Slime! Slime! Slime!
June 1, 2017 9:55 AM   Subscribe

These Mesmerizing, Satisfying Slime Videos Are the Internet’s New Obsession You can make your own (if you can find any glue). Or you can just watch- 1, 2, 3- “This may sound weird, but I think the difference is the control,” Donna tells me. “In a video, I can’t decide what they do, which kind of adds to the satisfaction of it.”
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (26 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Hah! I totally complained about the glue shortage. All the non-parents I know looked at me like I was crazy, and all the parents of pre-teens were like "yup, that's because of the slime." But last weekend I went to Target and they had clear school glue again, so the Elmer's people must finally have figured out how to up their glue production.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:03 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

One for the nieces! Thanks, ThePinkSuperhero!

My problem is finding a Swedish store with affordable DIY supplies. We have Panduro over here and holy shit is everything super expensive.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 10:05 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

can be made easily with Elmer’s glue, borax, and water

Borax? Isn't that kinda bad to have in direct contact with your skin? Does mixing it with the glue neutralize the acid or something?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2017

I'm a huge lemming and just bought myself some "mermaid slime" (that's purple and turquoise glitter; just like the bike I had back in the 90s) that I'm going to keep in my office so my children don't get a turn.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:19 AM on June 1, 2017

> Borax? Isn't that kinda bad to have in direct contact with your skin? Does mixing it with the glue neutralize the acid or something?

I've seen a few reports floating around of skin irritation from playing with slime. But I also remember making and playing with this stuff in school back when I was a kid in the 90s and nobody had any problems. I'm pretty sure you'd need to leave it on your hands for an extended period of time for it to become an issue.
posted by a mirror and an encyclopedia at 10:21 AM on June 1, 2017

If you grew up in the 80's with Nickelodeon, you always thought twice before saying "I don't know".
posted by dr_dank at 10:33 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

making about $3,000 a month

huh -- and that's with the cost of glue and borax.
Cheaper would be a small hagfish ranch: they'll eat any rotting thing, and you could give them cute names to feature them in kitten-type videos.
posted by fredludd at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Borax? Isn't that kinda bad to have in direct contact with your skin?

Global slime craze sparks safety warning
posted by EndsOfInvention at 10:44 AM on June 1, 2017

Kind of reminded me of cats 'making biscuits.'
posted by life moves pretty fast at 10:55 AM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yikes! I use Borax in my wash and I get an insta-rash if more than a few grains touch my skin. But I have to admit that slime is like a cooler version of Oobleck.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:01 AM on June 1, 2017

I've been doing a bunch of on-line searches for glitter and other inclusions (learning to make resin jewelry) and started running into people talking about "making slime" everywhere. So I sort of understood that it was a big craze and the general idea, but I hadn't seen any videos until this post.

And for some reason it makes me laugh ruefully that of course you have to have a super-fresh & fancy manicure to make Instagram videos about a schoolyard craze. Slime is not for those with raggedy cuticles.
posted by Squeak Attack at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Borax? Isn't that kinda bad to have in direct contact with your skin? Does mixing it with the glue neutralize the acid or something?

Not really, unless you are particularly sensitive. It is fairly basic, though. ISTR when experimenting decades ago as a kid, it had a respectable exothermic reaction if you had a densely packed portion of it (a clump) and saturated it quickly with water. But I may be misremembering.

In fact, it seems to work well as a reasonably aggressive hand soap, and was often used in school/institutional bathrooms for such purpose. I think it may also be useful as a water softener, and that may be its usefulness when doing laundry.

I used to play with commercially available Slime when I was a kid, when it was wildly popular, and made some occasionally. I don't recall anyone ever being hurt by it. But it could make a mess if you got it on clothing or carpet.
posted by 2N2222 at 11:22 AM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

yessssss! I almost made an fpp about this but wasn't sure about it. This is something I discovered quite by accident and it's amazing how many videos there are about making slime and fluff.

Was all geared up to make some, but we have cats and I was concerned about the borax; plus, the completed slime/fluff itself being attractive to them.

It's amazing the young teens (pre-teens?) putting out videos on this - they're very good at YouTubing.

