If your local stores have been out of Elmer's glue lately, the DIY slime trend is the culprit. Homemade slime has been popular recently with preteens and teens, who post videos of themselves making the goo and playing with it endlessly on YouTube and Instagram. (Some of them have hundreds of thousands of followers and make thousands of dollars a month from selling the colorful ooze, according to New York Magazine.)
Parents are jumping on the bandwagon as they try to keep little kids and their busy hands occupied, especially during school vacations and rainy days. But the slime of today is a little different than the silly putty or neon green "Ghostbuster" slime we may remember from our youth.
Elmer's glue (sometimes clear, sometimes white) is the main ingredient for slime, along with water and borax or liquid fabric softener — called "slime activators" in the slime world. From there, adding food coloring or paint will change the hue, and adding glitter or tiny balls or beads adds sparkle or texture.
For slime newbies, here's a beginner's recipe:
Once you've mastered the basic recipe, make a few batches and color them in pastels to achieve the beautiful yet unfortunately named "unicorn poop" slime:
Fluffy slime is puffier than regular slime, and the air bubbles contained within the goo make it noisier and more satisfying (sensory-wise) to play with. These slime recipes often call for shaving cream and foaming soap to make it fluffy, lotion to make it stretchy and corn starch to help the slime hold its shape as you play. Choosing scented soap or lotion will add fragrance to your slime.
If you don't want to use borax, liquid fabric softener or laundry detergent is a suitable substitute, as this video for "crunchy" fluffy slime shows:
A note on glitter slime: I watched a few videos that said pre-mixed glitter glue didn't work as well as clear Elmer's glue plus separate glitter. And if you're worried about the glitter getting all over your hands, the slime is supposed to be sticky enough to hold it all in. This recipe for galaxy slime with glitter doesn't use borax either:
For those who need larger quantities of slime (maybe for a birthday party), this recipe for giant bubblegum slime makes a bucket-full:
This recipe for glow-in-the-dark slime would be another great party addition. You just need glow powder, which isn't something many of us stock in the pantry:
Looking for more texture? Adding tiny foam beads ups the crunch factor:
Here's a fun way to package and present your crunchy slime: in a snow cone (apologies for the annoying girl who talks your ear off at the start of the video). She uses tiny plastic pellets instead of foam beads:
Crunchy slime is also known as fish bowl and geode slime:
On the opposite end of the spectrum from "unicorn poop" slime is metallic slime. This video tutorial for shimmery silver and gold slime uses no borax:
This steel slime is so cool, it looks like liquid metal: