force is applied to the slime, these polymer molecules come together, making the solution seem solid. When the slime is poured from hand to hand, the polymer molecules flow against each other, making the solution seem more liquid.  

Some safety precautions

Make sure to avoid getting borax in your eyes or mouth. It will be irritating and is toxic if ingested. 

Now, that we have that out of the way, let’s make some slime. 

Slime-making materials/equipments

  • Two bowls
  • Liquid glue
  • Warm water
  • Borax
  • Food coloring (optional)

Steps to make slime

  1. In a bowl, squeeze ½ cup of liquid glue. You can use either white or transparent glue- white glue will turn your slime white and transparent glue will result in clear slime.
  2. In the same bowl, mix in ½ cup of warm water. 
  3. If you want your slime to be colorful, you can add in a few drops of food coloring to your glue-water mixture.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine 1 teaspoon of borax and ½ cup of warm water. Mix this together and add it to your glue-water mixture. 
  5. As you stir everything together, your slime should start to come together. Keep kneading until the mass is complete.
  6. Store the material in a airtight container or Ziploc bag.  

Things you can try

By switching up the ratio of ingredients, your slime solution’s properties will change. Try adding more borax or glue, and see how it changes your slime. *Hint: It may get stretchier or thicker

Ready for more fun chemistry? Try playing with liquid gallium, or making bismuth crystals.