Master 5 received a small package of Silly Putty a few weeks ago (the commercial stuff) and he LOVED it! This got my brain ticking and figured I would be able to make this myself…as it turns out, you absolutely can!
I tried a few recipes but found that this one found at Musings from a Stay at Home Mom was the BEST of them all! It was slimy, stretchy, oozy, mouldable goodness. This activity also doubles as a Science Experiment too so it’s education and fun all rolled into one!
It’s so fancinating to watch as two liquids come together to form a solid. It’s like the Silly Putty has a life of it’s own and moves by itself, it truly is AMAZING! Oh and did I mention it only takes 5 minutes to make! Oh Homemade Silly Putty, is there anything you can not do?
Check out our adorable video on how to make Frozen Silly Putty below!
You will need:
I bottle of Elmers Glue (118ml)
118 ml of water
* 1/2 teaspoon of Borax (I bought mine at Bunnings Hardware store for $8)
1/4 cup hot water
Refer to the photos above for reference : )
1. Set out your ingredients
2. Pour your glue into a bowl
3. Add the 118ml of water
4. Mix until completely combined
5. Add a few drops of your chosen food colouring
6. Mix until well combined
7. Add 1/4 cup of hot water to a separate container, add the 1/2 teaspoon of Borax & stir until combined
8. Pour the Borax solution into the mixture in the bowl
10. Watch the magic happen!
It really is fantastic to watch the mixture turn to Silly Putty before your very eyes!
I got a little over excited with this recipe and made 5 batches! It keeps for weeks and it gets some serious play time from my two kiddos! There are SO many different ways you can play with it too…
Roll them up…
Make a giant snake…
Make cool handprints…
Watch it slowly move…
Watch it BOUNCE! Yes, it really does bounce!
Lie it on yourself…
Make it into a necklace…hang on a minute…what?
The Silly Putty stores really well in snap lock bags or air tight containers : ) This would make a great gift for kindy/school friends, cousins, the neighbours kiddos and more. Did I mention that I LOVE this stuff? Lol!
*Please note that Borax is not edible so please make sure that anything including Borax stays away from little mouths and tummies!
We have some other FUN activities for you to try using Borax too!
How to Grow Your Own Crystals!
132 thoughts on “Homemade Silly Putty”
Is school glue the same as PVA glue? If not, what exactly is ‘school glue’? I have not heard of it! TIA ~Jenni
Hi Jenni, yes it’s the same as PVA…it’s the thick, white glue. I used ‘Elmer’s Glue’ which you can get at Woolworths. Hope this helps : ) Jenni x
The way you describe it, it sound like wood glue. Will it work ??
I have never tried it with wood glue Adante, but you could always try…I’m sure you could buy Elmers’ glue online? I hope this helps : ) Jenni x
If you do not use borax what will happen
It won’t work…sorry Grace
Well Elmer’s gule is fantastic in silly putty
School glue and Elmer’s glue are not synonymous, altho many people use the descriptions that way. Make sure you purchase Elmer’s glue.
Hi there, I’m in New Zealand just wondering if borax is the same as lux flakes (washing flakes). Cant aait to make this as holidays start next friday
Hi there, no I believe Lux Flakes is quite different. I would have a bit of a google as I know you can buy Borax online : ) Jenni x
No Jess borax is not like lux flakes, go to your local hardware store and ask for borax.
I’m in NZ too; bunnings.co.nz had 1kg containers of Borax on their website for 9.99 🙂
I live in New Zealand too. You can get a big container of powdered Borax from the Bin Inn. It is about $10 and you just make up a super saturated solution. Works great.
You can purchase borax at bin inn in nz. You can use it to make your own washing machine liquid detergent too.
We brought elmers glue from warehouse stationary in nz.
No. Lux Flakes is soap most for fine fabrics or perhaps dishes. Powdered Borax should be on the shelf at the pharmacy. It is poisonous if taken internally, so make sure that children do not put their hands in their mouths after playing with the silly putty.
Hi Jenni, I’ve just made some of this silly putty but it was an absolute failure! So watery and squishy not malleable at all. Any idea what might have gone wrong? I had all the right ingredients……was hoping to use it this weekend for my daughters birthday party.
