How to make slime without borax and glue

This post was sponsored by Elmer’s. All opinions are my own.

Slime is all the rage with the middle school kids right now, so I decided to make a batch (or 3) with Maxwell and see what he thought about the slime craze. (He loves it!)  It’s the perfect rainy/ snowy/ too hot outside activity! I teamed up with Elmer’s to make slime that is perfect for little hands. We are sharing how to make slime with 4 ingredients, likely all things you have on hand right now. There are also lots of learning activities you can do with slime, our favorite proved to be a lesson on mixing colors!

(Photography by Sarah Schiffman)

How to make easy slime

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Here’s what you need to make slime:

Why make clear slime?

Clear slime is fun for so many reasons

  • Unlike the magnetic slime recipe, it has nearly no mess to it.
  • And much like bubble gum slime recipe this clear slime will be played with for hours.
  • The kids love it because they can see through the slime, which makes playing with it even more enjoyable.
  • And it looks like liquid glass which makes it a fun science experiment for everyone involved.

To make the clear slime without borax you will need:

  • Elmer’s washable clear glue
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 TBSP Baking soda
  • 2 TBSP Saline solution
  • A bowl and mixer

How To make clear slime step-by-step

HOW TO MAKE SLIME WITHOUT BORAX POWDER

The ingredient that you combine with liquid glue to form the slime, makes it stretchy and less sticky the more you add, it’s called activator. Instead of borax powder there are some other slime activators that you can use:

  • Liquid starch. Used to get wrinkles out of clothes, liquid starch is another activator that you can use to make slime. It’s cheaper than borax, but you will need to use more. I use Sta-Flo concentrated liquid starch, ideal for crafts and contains no dyes.
  • Liquid laundry detergent. You can use any brand to make slime. When using laundry detergent as an activator, combine the detergent with glue and food coloring if desired. For making clear slime, use clear laundry detergent.
  • Saline contact solution. Saline solution is very popular for making slime, but make sure you buy the right one or it won’t work. It must contain boric acid as an ingredient. You will need very little saline solution to activate the slime, and you will need to add baking soda to the glue. I always add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to one bottle of Elmer’s Washable Glue and then I add the saline solution little by little, just a few drops at the time, otherwise the slime can become stiff. Add food coloring as needed.

I understand that some people are very sensitive to borax or even allergic to borax. In those cases, you shouldn’t use any of this activators, since they all contain borax but with different names like boric acid or sodium borate.

If you want to make slime that really is “borax free”, you should try other types of slime like cornstarch slime (just mix cornstarch with water), but it won’t be the traditional slime made with glue that is so popular right now.

Check out my slime recipes, find one that you like and have fun making slime!

How to Make Glow in the Dark Slime

We have made the ooey gooey, sticky, slimy fun for nearly every season, with a variety of colors and scents. Valentine’s Day: Valentine’s Day. St. Patrick’s Day: Pot ‘O Gold, Rainbow Slime with Borax, Rainbow Burst.  Independence Day: Star Spangled Slime.  Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Explosion. Christmas Slime: Peppermint Slime, Christmas Explosion Even party pleaser slimes: Unicorn Poop Slime, Color Changing (thermochromic pigment), Birthday Cake or Confetti, Fairy, Galaxy, Nebula, or Shooting Star Slime, and even Camo Slime! And I wanted to make sure I showed you that you can use all these slime recipes. By making one small alteration, you can add a sensory Glow in the Dark element that’s fun for the eyes!  Or is it easy on the eyes?  Either way: It’s FUN!!!

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It’s just as simple, just as fun, and brings an added element of giggle when your kids can play in the dark– no black light needed!  First you need our basic slime recipe. These ingredients work for the creation of nearly every slime.  It’s the creative additives (Sand, Roaches, Rubber Bands, Styrofoam Balls, etc.– the sky is the limit!) that makes the slime extra unique.  Kids love additives!

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Glow-in-the dark slime needs a few specific ingredients, so let’s talk about that first.

glow in the dark food coloring

How to make Glow in the Dark Slime

To get started on your recipe, first pour your Elmer’s school glue into a cup or bowl. I like to use disposable, throw away cups or bowls, personally. Depending on how much slime you want, start with around 8 oz of glue, which is the same as about 1 cup. If you want more slime than that, you will need to adjust your ingredients as you go. This “how many cups in a quart” conversion chart may help you figure that out.  If it is substantial, I’d suggest making multiple smaller batches and combining them.  It can become difficult to knead the more you have in one batch.  Trust me, your hands will thank you!

