Given the popularity of slime, I decided to do a family program to show people how easy slime is to make. My plan was to have several demonstration tables to show how to make some of the more complicated recipes, have a DIY slime bar, have a take-home recipe sheet, and provide take-home samples of glow-in-the-dark slime, thermochromic slime, and magnetic slime.
Both the director and I were anticipating around 20 people to attend. The library hasn’t really offered children’s/family programming other than a regular storytime on Tuesday mornings, and we assumed that there would be a smaller turn out because of this. How wrong we were. 86 people attended the program. It was very chaotic, though full of happy children. If I had figured for that many people, I would have modified my set up.
Three things I want to mention:
1.) Slime is an artistic science. You can visit five websites and find five different ways to make the same recipe. If one version of the recipe doesn’t work, try another; experiment with ratios. I tend to stick with the basic Elmer’s school glue/liquid starch recipe because I have always gotten consistent results.
2.) Brands do make a difference, especially with glue. Elmer’s school glue or Elmer’s clear glue are the best choices. I have used other brands of glue, and found that the slime doesn’t “gel” properly.
3.) White vinegar will get slime out of ANYTHING. The vinegar breaks apart the molecular bonds holding the slime together, even if you discover 3-week old dried slime on the bathmat your children hid.
Recipe Handout & Take-Home Samples
Table 1 was set up for families to get a slime recipe handout, and to take home a sample of slime. I chose glow-in-the-dark, magnetic, and thermochromic so families could take home a “specialty” slime in addition to the basic slime they made at the DIY bar. These slimes are more expensive to make and wouldn’t have been practical to include in the DIY bar. (These are the containers I used to put the slime in.)
Glow-in-the-Dark Slime: I used paint, and it seemed like the the glow was somewhat weak. I did not “charge” the slime, so that might have been a factor. I would like to use a glow-in-the-dark powder for comparison purposes.
Magnetic Slime: Iron oxide powder is a must for this. I attempted to use magnetic paint, but the smell and the fact that the black leeched onto my hands made it human-unfriendly. It’s important to note that the slime itself isn’t necessarily magnetic – meaning it won’t stick to something metal. It reacts to rare earth/neodymium magnets, not so much regular magnets.
Thermochromic Slime: Make sure when making this, that you use powders that react at a lower temperature, such as 72-74*F. Using a powder that reacts at a higher temperature will render the slime pretty much useless in a color-changing sense unless it is very hot outside. I bought my powder from SolarColorDust. You can also find multiple options on Amazon by searching “thermochromic pigment powder.”
I set up three tables for demonstrations on how to make saline slime, fluffy slime, and gak/borax slime. I had planned on rotating through them periodically to show families how to make slime variations different from the recipe used at the DIY bar. However, because of sheer number of participants, I ended up only haphazardly being able to man the demonstration tables. Most of my time was spent helping families troubleshoot their slime.
Saline Slime: I still haven’t worked out the best amount of saline solution when I make this. Even with using a 1/4 cup, I had to squirt more solution into the mixture to make sure it gelled properly. As a whole though, I do like this version of slime.
Fluffy Slime: My kids love this version of slime, and it is fun to make. My only complaint is that the “fluff” doesn’t last very long. The slime is still usable, it just doesn’t have the volume of a freshly made batch.
Gak/Borax Slime: This is my least favorite slime recipe. It’s less “slime” and more “Jello-O”, especially when you store it and try to play with it several days later. Plus, when I made this with my Girl Scout troop, several of the girls complained about their hands stinging. I still included it because it is a recipe that you find on multiple websites, and because many people have good results with it. Be careful with the amount of borax you use – too much and you’ll end up with a bouncy ball.
DIY Slime Bar
I am very glad that Bean volunteered to help because it would have been even more crazy without her. She ended up manning a section of the DIY slime bar in order to refill cups and help with slime-making. The director also ended up having to help as well. If I had known how many families were going to attend, I would have used more tables, spreading out each step to give everyone more space. I would also have shifted the tables a bit to make sure there was space behind them to store supplies to make it easier to refill as needed.
Note: I also included some cut up drinking straws to facilitate blowing slime bubbles.