Oh no! Did you use the same brand of Borax and School glue? I have made this exact recipe about 6 – 8 times now using the ingredients pictured and haven’t had any failures. Was the water you used hot? Jenni x
Add little more borax it will fix it i had the same prob then i remembered that as soon as you add the borax it tightens up
Sooooooo coooool! My kids loved it. They are playing right now. Thank you for sharing!
That’s awesome Mariana! Thanks for letting us know. So glad your kids are enjoying themselves : ) Jenni x
LOVE THIS! So cool. I just bought my Borax from the laundry aisle at Coles and it was $4 and I got a massive bottle of glue from the $2 shop. So cheap and quick to make. Thanks for sharing! 🙂
That’s awesome Kelly! I didn’t know you could get Borax from Coles! Super excited now : ) Jenni x
Its also available at Walmart. We make our own detergent its found in that aisle big box!
Hi there, So ve tried making this twice, it goes very bizzare. not stretchy and fun at all, watery and slimy and just kinda breaks if you stretch it. I used white pva woodglue….I thought it would work because its still white pva but could this be why it didnt work?
Hi Alexandra, I’m sorry this didn’t work out for you. I’ve only used the Elmer’s school glue in this recipe but I’ve heard white PVA glue would work the same…I will amend the blog to state the Elmer’s glue only. Thanks so much for letting us know
Does anyone know where I can buy the Elmer’s brand of glue? I’ve seen others but not ELmer’s.
I bought mine at my local supermarket in the craft section. Jenni x
I make mine using water, glycerine and food colouring and guar gum (which is used in gluten free cooking) then borax. This way makes see through slime but still that rubbery touch.
I make this with my science classes. I’d love your recipe if you don’t mind sharing. I’d love to make some clear silly putty.
Wow this looks awesome. I work in a kindergarten and they would absolutely love it. I am in the uk, can I get the same ingredients here or similar?
Yes you can use almost any type of white pva glue… It comes in internal and external…. It would be cheaper from the equivalent of a “2 dollar” shop… I can’t remember what they would be called over there
I would imagine 20 Mule Team Borax laundry detergent would do. Because, some children use up the art class’s elmer’s glue in school by mixing it with powdered hand soap. They are not careful about measurements. But, it still works for them.
Hi! I LOVE these recipes!!! A word about borax.. It is not the same as boric acid, which is toxic. 20-Mule-Team Borax is a safe, non-toxic mineral. In fact I drink tiny amounts mixed in water, since it is a mineral that we need and has been processed out of everything. (google “The Borax Conspiracy”) Anyway, it won’t hurt a thing if the kiddies get it on their hands and touch their mouths. No worries.
Where I live, it is sold in most grocery stores in the laundry section for around $3.99. 1 cup of borax mixed with a grated bar of Castile soap and 1 cup of Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda makes wonderful laundry detergent!
Thank you so much for these recipes! I will share them with my grandkids! <3
Hi.. Im in SA .. so nobody here knows elmer glue, what will i be able to use in its place? I read the comment saying PVA glue will work.. where will i get it? supermark or hardware store
Thank you very much for sharing!!* I think my niece will love it.
I think you might be able to use PVA glue, but I have heard that not all brands are the same. Sorry if this is no help to you. Jenni x
I use one called ‘Craft Glue’ and they sell big bottles of it at your local $2 shop. As far as I know, it’s the basic, cheapest kind of glue. Good luck.
I’ve tried with several brands of PVA and i finally asked the science lab techs at the school I work at, they say that not all PVA glues are created equally. They have tried a few brands themselves and they find that Elmers works well. They know that a couple of other brands also work but they’re not sure which ones as they were brands they tried early on , before they realised that not all brands work. It would be nice if people could say any other brands they know that work for sure as trial an error could get expensive.
Hi Karli, that’s very interesting to hear. We will report back if we make it using a different brand and hopefully some other parents in our community can reply also :).
Hi Adante, I also live in SA and I think the equivalent glue here would be the white Ponal wood glue that our kids use at school.
I’ve searched multiple Coles and Woolworths here in SA and have finally found elmers glue at Woolworths Arndale. in the stationary section. so obviously not in all Woolworths.
