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I looooove play recipes.  So it always bums me out if people can't get them to work (by the way, I'm always happy to help you troubleshoot any of our recipes if you send me a photo!).  Slimes in particular seem to cause a lot of trouble for folks, so when I was writing our book, I decided to do a bit of investigating.  I learned a ton about what probably goes wrong for those of you who have slimes that don't work - and I also figured out how to fix a slime fail!  I hope this will help those of you who have not had success with slime recipes!

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids
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So first thing's first - the slime recipe that I decided to troubleshoot is the one that uses clear glue (aka PVA) and liquid starch (Sta Flo) since it seems to be the one that causes the most trouble for folks.  (If you are using our laundry detergent recipe, you can follow this same set of directions.  Keep in mind that the laundry detergent is a direct substitute for liquid starch.)  The first interesting thing I learned is that over time the liquid starch will settle.  This was leading to a lot of inconsistency in and of itself.  So the first thing I learned about this slime recipe is:

Always shake your liquid starch container a bit to make sure that it is well-mixed.

Now that you've shaken your liquid starch, let's look at the two ways this slime can go wrong.

First way:  Not enough liquid starch

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

How do you know if this is your issue?  Your slime will be stringy - it will stick to your fingers (see how much is sticking to mine above?) a ton.  As you stir, you'll see little strings of glue grabbing your spoon.  If you grab a section of your slime, it won't lift out in a glob - just a small stringy portion will stretch up.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Remedy?  Add more liquid starch, approximately one Tablespoon at a time.  Stir well to mix in between each addition of liquid starch.  You'll know you've added enough when you no longer see those strings of glue grabbing your spoon as you stir, and you'll be able to lift all or most of the slime out if you grab a section of it.  After a few minutes of kneading it will be beeeautiful and not sticky.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Second way:  Too much liquid starch

A slime that's had too much liquid starch added will be stringy, but NOT sticky.  It won't stick to your fingers - it will slide right off.  It won't stick to a spoon or even to itself.  It's just gross looking clumps of goo (seriously SUPER gross).

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

 You can see strands of floating slime, and there will be standing liquid starch.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

How do you fix it?  First, pour off any standing liquid starch.  Then add clear glue approximately 1/4 cup at a time and stir.  Once the slime starts holding together, you will need to knead it by hand.  After adding glue and kneading for 2-3 minutes, it will be just like new!  It will gel even more if left overnight in a sealed bag.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

So what does perfect slime look like?  It holds together and doesn't have any strings of glue or standing liquid starch.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

If you grab it, it moves as one cohesive unit.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Kneading it for a minute or two will make it gel into a smoother and more uniform slime.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

Because we've noticed that the amount of liquid starch needed varies wildly from slime to slime (depending a ton on what you add to it - food coloring, liquid watercolors, glitter, etc), I really recommend adding whatever amount of glue you'd like (we usually make a slime batch with two bottles of clear glue , but even one bottle makes a pretty solid amount of slime) to a container and then slowly adding liquid starch - about 1 Tablespoon at a time - and stirring between each addition until you have slime that looks like the blue slime pictured in the cup above.  

Once you've made your slime, be sure to knead it for a few minutes to make it uniform (honestly, you can just hand it to your kid to play and that will mix it for you!).  Store it in an airtight container or Ziploc bag when you aren't using it.  It will keep for several weeks.

And don't worry if it bubbles.  That's normal.

Photographs of all the ways slime recipes can fail and how to fix each of them.  Also includes great tips for how to make perfect slime the first time!  From Fun at Home with Kids

My final awesome discovery was that vinegar will dissolve this slime - just in case you get any on your carpet or clothing!

I hope this helps those of you who have had slimes backfire on you in the past!


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All activities here are activities I feel are safe for my own children.  As your child's parents/guardians, you will need to decide what you feel is safe for your family.  I always encourage contacting your child's pediatrician for guidance if you are not sure about the safety/age appropriateness of an activity. All activities on this blog are intended to be performed with adult supervision.  Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when activities call for the use of materials that could potentially be harmful, such as scissors, or items that could present a choking risk (small items), or a drowning risk (water activities), and with introducing a new food/ingredient to a child (allergies).  Observe caution and safety at all times.  The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any of these activities on this blog.

Comments

  1. Thanks for the tips on correcting errors..... any tips on removing slime from carpet?!?

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    1. YES! Thank you for reminding me!!! Use vinegar - it will dissolve it. I am adding that to the post right now! :)

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  2. Great tips! We've been making slime since I was a little girl and now make we my kids. Nothing keeps all ages quite entranced like slime!

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  3. Thanks for all the tips, Asia! :)

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  4. I was so happy about this post, because I've had several slime fails and never knew if it was too much starch or glue. (It was too much starch.) Now I have a reference. THANK YOU!

