Playing with Polymers: Make slime at home. by Maki Naro via popsci
I love home science projects. If it can be done on a stovetop with cooking ingredients, I’ve probably done it at some point. I’ve angered roommate and significant other alike by clanging pots and pans at 2am, or by using said pots and pans to make questionable substances*. It’s just part of who I am and what I do. I get bored at night and ferment soybeans in a cooler.
Today’s project has a bit of history. I used to run a metal sculpture shop at an art and performing arts camp in Connecticut. Some days, the staff and I would deem it to be too hot to be running fiery tools or wearing heavy protective coats and masks. While rummaging in the tool shed for something for the campers to do, I realized we had the ingredients to make slime, or Gak. PVA glue is fairly easy to come by, and its applications range from bookbinding to woodworking. It’s a tough, all purpose glue. Borax is a little trickier to find these days, where once it was a common household laundry booster. I kept a box around for when we did bronze sculptures, as borax makes a great flux, which purges the melting metal of impurities that can then be skimmed off the top of the crucible.
Add some paint for color, and soon enough we had the campers making slime by the bucketful, and the staff could take a break from the loud machinery. It’s also a great lesson in non-newtonian fluids, as even the runniest slime can be quickly rolled up into a ball, only to slowly return to a more fluid state.
This is a great project to do with kids due to the minimal prep work and simple process. Earlier this week, I took a trip up to 92Y’s Camp Yomi as part of the New York Academy of Science’s visiting scientist program. I brought the borax solution and glue pre-mixed in condiment bottles. We made a huge mess, but the kids had a blast, and hopefully took home more than just a plastic egg full of slime.
For an even slimier slime, ditch the Polyvinyl Acetate for Polyvinyl Alcohol. You can find that recipe, as well as an in depth look at the chemistry behind the slime-making process here.
*Don’t worry, everything I’ve made has been nontoxic.
Each Saturday Morning here at Adafruit is Saturday Morning Cartoons! Be sure to check our cartoon and animated posts both nostalgic and new that inspire makers of all ages! You’ll find how-tos for young makers, approaches to learning about science and engineering, and all sorts of comic strip and animated Saturday Morning fun! Be sure to check out our Adafruit products featuring comic book art while you’re at it!
Adafruit has had paid day off for voting for our team for years, if you need help getting that going for your organization, let us know – we can share how and why we did this as well as the good results. Here are some resources for voting by mail, voting in person, and some NY resources for our NY based teams as well. If there are additional resources to add, please let us know – adafruit.com/vote
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.