Use a white school glue. It does not matter the brand, as long as it says ‘school glue’ Another brand is RoseArt. You can buy a gallon of Elmer’s on Amazon. com for $11 US, not sue what that would be in other countries. Another fun thing to make is Oobleck. You use cornstarch and water. When you hold it, it oozes like a liquid. When it is flat on a table, it responds as a solid. Have fun 🙂
I am also in SA and have seen Elmers glue in officeworks
Well, this works! Thanks for the info, it was very easy to make. I let my girls make it themselves and found that because they were a little impatient, they didn’t mix it thoroughly so it isn’t quite as stretchy as it appears in the pics here. BUT it is still slimey and gooey and great fun. 🙂
(Bunnings sell large container and Coles sell small container of the borax and I found the “Elmers” brand glue in my local Woolies) (SW Western Aus)
Hi… I am browsing your website, and LOVING it.. I work with small children (0-3 years) and I gotta say THANK YOU for your wonderful ideas…!! In the mentale… I am from Danmark.. So… What on earth is BORAX??
The slime looks like something my son would love trying out, but it is kindda expensive buying in the shops… 😉
Hi Jane, thank you so much for saying you love our site, it absolutely makes our day when we hear such lovely things! We love that you are all the way over in Danmark too (we are in Australia). We buy our Borax for $8 for quite a large container…it is found amongst the cleaning agents in most hardware stores…have you tried having a look online? Jenni x
We’ve just made this, it’s fantastic!!
So glad you enjoyed this recipe and activity :). Louise x
Looks like some great ideas to entertain my grandchildren!
I saw this and cant wait to try this is out! I would like to make a couple different batches of colors. The recipe you have does that make one color that I see in the pictures?
Hi Jessica, you won’t regret it, it’s super fun! We make this over & over! Yes the recipe is for one batch – so one colour. Jenni x
Hi, this is just some added info for all of you. I live in the US and always have Borax in my house. You can buy it really cheap here in the laundry soap isle. It is a detergent booster,(been around for about 50 years, I think; but not many people use it anymore) but I use it as a safe pesticide. It is non-toxic to humans and animals. I sprinkle it in my windowsills , and any bugs that try to get in, die, right there. Also, if you have fleas in your carpet, sprinkle it all over, vacuum up a couple of hours later. Completely gone. Just wanted to give helpful uses for your left-over Borax.
You can get Borax in Australia in the cleaning isle at woollies/coles/iga 🙂 in a small round tub and PVA glue works best
I have made this many times over the years as a sensory activity with children with special needs. I have found using Koolaid packets instead of food coloring adds to the fun as it creates a color and scent that lasts for weeks.
Hi i live in the UK and have never heard of borax. Could you explain what this is please so I can try to find an alternative product. Thank you 🙂
Hi Vicky, we have heard from some of our UK followers that you can’t buy Borax there : ( However, you could possibly try buying it online : ) Jenni x
Morning all, I’m a little confused, I’ve never heard of borax could you tell me what it is here in the UK pretty please
Hi Danielle, we have heard from some of our UK followers that you can’t buy Borax there : ( However, you could possibly try buying it online : ) Jenni x
Love this stuff! Thanks so much for creating the recipe and sharing it with us! 🙂
I made it today using PVA glue and borax and used same amounts etc…. our first attempt was weird when the borax was added it sort of separated the ingredients and left ALOT of watery residue (mind u it was a really hot day 46degrees celcius) 2nd attempt I tried without the colouring it came together ok-bug wasnt stretchy at all, snapped and was sort of granular (and we used really hot water to dissolve the borax) gonna have to keep my wye out for the Elmers glue might be brand specific…..
I am a retired teacher and used this to demonstrate science properties of matter. The student’s always enjoyed this activity! I look forward to revisiting this with my grandsons. In the States, 20 Mule team Borax is found in the laundry detergent aisle of any grocery store.
