How to Make Slime Without Glue (Using All Things You Have at Home)

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In kid world, slime comes in multiple ooey-gooey forms: the kind made with glue that you can buy at the toy store that sticks to everything and ruins your brand-new area rug; the kind they make when mashing together their milk and spaghetti the second your back is turned; and the kind that comes out of their noses. Ah, motherhood.

No matter how the slippery stuff is made, slime is an obsession among the under-10 set, but most of the tutorials you’ll find call for making it a particular way. And what do you do when you’ve got your kid’s hopes up that you’re going to go all mad scientist and make your own slime, only to realize you’re all out of Elmer’s?! Don’t panic that you’re a failure as a parent—we’ll show you how to make slime without glue, using things you almost definitely have at home. The crafternoon is saved!

Why should I make slime without glue if I have some on hand?

Glue is the standard, reliable way to make slime, but it also makes the stuff incredibly sticky and basically impossible to scrub out of fabric once it dries. And we’re not saying you’d use toxic glue, but not all store-bought varieties are nontoxic, so eliminating the glue altogether is your safest bet. 

What you’ll need:

Shampoo: In order to get your slime on, you’ll need ½ cup shampoo. Keep in mind that the thicker your shampoo, the thicker and more pliable your slime will be, so now is a good time to bust out that three-in-one you stole took home from the hotel after your last vacation.

Stock up: Suave Essentials Shampoo ($2 for 30 ounces at Amazon)

Food coloring: To change the color of your slime from a greyish white, you’ll need a few drops of food coloring. This batch makes about three cups, so feel free to separate your slime concoction into two bowls if you’d like more than one color. 

Stock up: Good Cooking Food Coloring Liqua-Gel ($18 for 12 colors at Amazon)

Cornstarch: This will act as a thickening agent in the shampoo to give you something that’s going to hold together throughout playtime.

Stock up: Argo 100% Pure Corn Starch ($11 for 35 ounces at Amazon)

Measuring cups and spoons: Slime is not an exact science (shocking, right?), but to yield the correct consistency, we’re going to measure our ingredients.

Stock up: New Star Foodservice Stainless Steel Measuring Spoons and Cups ($12 for a set of 8 at Amazon)

Glitter: This ingredient is optional, but if your family appreciates a little sparkle and you happen to have some on hand, feel free to toss it in!

Stock up: LEOBRO Fine Slime Glitter ($12 for 32 colors at Amazon)

How to make slime:

Grab a large glass or stainless-steel mixing bowl. Measure out ½ cup shampoo and pour it into the bowl. Add 5 drops food coloring and stir the mixture until the color is distributed evenly. Slowly pour in 2½ cups cornstarch and work the mixture together with your hands as you go. At this point, your slime isn’t going to look very slimy—that’s OK. Mix in room-temperature water, 2 tablespoons at a time, until you get to a slimier place, but be careful not to add too much water or the mixture will start to separate. Take a moment between tablespoons of water to blend the ingredients with your hands and test the texture. If you’re using glitter, add 1 tablespoon of it now. Knead the slime until it’s pliable enough to play with but still holds together.

You can expect your slime to stay damp enough to play with for about five days. When it starts to dry and crack, its time has come. But until then, slime on!

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From 2019-2020 Ariel Scotti held the role of Editor at PureWow covering trends, wellness and more.