Nice post.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 11:56 AM on June 1, 2017

Slime is not for those with raggedy cuticles.
When they are not making slime, my friend's 13-year-old twin daughters like to make manicure how-to videos for their YouTube channel. I think that fancy nails and slime are related youth culture trends.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 12:02 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've become an expert on slime in the last 3 months. My daughter is obsessed with making it, playing it, then watching videos about it during the spaces in between.

Re borax: most recipes I use call for a small amount, 4 or 5 grams of powder, dissolved and mixed in a cup (300-400 ml) of very hot water. The concentration is low enough to not irritate skin, but enough to cause the polymer cross-linking that you need. The trick is to not give into impatience and add too much too quickly.

In lieu of borax, I've seen some recipes that use buffered saline contact lens solution. These typically have boric acid as the buffering agent. It's supposed to be enough to make the reaction happen, but in my experience it's not as effective. I'm trying another batch tonight with baking soda added to the saline. My kid is 100% sure this will work. I just need to get more glue.

And speaking of Target: my store has an endcap devoted to slimemaking with all the ingredients in one place and a point-of-purchase display created by Elmer's. They're extremely smart to catch onto this trend/fad.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

Everything old is new again. When I was a kid, in the mid-late 90's, I was into making slime. My mom (a scientist) came to my junior high and showed us all how to make slime, and it all kind of went from there.

Fads are weird.
posted by defenestration at 12:39 PM on June 1, 2017

Thanks so much for posting these vids. Looking forward to experimenting. We've made slime with hand sanitizer before! It's a great, inexpensive way to introduce your kids to some basic scientific concepts and have fun at the same time.

One word of caution: Some formulations of slime have the potential to stain, so it's best to use caution about getting it on painted walls or on certain kinds of fabric.
posted by zarq at 12:58 PM on June 1, 2017

Am I the only one who fucking hates the sound of slime being mashed? This...blistering, popping sound...yeesh, I feel like a cat who saw a cucumber!

(I was absolutely predisposed to like this, but argh!)
posted by Omnomnom at 2:17 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

I took a look and my guess is that a problem with the borax on skin would only be an issue if it's being handled before being added to the glue. Apparently school glue is acidic (reference here) and it's very unlikely the resulting mixture would end up alkaline after it's mixed together.
posted by WaylandSmith at 3:00 PM on June 1, 2017

everyone wants to fuck the slime
posted by mullacc at 3:48 PM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Brains On podcast had a slime episode a few weeks ago.
posted by bq at 4:44 PM on June 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

everyone wants to fuck the slime

I can't watch this without thinking about lefty lucky cat's comment yesterday.../shudder
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:24 PM on June 1, 2017

I have a client that is a castle but the way cooler part is that the castle is a science center. You can have a birthday party for your kid there and the kid gets to pick from available science activities for their party. Rockets, aliens, and the hands down winner: SLIME. The kids make slime, they make it in any colour they want, there's a huge mess, every kid has a blast.

Every year I wonder if maybe I should have my birthday party there and we can all drink cocktails and make slime.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:43 PM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Yeah so the baking soda did make the reaction more effective. Literally a pinch plus 8 or 9 drops of buffered saline and the goo gelled right up.

Now I need to understand why, and I can't find a good explanation.
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:07 PM on June 1, 2017

Some formulations of slime have the potential to stain

As a kid I was fascinated with the gooey blobs that result from dissolving polystyrene packaging foam in petrol. My mate Bill and I used to call that stuff "squdge".

Squdge not only has the potential to stain, it has the potential to get lit on fire and emit clouds of greasy, sooty, smutty and doubtless carcinogenic black smoke. Got suspended from school for demonstrating the latter using a blob of squdge stuck to the locker room wall.

It's not great for the cuticles either.
posted by flabdablet at 9:45 PM on June 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

Everything old is new again. When I was a kid, in the mid-late 90's, I was into making slime.

Yeah seriously - it's sorta delightful that kids still discover this.

I don't recall any problems from the borax? I feel like I didn't leave it directly on my skin for that long though.
posted by atoxyl at 1:14 AM on June 2, 2017 [1 favorite]

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