Love it, my first attempt was a disaster, I used normal pva craft glue and it was like rubber. Found the washable school glue at wollies and it was perfect, also had a bottle of craylor washable school glue $2 at big w works the same! My 16 month loves it as does the 3 year old. Thank you soo much
Hi just wondering if it was possible to make this so it was edible, I look after special needs Children and everything ends up in there mouths, looks great and would love to try making some. Thanks
Hi Janet, I am yet to come up with a recipe that would be edible. If you are working with children that do have a tendency to put things in their mouth, I wouldn’t use this as Borax can be a little harmful. We have plenty of other great things you could make though like our “No Cook Playdough” Recipe! Jenni x
I have made this with my children 4 times now. The first 3 attempts failed. It was not stretchy and felt like rubber. On the fourth try my husband suggested using 1 whole teaspoon of borax instead of a half of one. It worked! The kids are having so much fun now! Thank you so much!
Kids LOVE it! Thanks Jenni
WHERE CAN I BUY ELMERS GLUE IN SOUTH AFRICA OR WHATS THE EQUIVALENT. I WANT TO TRY ALL YOUR RECIPES..
Ebay carries just about everything. I am sure you could probably find it there from a US seller.
Can you please equate the water from mills into something easier for the amateur measurer please? Lol thanks
Sure, just under 1/2 a cup.
I Can’t wait to try this. I have the real silly putty around as playing with it helps my arthritic hands.
Instead of storing it in plastic bags, do you think it could be stored in plastic Easter eggs?
Hi Margaret, we are so happy you like the look of our Silly Putty – I’m sure it would store well in the aggs if they have a good seal. Louise x
Hi, I tried this recipe with a different brand of glue and it didn’t turn out well, but once I used the Elmer’s school glue it was awesome. My kids LOVE it. We are using it for my oldest’s science project. 🙂 Thanks!!!
I am a retired teacher but active Grandma! I used this in my science classes (liquid to solid) and “solutions.” Great fun and hands on. Borax can also be found with laundry detergent products (at least in the US). 20 Mule Team Borax is the product. Generic white school glue works also — a bit cheaper than name brand. Plan to make some this weekend with my grandsons.
I’ve made silly putty a whole bunch of times using white glue and borax, and this is by far the best recipe I have come across. It worked really really well! The brand of glue shouldn’t matter, as long as it’s PVA.
The borax I bought from Coles says caution keep out of reach of children, and if hair or skin contact occurs or gets in eyes, flush with running water! This sounds as if it is unsafe. have I got the wrong thing or does everyone have this on their containers?? thanks for your help, itching to try this, but just a bit nervous due to warning labels…
Would borax substitute work just as well?
I’m not sure Dan as I haven’t tried it, but if you do, please let us know how you go! Jenni
Would love any new ideas of DIY activities . Thanks so much and love you site!!
Just made this and we had fun. We do not have food coloring in the house because of food sensitivity so we put about 2 tablespoons of turmeric in the glue and water solution. We have a great yellow-orange silly putty!
I know some of you are probably thinking “$10 for of Borax when I only need a tsp for silly putty? NO WAY” but Borax is AMAZING!!! Anyone ever have that funky smell that gets stuck in your dark clothes? Whether it be because you left a load in the wash a little too long or because your washing machine has soap buildup…or someone walks by and you can actually smell that “musty” smell….Well sprinkle some of this in your wash and POOF smell is gone!! This stuff is AWESOME!!!! My hubbys dark sweatpants never seemed to dry all the way and held onto that “musty” smell now everytime I do a load of darks I sprinkle some Borax in and I have NEVER had a problem since!!! A washing machine repairman told me this trick and I try and tell everyone because it works GREAT!!! Just wanted to help all you others who have never had a chance to try it.
I teach 3-5 year olds and have made a similar solution for years. Ours is made from equal parts white school glue (Elmer’s) and liquid starch. You can let kids manipulate to mix or allow it to sit over night and it will combine on its own. If too slimy, add a little glue. If too sticky, add a little more starch. You can also add paint or food color. You can let kids make small batches by pouring a little of each ingredient on the table and let them mix with their hands. It will stick to fabric so best to use paint smocks or raincoats to protect clothing. Wasn’t sure if your site had this one or not. Enjoy!
wow it looks cool
thanks for this. We made it this morning and my son (and husband) love it. So easy and quick.
