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I tried to make slime—and I failed really hard

Nothing on Earth can prepare you for slime


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True fact: up until a couple of days ago, I'd never heard of slime.

I can practically hear the gasps of shock and the comments of "lol u been under a rock?" from here. But, surprise! If you don't have kids, chances are, you've never heard of slime.

If you grew up in the 90s, though, like most older millennials, you've probably heard of or experienced slime's predecessors:

-Nickelodeon Gak
-Nickelodeon Slime

(Yeah, Nickelodeon had a real monopoly on slime in the 90s.)

Credit: Giphy

-Silly Putty

Or, more recently:

-Kinetic Sand

For the uninitiated, "slime" is the stretchable goo craze that's taken over the homes of younger kids all over the country. There's edible and non-edible slime, sparkly slime, and colorful slime. What do these slimes all have in common? They can all be made, with semi-common household ingredients, in less than an hour. Also, they are sure to distract/fascinate/disgust your kids.

My Journey Into Slime

Last weekend, I visited my nephews with the promise to bring over a robot and stuff with which to make slime (I am trying to be a cool aunt, don't judge me).

The robot part went off without a hitch. To read about Wonder Workshop's Dash Robot, and how it teaches kids how to code, head here.

The slime part was...less successful. I had the ingredients for two batches of slime, both of which were from recipes taken from this Digital Trends article.

For convenience's sake, I'll reproduce the recipes here.

Edible Slime Recipe

-1 cup of confectioners sugar
-1 teaspoon of cocoa powder
-1/8 teaspoon of salt
-1 tablespoon of butter, margarine, or coconut oil
-2 teaspoons of warm water

1) Melt your butter, margarine, or coconut oil in the microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds.
2) Add the warm water and stir.
3) Add the confectioners sugar, cocoa, and salt and stir the mixture until it’s smooth.
4) Let it sit for about 5 minutes.
5) Play with your edible slime and eat it!

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How was the slime? We had moderate success with this recipe. It wasn't the exact slime-y texture that you see in the pictures (where kids gleefully stretch the slime between their parted hands); it was more squishy and butter-y than stretchy, but it was fun to play with, and it tasted like fudge.

Credit: / Kristen MacDougall

Note: I do not blame the recipe at for this outcome at all. This recipe amounts to baking without the heat, and as everyone knows, if one minor thing goes wrong in baking, it can result in catastrophe (or, in this case, chocolate-flavored batter you can squish rather than stretch).

Cleanup was a breeze. That is, we just ate the slime, and everything else went in the dishwasher.

Non-Edible Slime Recipe

-4 oz (one small bottle) of school glue
-1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
-1 tablespoon contact lens cleaning solution
-food coloring (optional)

1) Pour the glue into a disposable cup or bowl.
2) Add the baking soda and stir until everything is well-mixed.
3) Add a small amount of food coloring. If you use too much, the slime will color your hands and other surfaces.
4) Add the contact lens solution slowly, and stir and knead the mixture until it becomes thick and putty-like. Do not add too much contact lens solution. If you add too much, your slime will have a wet feeling, and it will not last as long.

How was the slime? It wasn't slime, sadly. My nephews carefully helped me to measure out the right amount of baking soda, and happily dumped a bottle of glue into a bowl. We all took turns stirring, and then I started squirting in the contact lens solution a little bit at a time.

Credit: / Kristen MacDougall

We stirred.

And stirred.

And stirred.

Credit: / Kristen MacDougall

No dice. It was not at all stretchy, it didn't congeal, and was mostly still runny like glue.

Note: Again, I do not blame the recipe at all; we could have been a bit liberal with one or more ingredients, or not stirred as much as we should have.

My cousin, in an effort to help her kids actually get something out of this utter failboat of a slime experience, starting asking her boys leading questions like, "If something is too goopy, what should we add to make it less goopy?"

Of course, the answer was to add something solid, like the baking soda. However, with both a little and a lot of extra baking soda, that just made it sandier and grittier, rather than making it turn into a stretchy, sticky blob. In the end, we had fun squishing it between our fingers, but that was about it. It was definitely not slime.

Credit: / Kristen MacDougall

As you might guess, cleanup was not as easy as it was for the edible slime, since eating glue with baking powder and cleaning solution is inadvisable. The creator of this recipe is smart to advise putting the glue in a disposable container.

It wasn't until I was on my way home from the visit that I realized I had made a very specific mistake (on top of the general slime!fail): the contact lens solution I'd used was actually called "multi-purpose cleaner", and was missing two key ingredients, which are variants of borax.

Credit: / Kristen MacDougall

So this morning, I followed the directions again, making sure I used actual contact lens cleaner, which contains boric acid and sodium borate.

Still no dice. It still had the consistency of sandy glue. Again, adding more baking soda failed to make the stretchiness materialize.

Long story short (too late): Learn from my mistakes, and make a batch or two of slime before you try to do it with your kids. That way, you can avoid feeling like an awful person who deprived small children of the slime experiences of their lives.

For more great slime resources, check out Elmer's (of Elmer's Glue) slime page.

UPDATE: You can read about my more successful attempts to make slime here.

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