Mixing Bowls

Homemade Silly Putty Recipe

Having a science themed meeting with your Scouts? Instead of a craft, make up a batch of silly putty. This stuff is stretchy and the Scouts will enjoy playing with it. Have some small containers ready so they can take it home.

I encourage you to do a test run on your own first, so you get the hang of it and can judge the messiness and have an appropriate work space.

Homemade Silly Putty

Equipment

  • 2 bowls
  • 2 spoons for stirring

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp. borax
  • 1 cup white or transparent school glue
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • optional: food coloring

Instructions

  1. Put 3/4 cup water in one bowl.
  2. Add the food coloring and borax.
  3. Stir until the borax is dissolved.
  4. Put 1/2 cup of the water and the glue in the second bowl.
  5. Stir the glue and water until combined.
  6. Slowly add the glue mixture into the borax mixture, stirring while you do so.
  7. The mixture will form a ball. Continue to mix it with your hands. (They will enjoy this part!)
  8. Observe the qualities of the silly putty.

Explanation

You’ve made a polymer. Polymers are long chains of molecules. The chains move around each other easily. This, along with the types of links in the chain, explains how it is a solid, but can slowly flow, like a liquid. Plastics are polymers.

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4 Responses to Homemade Silly Putty Recipe

  1. Amy January 19, 2013 at 9:39 PM #

    We’re needing some helps for Composite Materials MB. Could this meeting one of the requirements? Any suggestions?

  2. Linda January 21, 2013 at 3:51 PM #

    Does anyone know where to buy a larger container of glue if we did this with our pack? What is a good price?

    • Alassea February 25, 2014 at 9:43 AM #

      For super cheap glue, watch the school supplies section of your local stores for the school glue to go on sale. I have gotten school-size bottles of glue for twenty-five cents in the past. That way, each kid has his own bottle. It ‘s also easier to pass out individual small bottles than to go around with a jug and try to pour out some for each kid.
      I did this with my Webelos I den and they absolutely loved it.

  3. Glen November 29, 2013 at 8:00 AM #

    How about the cornstarch/water slurry. It’s a non-newtonian fluid. It’s liquid when not under pressure, but becomes solid under pressure. That is, you can move your hand through it if you move slowly, but punch the substance, and it becomes hard.

    Can also pour some on a speaker and watch it bounce. It’s fun.

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