Summer of Slime: DIY goo takes over tweens’ lives
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 (remember newsprint?) or sculpt a grubby, avocadogreen animal that resembles a Picasso nightmares, 21st century slime is slick and pretty. It’s DIY and social media ready.
It’s bright and fluffy, crunchy and glittery. Like unicorn poop would be, if unicorns existed and pooped.
“It’s just really soothing to touch and stuff,” observes Stella Templin, a 13-year-old from Northampton, Massachusetts. “And the noises it makes are really, really satisfying.”
Full disclosure: This reporter purchased 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 pre-made 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 goomakers to substitute other ingredients), shaving cream or Tide laundry detergent.
The optimal slime is not too wet, not too sticky, stretchy and malleable. When squooshed 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,” said Alyssa Jagan, a 15-year-old from Toronto, whose Instagram slime videos have hundreds of thousands of views. “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. Colored slime, glitter slime, galaxy slime. Large, jumbo and extralarge slime. It also has a helpful FAQ 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 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 spokeswoman Caitlin Watkins wrote in an email.
Because of the increased demand, the Elmer’s team boosted production of various glues. Many parents feel the need to purchase glue in gallon jugs online because of shortages in brickand-mortar 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,” said Amy Anderson, a blogger at Mod Podge Rocks, who is planning on showcasing slime recipes this summer.
Astrid Rubens shows the elasticity of homemade slime in her St. Paul, Minnesota, kitchen. Glue, baking soda and contact lens solution are all it takes to make slime.