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!
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
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.
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.
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).
You can see strands of floating slime, and there will be standing liquid starch.
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.
So what does perfect slime look like? It holds together and doesn't have any strings of glue or standing liquid starch.
If you grab it, it moves as one cohesive unit.
Kneading it for a minute or two will make it gel into a smoother and more uniform slime.
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.
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!
Oh and if you are from the UK and looking for how to make slime with UK ingredients - you can find the answer to that in this post!
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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.