Hi I am also based in SA, but can’t seem to locate a Woolworths that sells Elmer’s glue. I am going to try the ARO craft glue that Makro sells. It is listed as a PVA glue white that dries clear so hopefully that will work. Makro also sells BUFFALO Chemicals Borax. So one stop hopefully:)
Hi. I am in South Africa. I have tried almost every brand of glue we have and only 2 work. The bostik Arts and craft white glue, and Aro white glue from makro. All the wood glue I tried didn’t work. The Dala school glue didn’t work. Aro from makro was also WAY WAY cheaper than any of the others. I’ve made several batches already.
Hi, Im based in SA and would love to try this. But I see there are several views. Danielle you said you tried Aro Glue? What about the Borax part. Who stocks this and what on earth does it look like.
Hi Amoret, you can buy this clear glue from most discount stores now or Officeworks stock clear Elmer’s Glue. Borax can be found at Bunnings in the detergent aisle. Louise x
In south africa I got the borax from the local pharmacy. Cost was about R15 a box. The Box was about the Size of 10 tsp.
Borax can be found at any Walmart or grocery store in the laundry section. Comes in a box.
Amor from SA sorry im so late, borax can be found at pharmacies
I made this silly putty, but mine never went thick. I stayed super liquidy.
Maybe I am doing something wrong?
Danielle Did you manage to find the right glue, as i am also struggling. Thought Dala would work?
In South AFRICA These glues WORK The bostik Arts and craft white glue, and Aro white glue from makro
Use elmers multipurpose glue
I live in new Zealand and im pretty sure they don’t sell borax here. could you please list some alternatives to borax?
Sorry I’m not sure of any. Do you have a large hardware chain like Bunnings? That’s where I bought ours from last time. Louise x
The pharmacy should have powdered Borax.
Its baking powder
Yes… you can get Borax from Bunnings and Mitre 10 in New Zealand. I bought a large bag of it from TradeMe for my son for Christmas, as he loves science experiments and Borax is used in heaps of them.
Borax is available in NZ! I found mine at Bin inn.
In SA – bought borax in a little tub in the laundry isle of my local pick n pay. Comes in a 10cm high round tub. Thanks for the tip on ARO glue! My wood glue attempts also flopped horribly!
Borax is not a safe ingredient as it’s a hormone disrupter and therefore not good to use in something like this.
This recipe will work if you replace the borax with PVA glue and detergent (Aldi’s Alamat).
Okay, please explain to this Texan how much 118ml of water translates to in teaspoons/tablespoons/cups. Thanks!
Sheila, I think she said it was a little less than half a cup, but just use the same amount of water as you had of glue. The glue was 118 ml, so just measure the water in the empty glue bottle. 🙂
Try using this chart. I’m always lost in metrics. I just do a search for a converter every time:)
Silly me, forgot to include the link, so sorry.
No need to be smart
Does this need refrigeration?
No, it stores just fine in a plastic container or zip lock bag – no need for refrigeration! 🙂 Jen x
You can also use laundry soap too works the same
Nah, didn’t work for me! Wonder why?
We’re so pleased to hear that Ashleigh! Jen x
Oh Thanks Man!
Im from INdonesia, and lovin your blog.
I have some questions though…. .wonder how long shoudl we wait to see the magic happens?
I have mix everything and it is very runny and watery ( i use PVA Glue)
should i add more borax? Thanksss
This really is fantastic silly putty. My girls loved it !! Thanks for sharing
I just made your silly putty and I am waiting for the magic to happen. There is a big lump in the middle and the rest is still liquid. Please can you let me know as soon as possible of what I can do. Thank you for your kindness.
That happened to me too, it wouldn’t all mix together, and what was solid wasn’t soft or stretchy it just broke apart
Im in Australia. Does anyone know what would be equivalent to Elmers glue please?
I would love to give this a try.
Hi Suellen, Officeworks should sell it here in Australia. I j=have used their own brand and it worked great too. Lou
Hi, fantastic blog, i’m located in denmark, Any ideas what to use instead of Elmers glue? Is it normal white school glue? Louise
Hello. In from the UK. I managed to get hold of some borax finally.
I followed the instructions above and ended up with a disaster!! It resembles scrambled eggs!! And the smell was awful.
I tried it 3 times and all came out the same.
Anybody else had this problem?
I love it