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    1. YAY! I'm so glad to hear it's helpful! I wish you awesome slime next time! :) :) :)

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  5. I haven't yet considered the liquid starch version yet because I have a toddler who will still put things in her mouth. Should I wait until she's stopped doing that or is it safe?

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    1. No you are completely correct - glue and liquid starch are not things you want going in the mouths of littles. :) I'd recommend using our Edible Slime (which we loooove) until she's solidly grown out of that stage. Here's the link to the recipe for that one:
      http://www.funathomewithkids.com/2013/10/edible-slime-or-gak-chemical-and-borax.html

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  6. any recipes for small amounts?? would like to put ingredents in zip bags and let kids mix by squizing the bags?? will this work??

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    1. Definitely! Just add an amount of glue and add much less liquid starch a little bit at a time until it firms up and isn't sticking to the sides of the bag. Hope that helps!

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  7. is it imperative that you use clear glue, or can the regular glue be used?

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    1. Great question! We've used both, but I like the look of the clear glue best, so I tend to use that most often. Either should work!

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  8. You are truly the slime guru! Queen of Slime :) Thank you for sharing this, I am sure it will be infinitely helpful information. I hate when concoctions don't work out!

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    1. Aw, thank you Suzanne! Me too - it's SUCH a bummer! It's also so sad for me if people try something from here and it doesn't work - this will hopefully remedy that situation! :)

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  9. Hi. I have tried this slime recipe twice with Ellmers glue (which by the way is quite expensive here in Dubai) and 2 different brands of liquid starch (which is not easy to find!), but nothing happens. There is no chemical reaction whatsoever. The glue just looks like thinner, as if you have added water to it. Any suggestions?

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    1. Nooooo!!!!! That is SO frustrating. I would guess that the liquid starch over there has different ingredients. :( I think that in order to work, the liquid starch has to contain "sodium tetraborate". Is that listed as an ingredient in either of the brands you tried? SO SO SO sorry! :(

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  10. Can you give any advice on storing slime to play again another day? Like how to keep, how long it can keep... My kids will play for awhile and then want to stop. It's too expensive to throw away after such a short play time. Thank you

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    1. Yes that information is in the post already. It's towards the end. Thanks!

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  11. Not sure what went wrong. We followed the directions, using clear glue and Glide fabric starch. There was no chemical reaction. We tried shaking and adding more starch, to no avail.

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    1. Ohhh, I bet that Glide does not have the right ingredients. :( Boo! To work the liquid starch must contain sodium tetraborate. I'm so sorry!!!!

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  12. I finally tried making this kind of slime tonight, and reading this post beforehand made it so easy! I actually shouted across my house to Chris, "LOOK, I MADE AWESOME!" The kiddo even played with it after days saying, "I don't like to play with slime," every time he saw a photo of S playing with it. :D

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    1. YAYYYYY!!!!! It makes me so happy to hear all of that! I hope you post it - I am loving the new site so far!!!!!

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  13. I'm 25 with no kids but a same-aged boyfriend and plan to make this stuff. Haha, it's something to do and something to give him and his similarly childlike minded friends to play with.

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    1. Hahhaaha, I love it! It's SERIOUSLY so fun. I'm 34 and I totally love playing with slime still! :)

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  14. Hi! Every time we try to make slime, we wind up making Flubber! It's rubbery and pulls apart instead of being, well, slimy. We've used clear and white elmers glue, stay-flo, and borax. No luck! Any ideas?

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    1. Kneading in more glue will make it less solid! Hope that helps. :)

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  15. Hi, i love your blog. I have been searching for your borax recepie but cant find it. I have tried other recepies but the result is like a sponge. Which is great if you want to do spongebob :) but i was going for slime... Do you have any tips?

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    1. We don't use borax at all - I find it much easier to use liquid starch or detergent, so those are the only slime recipes we use, but if you look at the Ultimate Guide to Slimes, there are several borax recipes from other site. That's very strange - if your slime is too firm, knead more glue in, about a Tablespoon at a time. That should fix it!

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  16. I cant find liquide starch in my country, i have tried 5 Times' but i'm not giving up! Thank you for an inspiring blogg.

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    1. Thank you! And I hope you find something that works soon!

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  17. I madefor the first time yesterday and it didn't work...I used the exact obedient and measurements but added food coloring during the mixing stage...it turned out ínto gel clumps with some liquid around it? Any suggestions?

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    1. Yep! You have too much liquid starch. Add more glue and that should fix it! :)

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  18. are the colors just regular food coloring and glitter?

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    1. We used glitter liquid watercolors, but you could use food coloring and glitter!

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Well, hello there!



Welcome to Fun at Home with Kids! I'm Asia, a teacher (M. Ed) turned SAHM mom to two young kids: X and S. Around here we like to do a little bit of everything - science, art, crafts, sensory play, and small world play. Click here to read more about us!

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