Add in your food coloring, using a light stir motion, until you get the color you want, and its fully intermixed. This will be the color of your actual slime.  We (the kids especially!) like to use vibrant, neon food coloring. Helpful Hint: In these pictures, we have 3 drops of neon green and neon orange food coloring.

Ready to make glow in the dark slime now? It’s so Easy!

Mix in 2 tbsp glow in the dark gel to the glue mixture.

Warning: You may be tempted to turn off the light every few seconds, to revel in your progress.  As it comes together, don’t be afraid to practice your maniacal giggle, mad scientist style.  Bwahaha…

Now mix in your liquid starch. The liquid starch is what makes it clump up. You may need as much as 1/3rd cup, but always start with a little less, a light dose, like 2 tablespoons.  Helpful Hint:  If you add too much starch, your slime will become as hard as a rock.  It is always wise to start with a small amount, adding slowly.  After a while, you’ll be able to feel the desired consistency, but for the first few tries: SLOW!  Slime making skills are like baking: Tricks are learned by life, not simply reading. 

Keep stirring and your slime will start to form. If the slime is still sticky, add more starch. Once it’s in a pretty good lump, you can take it out and start kneading it. The longer you knead, the stretchier your slime will become. This process can take about 3-4 minutes– keep those hands a movin’. If, after that time, the slime is not coming off your fingers, it may need a little more starch. Remember, just a tad at a time!

How to Make Slime Without Borax

Cornstarch Method

The cornstarch method, one of the most popular non-Borax slime recipes, uses cornstarch as its base binding ingredient.

Ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need:

  • 2 cups of cornstarch
  • 1 and ½ cups of water.

Simple, right? Then you’ll want to add food coloring and anything else that you might like to mix into your slime.

Glitter, a popular mix-in, can be found at your local craft store.

You also need a few bowls for mixing everything, and a stove or microwave to heat the water.

If you’re using a stove, you’ll want a saucepan for the water. If you’re using a microwave, you’ll need a microwave-safe bowl or container.

Making the Slime

Step One: Water

Heat up your water. You don’t want it to be boiling, so if you’re using a stove, test it regularly with your hands to make sure it’s not too hot. If it hurts your skin, take it off the heat for a while.

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If you’re using a microwave, put your water in for around forty-five seconds to achieve an optimal temperature.

Step Two: Coloring!

Pour about a cup of your water into the mixing bowl. If you want to color your slime, add four to five drops of food coloring and mix them around until fully incorporated.

The water should be darker than you want your end result to be, as the color will become diluted with the addition of other ingredients.

Step Three: Cornstarch

Now begin to combine your cornstarch and water.

Start out slow and mix the two using your hands, blending until it forms a slime-like substance.

You’ll want to add more cornstarch or more warm water depending on the consistency you’re seeking.

If you’re aiming for slime that’s thin and watery, add more H20. If you’d like it to be thicker and dry, add more cornstarch.

Step Four: The Mix-Ins

Once you have a consistency you like, here comes the fun part!

Glitter slime is popular and very pretty. Choose a color of glitter that complements the color of your food dye.

how to make slime

By: Nataliatarkh (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 licence)

Another fun mix-in is small beads. Some websites even sell colorful foam balls just for slime.

You can add these with your hands, pushing and pulling the mixture until it reaches a consistency you want.

The final result is a stimulating slime you can play with to your heart’s content!

How make slime – glue and borax recipe

The best part about making slime, it’s science preschoolers will love. You can color your slime whatever color you’d like. We ended up making 4 different batches, experimenting with various additives and quantities, so in the end, our mixed slime looked pretty gross!

If you don’t want to make your own slime, you can always get a Slime Kit.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup school glue
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tsp borax
  • 1 cup water

Borax slime recipeBorax slime recipe

Directions

  1. Mix 1/2 glue (about one bottle school glue) with 1/2 cup water. Mix well.
  2. Dissolve 1 tsp borax in 1 cup water. Slowly stir borax solution into glue solution. The more borax solution you add, the stiffer the slime will become.

