In Fam­ily

Home­made slime is all over so­cial me­dia and ev­ery­body wants to touch it

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE - TA­MARA LUSH

Home­made slime is the queen of ’tweens’ sum­mer.

ST. PETERS­BURG, Fla. — Call this the Sum­mer of Slime.

The slime trend is prob­a­bly hap­pen­ing right now in your home, if you live with a ’tween girl. Or maybe it’s on your phone, in end­less video loops that crackle and pop on In­sta­gram and YouTube.

For Boomers and Gen X-ers who aren’t aware, slime is like mod­ern-day Silly Putty. Or Play-Doh. But in­stead of be­ing able to copy newsprint on the gooey sub­stance or sculpt a grubby, avo­cado-green an­i­mal that re­sem­bles a Pi­casso night­mare, 21st-cen­tury slime is slick and pretty. It’s do-it-your­self and so­cial me­dia ready.

It’s bright and fluffy; crunchy and glit­tery.

“It’s just re­ally sooth­ing to touch and stuff,” ob­serves Stella Tem­plin, a 13-year-old from Northamp­ton, Mass. “And the noises it makes are re­ally, re­ally sat­is­fy­ing.”

Full dis­clo­sure: This re­porter bought a 4-ounce jelly jar of Cherry Bomb Slime from Stella who, with a friend, has a slime-mak­ing busi­ness that sells the con­coc­tions for $8 each.

Yes, they are slime-trepreneurs.

More on that in a minute. Let’s back up and ex­plain th­ese blobs that have taken Amer­ica by storm. It’s mostly girls who make it, video it and sell it.

Slime is easy to cre­ate with a bit of a mad-sci­en­tist feel to the process. Sure, there’s pre­made slime, but there’s not much ex­cite­ment in that.

Glue, bak­ing soda and con­tact lens so­lu­tion are all it takes to make sat­is­fy­ingly stretchy slime. Some recipes call for Bo­rax (al­though con­cerns over chem­i­cal burns have led some goo-mak­ers to sub­sti­tute other in­gre­di­ents), shav­ing cream or Tide laun­dry de­ter­gent.

The op­ti­mal slime is stretchy and mal­leable, not too wet, not too sticky. When squished by hand, it emits sat­is­fy­ing pops and bub­bles, sounds that are part of the al­lure. Some fans watch videos of peo­ple play­ing with slime be­cause they find the noises re­lax­ing.

“The videos are sat­is­fy­ing be­cause they help peo­ple calm down,” says Alyssa Ja­gan, a 15-year-old from Toronto whose In­sta­gram slime videos have hun­dreds of thou­sands of views. Yes, hun­dreds of thou­sands of views of slime videos. “Es­pe­cially peo­ple with anx­i­ety. My fol­low­ers have said it helps them sleep.”

Elmer’s, the ven­er­a­ble child­hood glue, has pages of slime recipes on its web­site ded­i­cated to col­ored slime, glit­ter slime, gal­axy slime and more. Even large, jumbo and ex­tra-large slime. It also has

a help­ful fre­quently asked ques­tions page on slime, with press­ing ques­tions such as “Is there any way to re­vive old, hard­ened slime?” (try adding wa­ter and knead­ing with your hands) and “Can slime be used on fur­ni­ture or walls?” (ab­so­lutely not).

“It takes one [4-ounce] bot­tle of Elmer’s glue to make one batch of slime, and many con­sumers are mak­ing mul­ti­ple batches or ‘ex­tra-large’ batches of slime — so de­mand in glue is up sig­nif­i­cantly since the slime trend took off,” Elmer’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive Caitlin Watkins said.

Be­cause of the in­creased de­mand, the Elmer’s team in­creased pro­duc­tion of var­i­ous glues. Many par­ents feel the need to buy Elmer’s Glue-All in gal­lon jugs on­line be­cause of short­ages in stores.

At least one teacher reports that tubs of glue have been stolen from schools for at-home slime-mak­ing.

“It’s re­ally the most ba­sic science recipe that you can have. You can put ba­sic in­gre­di­ents to­gether and you get to be a lit­tle sci­en­tific and a lit­tle cre­ative at the same time, and I think peo­ple en­joy that,” says Amy An­der­son, a blog­ger at Mod Podge Rocks, who is plan­ning on show­cas­ing slime recipes this sum­mer.

The goo has be­come some­thing of a cot­tage in­dus­try for ’tweens who want to earn a bit of pocket money, or at least cover the cost of sup­plies. Alyssa has an Etsy store, and Stella and her friend sell on an­other site.

“Slime has been one of our top search items since Oc­to­ber,” says Dayna Isom John­son, a trend ex­pert at Etsy.

Slime can be an­noy­ing to par­ents, which could be part of its lure, as well.

Stella’s mother, Naomi Shul­man, says that a batch of pink-dyed slime has left streaks in the fam­ily’s up­stairs bath­room sink that might not come out.

It’s also a way to connect with oth­ers. Slime is tai­lor-made for so­cial me­dia be­cause it’s so pretty — es­pe­cially when it con­tains rain­bow-col­ored beads or shim­mery blue glit­ter.

Since March 1, Elmer’s has re­ceived nearly 200,000 so­cial me­dia men­tions about slime. And Alyssa, the 15-year-old in Canada, has nearly 650,000 fans on In­sta­gram, all be­cause of her slime videos. Her book, Ul­ti­mate Slime: DIY Tu­to­ri­als for Crunchy Slime, Fluffy Slime, Fish­bowl Slime, and 50 Other Oddly Sat­is­fy­ing Recipes—To­tally Bo­rax Free!, comes out in Novem­ber.

Sarah Rubens of St. Paul, Minn., reports that her fam­ily has wit­nessed the on­slaught of Sty­ro­foam beads, ki­netic sand, shav­ing cream, food col­or­ing, acrylic paint and — the hor­ror of all craft hor­ror — glit­ter. All are in the ser­vice of slime-mak­ing by her 12-year-old daugh­ter Astrid, who makes it in the base­ment in what Rubens calls “The Slime Lair.”

A teddy bear and a neck pil­low were re­cently sac­ri­ficed for their in­ner bead stuff­ing.

“If you put the beads in the slime it makes it re­ally crunch,” Astrid ex­plains.

Rubens thinks slime is a pow­er­ful sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence for a gen­er­a­tion that has re­lied heav­ily on elec­tron­ics.

“I feel like she does some re­ally deep think­ing when she’s got her hands in the slime,” Rubens says.

AP/JEFF BAENEN

Us­ing com­mon house­hold items such as glue, Astrid Rubens makes home­made slime in her kitchen in St. Paul, Minn.

AP/JEFF BAENEN

Astrid Rubens demon­strates the elas­tic­ity of home­made slime in her kitchen in St. Paul, Minn. For Boomers and Gen X-ers who aren’t aware, slime is like mod­ern-day Silly Putty.

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