How To Make Slime Stretchy

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Avoid non-stretchy slime, a common disaster that will irritate your kid. 

Slime is amusing to make and provide hours of amusement for the kids. However, the best slime has the type of soft, stretchy consistency that makes it fun.

Find out how to make slime stretchy, why your slime might break, and how to rescue slime that’s lost its “oomph.”

How To Make Slime Stretchy

It is the combination of an activator and a polymer that makes slime stretchy. Common activators include eye drops, saline solution and baking soda, liquid laundry detergent, and borax.


What Ingredient Makes Slime Stretchy?

Standard slime is a non-Newtonian fluid that consists of two elements. One is called a polymer and another is called an activator (1).

Think of a polymer as strings of identical beads floating in a liquid. These strings of beads slide over each other and this allows the substance to flow. Glue is the most frequently used polymer in slime making.

Think of the activator as links that connect different strings of beads to each other. Once you introduce an activator to your polymer, the strings of beads can still flow. But, because they are linked to each other, they flow less freely (2).

If you hold the substance loosely, the strings of beads will slowly flow, like thick water, to the lowest point they can find. However, you can pick the slime up in one lump because the individual strings of beads are tangled and connected enough to hold together.

Now you have slime, a substance fluid enough to flow, but solid enough to pick up and hold.

With glue being the most common polymer when making slime, let’s look at activators. Common activators include:

  • Saline solution and baking soda.
  • Eye drops/eyewash.
  • Liquid laundry detergent.
  • Borax.

It is the combination of an activator and a polymer that is responsible for making slime stretchy.

Some slimes are made without an activator. These alternatives may not behave like standard slime, but you can still play with them in much the same way.

Alternative slimes are created without an activator. They include:

  • Shampoo and cornstarch slime.
  • Shaving cream, glue, and baking soda slime.
  • Powdered fiber slime.
  • Glue and cornstarch slime.

How To Make Slime Stretchy

Here are our top tips for making stretchy slime so you can look like a hero to your child.

  • Add your activator slowly: You can quickly move from sticky to overly-firm break apart slime if you add all of your activator at once. It is much more difficult to fix over activated slime.
  • Use white glue: A standard white PVA glue such as Elmers, or a similar school type craft glue, gives you the best results. Clear glue doesn’t have the same chemical structure as its PVA relative.
  • Take your time: It can take several minutes for the activator to work. For this reason, it is important to give your slime time to develop its stretch before playing with the ingredients.
  • Add dish soap to your slime and knead it in thoroughly: This works best with budget dish soap and not the concentrated kind.
  • Add water or lotion: If your slime is overactivated, one of these two ingredients can help. Add it slowly, a little at a time. Rework your slime until you determine if you need more.

This final tip is not about how to make slime soft and stretchy. Instead, it is about preventing your currently soft and stretchy slime from losing its lovely consistency.

  • Protect it: Be sure to put your slime in an air-tight container when you are finished with it. This will prevent the slime from drying out and losing its stretch.

FAQs On How To Make Slime Stretchy

There are some questions that crop up often when it comes to slime. These common questions may help your novice slime creator get their formula perfected.

Why Did My Slime Break Apart?

Slime breaks apart when there is too much activator in the mix. The “strings of beads” in the slime are held together too tightly so they can no longer slide over each and flow. Instead, they stay locked together and the slime breaks apart.

How Do You Fix Slime That Breaks Apart?

The easiest way to fix slime that breaks apart is to add more water or more glue. However, there may be times when you do not have any additional glue on hand or when water doesn’t do the trick.

Luckily, there are two other main ways to fix slime that breaks apart. You can use heat or lotion.

By heating the slime, you may be able to break some of the links made by the activator, making it flow again.

To use this method, either:

  • Immerse the slime in warm water and leave it to soak. Once the water is cool, knead and stretch the slime in the water. Try doing this several times in a row and the slime may become stretchy again.
  • Heat the slime in a microwave-proof bowl for 90 seconds. When the slime is cool enough to touch, knead and stretch it. Again, you may have to repeat this process several times.

If you want to use lotion, here is how you’ll do it.

In a bowl, add a teaspoon of hand lotion to your slime. Use your hands to massage the lotion into the slime. Gradually add more lotion until you reach the desired consistency.

Why Is My Slime Sticky?

Sticky slime is the result of there not being enough strings of polymer linked tightly together. This can happen because there is not enough activator in the mix, or because it has not had time to take effect.

The first thing to do if your slime is sticky is to knead it more. This can give the activator more time to take effect, making your slime less sticky and more slime-like.

If this doesn’t work, and you are confident you have left it long enough, you can add more activators. However, be careful to add a tiny amount at a time, thoroughly mixing it and allowing it to work. Otherwise, you’ll end up with hard slime that breaks.

Why Does My Slime Get Hard After Playing With It?

Sometimes slime becomes hard after playing with it because it has become too dry. To fix this, knead in a little water or hand lotion.

Why Is My Homemade Slime So Rubbery?

Like hard slime, homemade slime that is rubbery has too much activator, preventing it from flowing. The solution is the same as the one above for hard slime.

What Does Baking Soda Do To Slime?

When mixed with contact lens solution, baking soda acts as an activator, causing the slime to firm up. If you use too much, your slime will become hard.

What Can Deactivate Slime?

If you want to deactivate your slime, work some lemon juice into it. This will not only make your slime softer again, it will maintain its current level of stickiness.

Learn More
Little kids playing with slime and getting it on their clothesHow To Get Slime Out Of Clothes (6 Simple Tips) 

How Do You Make Slime Stretchy Without Lotion?

Slime can be made stretchy again by heating and kneading it, sometimes repeatedly.

Alternatively, you can try using hand sanitizer, clear hair gel, foaming hand soap, shampoo, or liquid gelatine.


Experimentation Is Key

If you gave ten kids the same ingredients, and they all followed the exact same directions, you would still end up with ten slightly different slimes. This can be part of the fun, as no two batches are identical.

However, this also means that making your slime stretchy doesn’t have a single strictly defined solution. Instead, it involves a process of trial and error. If you make this part of the fun, even fixing your slime can become entertaining.

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About the Author

Patricia Barnes

Patricia Barnes is a homeschooling mom of 5 who has been featured on Global TV, quoted in Parents magazine, and writes for a variety of websites and publications. Doing her best to keep it together in a life of constant chaos, Patti would describe herself as an eclectic mess maker, lousy crafter, book lover, autism mom, and insomniac.
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