How to make slime – glue and Tide laundry detergent recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup school glue
  • 1/4 cup liquid Tide laundry detergent

Directions

  • Combine water and school glue, mix well. Slowly stir in Tide until slime forms

having fun with slime recipehaving fun with slime recipe

Detergent and Borax Free Slime

  • 1/2 cup school glue
  • 1/2 tbsp of baking soda
  • 1 tbsp of contact lens solution

Directions

  • Mix the glue and baking soda in a bowl then add the contact solution until the mixture begins to thicken.

Making slime tips

  • Always add the borax or laundry detergent to the glue solution to allow for more control over the consistency of the slime.
  • If you’d like to add color or extras to your slime such as fragrance or glow liquids, make sure to add these extras to the glue solution before adding the laundry detergent.
  • These ingredients are non-toxic, however should not be eaten and should be handled with adult supervision and all utensils washed thoroughly.

adding glitter to slime recipeadding glitter to slime recipeadding color to slime recipeadding color to slime recipe

How do we get slime from glue?

School glue is actually water with a small amount of a chemical called polyvinyl acetate in it.  In a way, it is basically an incomplete plastic.  The polyvinyl acetate molecules in school glue move separately past each other while the glue is wet, but set firm when it is dry.  This is what sticks things together.

When borax in water meets these same glue molecules, it forms countless weak bonds between them (like loose connections), so they don’t move past each other as easily.  They move together, but are not set.  The material is now a slowly flowing, elastic polymer, like a soft, goopy plastic. See figure below.

Instead of polyvinyl acetate in school glue, the most serious slime makers may obtain polyvinyl alcohol, a related chemical, said to make more and better slime.  But, they still need the borax.

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Borax Image

Do my kids have to say good bye to the slime?

Probably not, as long as some ground rules are followed.  This is a parental decision; you know what is best for your child.  If you choose to allow slime manufacture and play in your home, there are ways to keep kids safe by minimizing their exposure to the borax.

  • Young children or others who may put the slime in their mouth should play only with edible slime made with food.
  • Non-borax recipes that use starch are safer overall than the ones that use borax.
  • Pregnant women should avoid borax-slime recipes.
  • Making slime with borax should be supervised by an adult; it is a chemical and needs to be treated as such.
  • It is best to use disposable dishes and silverware for making slime rather than every-day kitchen dishes that normally hold food or beverages.
  • Keep the box or container of borax closed and out of reach of small children, even when it is out of the cabinet during “slime-time.”
  • Scooping the borax from the container should be done carefully to keep dust out of the air and prevent spilling. If it does spill, clean powder up by sweeping, and then wiping down the spill area with a wet paper towel to pick up the remaining dust.  Sweepings and paper towels can go in the household trash.
  • Be aware that the borax in water is a drinking accident waiting to happen. Don’t leave the solution in a container that someone could mistake for a beverage.  Pour unused or leftover solution into the sink drain immediately.
  • Ideally, gloves should be worn while mixing the borax-slime to keep the skin protected from the borax.
  • After all the mixing is done, including the colors, beads, glitter, etc., take off the gloves and wash hands and arms thoroughly, but gently with soap and water.
  • ABSOLUTELY there should be no eating or drinking or food preparation while making or playing with borax-slime. Since small amounts of material can get into the mouth from the fingers, why take the chance of any amount being eaten?
  • Consider limiting the amount of time your child plays with the borax-slime. There is no hard and fast rule, but thirty minutes to an hour a day seems reasonable.
  • Always wash hands after touching or playing with slime.

Slime Making Tips | What do all the ingredients do?

Borax Solution: to make this, mix 1 teaspoon of Borax with 1 cup of hot water and stir to combine. We put this liquid solution in a sauce bottle for easy dispensing and storing. Borax can be found in the laundry section of supermarkets. We like to store it in a sauce bottle pictured below. It makes it easy to pour onto a spoon or into your slime and you can keep unused solution in this for next time you need it.  We can’t stress enough how important it is to not add too much borax solution – too much of the stuff will make your slime rubbery and break when you pull it, instead of being nice and stretchy.

We’ve tried seventy five thousand and eight recipes using other ingredients but they just didn’t work properly unless they included borax. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but let’s just say it’s been MANY fails over the years and a LOT of goopy messes thrown out.

how to make slime borax

See our Fluffy Slime Recipe here or our Easy Glitter Slime Recipes here

glitter slime

At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. 

Image Source: All photos by Play & Go Adelaide

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