How to Make Silly Putty

Five Methods:Liquid StarchLaundry DetergentBoraxBaby Powder SlimeSoap Slime

Silly Putty was accidentally invented during World War II, when American scientists were trying to create synthetic rubber. Now, almost everyone is familiar with the amusing goo found in a plastic egg. For some easy fun with kids, use one of these methods to make silly putty to entertain them for a while.

Method 1
Liquid Starch

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    Mix two parts white glue with one part liquid starch. The liquid starch (e.g. Sta-Flo) should be concentrated and can usually be found in the laundry section. Some brands will work better than others (Niagara has tested poorly[1]).
    • If you use Elmer's school glue (an American brand of glue) instead of regular white school glue, the putty won't bounce.[2] However, Elmer's all-purpose glue will work.[1]
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    • If you'd like, add food coloring in at this stage. Be generous. The color will disperse and lighten up significantly.
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    Stir until desired consistency is reached. If you need to, adjust the proportions until it feels like commercial Silly Putty.
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    Shape mostly formed putty with your hands. It may need to be worked with a bit to achieve the best results. Take it out of the bowl, roll it around, stretch it apart, and contort it to get it going.
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    Place it in an airtight container. Keep the putty in a clear, plastic, resealable container when you're finished using it. To keep it for later, your putty needs to stay away from air. It will also keep for a longer period of time if kept in the refrigerator. Alternatively, keep it in a resealable plastic bag. Just make sure it's sealed up all the way.

Method 2
Laundry Detergent

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    Pour 1/4 cup white glue into a container. The amount should not be roughly the same as the total amount of putty you’d like to end with. If you'd like more, adjust the recipe as necessary.
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    Mix in food coloring if desired. Simply squeeze several drops into the glue and stir well.
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    Add 2 tablespoons of laundry detergent. Never substitute this with dish soap, as the consistencies are not the same. You may find that liquid works better than powdered, but both will do the job.
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    Stir well. As you stir, the mixture will turn from a sticky, gooey mess to a semi-solid, putty-like consistency. If it's remaining sticky after a few minutes of stirring, add in more detergent, bit by bit.
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    Knead the putty by hand. When it has reached a putty-like consistency, knead it with your hands. This will continue to develop the consistency of the putty and squeeze out any excess soap.
    • Store it in an airtight container. Unless you are keeping it warm and pliable with your hands, it should be put away in a plastic container of some sort . Place the container (or whatever you are using) in the fridge to prolong your putty's life.

Method 3

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    Mix 1/4 c (2 oz) glue with 1/4 cup (60 ml) water. Add the ingredients to a bowl. Stir the mixture well until it's one clearly combined consistency. Add the food coloring at this stage if desired. The more you add, the darker your silly putty will be.
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    Dissolve 1 tbsp (15 g) Borax in 1/8 cup (30 ml) water. Make sure it's completely dissolved -- you don't want your putty to be grainy. For the record, Borax has been deemed dangerous and should not be ingested.[3] However, it makes for great silly putty.
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    Combine your two mixtures. As you stir it, you should notice it start to congeal. If it's too sticky, add more Borax. Keep stirring until it mostly resembles silly putty. Then, take it into your hands and knead it for 5-10 minutes.
    • Play away! Your silly putty is ready. As long as it stays warm, it'll stay pliable (and playable).
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    Store in an airtight container for later use. You may keep it in the fridge too. When you take it out, it will need to get reworked into shape, but after 10 minutes or so, it should come back to life. If you leave it out in the open, it will lose its shape.

Method 4
Baby Powder Slime

This slime or putty won't bounce or stretch. This can also be used as air dry clay.

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    Add 5 tablespoons baby powder in a bowl. You'll mix everything in this bowl or cup.
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    Add 1 teaspoon of glue. For a more liquid slime, add 2 tablespoons.
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    Mix well.
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    Store in an airtight container.
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    Use. Play on non-stick surfaces only. Do not put on tablecloth etc. Always have a place-mat or a surface where it is okay to get messy.

Method 5
Soap Slime

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    Mix equal parts shower gel and shampoo. Note that liquid clear soap will also work instead of the shower gel.
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    Mix well.
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    Stand aside to clear.
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    Place in the refrigerator to set. After a few hours, put it in overnight; it should form a reasonably solid slime to play with. Alternatively, put in the freezer for a shorter time.
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    Use or store as desired.
    • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator in between uses. Discard within a month, or earlier if filthy.


  • You can put it in the fridge to help it stay fresh and prevent mold.
  • To avoid an unnecessary mess, put down some old newspapers and have your child wear an old shirt or apron.
  • Knead the putty well. For some variations, it'll need a little coaxing.
  • Make sure you wash your hands after as you might get dirty hands.
  • Be careful where you put it down for it is fun and messy!
  • Make sure you wear an old shirt and gloves you don't know what could happen!
  • Adding too much water will make a very watery consistency.
  • Add less water and the results turn out better.
  • Try to knead it so it won't dry out.
  • If you're creating soap putty and it doesn't set quickly, keep it longer in the fridge.
  • Keep it in a good container to keep it from drying out.
  • Try not to use too much glue, or it will become too sticky and slimy.
  • If it's too sticky, then add more detergent and it will get the perfect consistency.
  • If you want to do the shower gel and shampoo method, you can also use just shampoo(or hand soap)and add a little bit of salt then put into the freezer for about 30 minutes.


  • When working with food coloring, cover surfaces and use disposable gloves; food coloring is difficult to wash off and can become permanent if not rinsed away while it’s still wet.
  • Keep away from cloth surfaces. Putty sticks to clothing and cannot easily be removed.
  • Do not digest the putty. The ingredients are not edible and in fact can be very dangerous.
  • Some do-it-yourself silly putty recipes call for the use of borax. Be aware that borax has been deemed “toxic for reproduction” and is on the EU’s Substance of Very High Concern (SVHC) list.[4]

Things You'll Need

With Liquid Starch

  • 2:1 ratio of white glue to liquid starch
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Resealable container
  • Food coloring (optional)

With Laundry Detergent

  • Bowl
  • 1/4 cup white glue
  • 2 tablespoons laundry detergent
  • Food coloring (if desired)
  • Spoon
  • Resealable container

With Borax

  • 1/4 cup white glue
  • 1 tablespoon Borax
  • 3/8 cup water
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Resealable container
  • Food coloring (if desired)

Baby Powder

  • 5 tablespoons baby powder
  • 1-2 tablespoons glue
  • Mixing bowl and implement
  • Airtight container
  • Non-stick surface for play (plastic tray, wood, etc.)

Soap Slime

  • Liquid clear soap
  • Shower gel
  • Mixing container

Article Info

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