I’ve tried my best to resist the slime craze in our house … but the day has finally come. (Cue sinister music.)
Seriously, messy projects don’t bother me (we homeschool … need I say more) but what does bother me are the ingredients kids all over the globe are using to make slime. I’d rather my kids didn’t inhale and squish the likes of glue, borax, and conventional soaps through their fingers for hours. (Not to mention if you have little ones around.)
One day I took the plunge and decided to go for major Mom points. I came home with a bagful of all natural ingredients and announced to the kids … it was slime time!
Making slime was a lot more fun (even for me) than I expected it to be and the mess stayed within reasonable limits. I’d even venture to say we’d do it again!
What Is Slime?
I’m pretty sure the whole world knows the answer to this question by now, but just in case you’ve missed it … slime is a satisfyingly ooey-gooey polymer that can be molded, poured, squished, and stretched. The sounds it makes while doing so are very much part of the fascination!
On a practical note, slime is a great sensory play experience for young children who especially need that outlet. Some even use it for educational STEM activities.
How Do You Make Safe Slime?
Most recipes for slime include so-called “non-toxic” ingredients and because of that it’s assumed that they are safe. The truth is non-toxic isn’t the same as inert and non-toxic ingredients still have dangers.
The slime recipes that started this whole phenomenon contained borax. Now, some of my own natural cleaning recipes use borax and it’s one of the main ingredients in my homemade laundry detergent. It does have some hazards associated with it though and is definitely not meant for direct contact with the skin.
On an even more serious note, ingesting borax even in small amounts is very dangerous. Slime + borax + kids + younger siblings = not a good idea.
Homemade Slime With Eye Drops, Liquid Starch, or Laundry Detergent
When slime accidents started to happen and reports of skin irritations and even hospitalizations started to circulate, everyone wanted a slime recipe without borax.
The problem is the ingredients in “borax free” slime are not any safer. In fact, most were an easy swap because they contained borax.
Here are some of the ingredients I’d pass on when making slime:
- Eye drops – These may seem safe because they are made to go in your eyes, but eye drops are not safe for young kids either. Drinking eye drops can lead to a serious medical emergency.
- Liquid starch – This ingredient contains several chemicals that can irritate the skin, including lye which requires more precautions around children.
- Laundry detergent – I make my own laundry soap because of the toxic ingredients found in most conventional ones, and even natural detergents are a problem here because they simply aren’t meant to be handled in full concentration. When it is added to the wash, it become highly diluted and is then rinsed out. There is residue on the clothes but that is not the same as direct contact.
- Glue – Can’t forget the main ingredient in conventional slime recipes … glue! Glue is far from natural and contains toluene and several other things I’m not crazy about. Even “non-toxic” craft glues aren’t meant to be put on skin.
So, all of the “safer” slime recipes really aren’t that safe at all!
How to Make Slime Without Borax or Glue
I didn’t want to just take out the borax, eye drops, liquid starch, laundry detergent, and glue. I wanted to take out anything that I wouldn’t allow my children to handle.
The only way to make truly safe slime was to use natural ingredients so safe you could eat them, so to the pantry we went!
It took a few attempts (seven to be exact) but we finally found a recipe that works. This slime is, well, slimy but not overly messy. It is gluten free, all natural, and can be made on the stove-top (a bonus for those without microwaves).
All Natural Slime Recipe Tutorial
I recommend getting the kids involved to help make the slime, as it’s a fun learning project and will get them thinking creatively.
Natural Slime Ingredients:
- 2 cups lukewarm water
- 1 TBSP organic NuSyllium natural fiber (or bulk psyllium powder)
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- 3-4 drops natural food coloring (optional)
Homemade Slime Instructions:
- Add water to a medium-sized pot.
- Add in fiber and cornstarch. Drop in food coloring.
- Gently stir to combine slightly.
- Place on medium/low heat. (We set our range to 4).
- Bring to a boil.
- Gently boil for 5 mins.
- Remove from heat and let cool for two minutes.
- Repeat steps 6 and 7 three more times.
- Test slime with spoon. If it stretches like slime it is ready, if not repeat 6 and 7 one more time.
- Allow to cool completely. It will thicken significantly as it cools.
- Store in an airtight container.
Natural Slime Tips & Tricks
Our kitchen resembled a mad scientist’s lab by the end of this experiment with slime in various conditions and stages all over the place. Along the way we learned a lot about what not to do. Here are some tips:
- DO NOT STIR!! It is tempting but don’t do it!
- Watch the pot closely and don’t put the heat up too high. A watched pot might not boil, but an unwatched pot of slime on high heat will boil over.
- Since we weren’t eating it, we just used liquid food coloring, but I plan to try turmeric, spinach powder, and beet powder like I have used in playdough.
- This slime makes a small batch. I tried doubling the recipe and it didn’t work.
- Let the slime cool completely, for a few hours if possible, to let it set up the best. Once it is handled, it will not set anymore.
Slime … love it or hate it? Have any other ideas of how to make a successful natural slime?