How to Make Slime With Glue and Water Without Borax

Instructor: Amanda Robb
In this chemistry project, we'll learn about polymers as a type of molecule. To do this, we'll make slime by combining glue with liquid starch and water.


Goal: To create a polymer with glue and water but no borax
Age: Middle school and up
Safety Concerns: None
Time: 1 hour, plus as much time as you like to enjoy the slime

When you think about slime, you probably think of the toxic waste from comic books or movies, an electric green liquid oozing from barrels dumped somewhere. But what if you could make slime at home? Don't worry, we won't make a toxic version that might turn your pet turtle into a monster, but rather a fun version you can add glitter and food coloring to. And since we are scientists, we'll also learn about the chemical principles that allow us to turn two common household items - glue and liquid starch - into the fantastic compound that has both the properties of solids and liquids: slime.

Before you start, consider why adding starch to glue would create slime. What is going on between the molecules in the substances we start with?


  • 1 cup white craft glue, like Elmer's
  • 1/2 cup room temperature water
  • 1/2 cup liquid starch
  • Bowl for mixing
  • Spoon
  • Measuring cup to measure the liquids
  • Glitter or food coloring (optional, but fun)


  1. First, combine the glue and water in a bowl. Mix until they are homogeneous.
  2. Next, add any food coloring or glitter you'd like to your slime. Again, mix thoroughly.
  3. Then, add your liquid starch. Continue to mix with the spoon until it reaches a thick consistency you can hold.


If your slime is too runny, add some more liquid starch. If it is too thick, you can add more water to the glue to thin it out.

Adding more starch can make your slime less runny

Discussion Questions

What happened when you added the liquid starch?

Why do you think the starch was the key ingredient to solidify the glue into slime? How did it change the glue molecules?

How It Works

Liquid glue is a polymer, or a long molecule made of repeating units of a single molecule called a monomer. There are both natural and synthetic polymers. For example, wool is a natural polymer while all plastics are synthetic polymers. The craft glue we use is called polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and is made up of repeating molecules of vinyl alcohol. We can compare polymers to LEGO toys. Let's imagine you had 100 red LEGO bricks. The individual LEGO bricks are your monomers. If you link all the bricks together in a chain, you have a polymer.

To learn more about polymers, check out this lesson: What Are Polymers? - Properties, Applications & Examples

Glue is a liquid polymer, meaning the long PVA chains aren't linked together. There are thousands of individual chains in the glue mixed with water molecules, but they don't stick together. The water allows the PVA chains to slide past each other, which makes the glue a sticky liquid.

Glue is a liquid polymer
PVA polymer

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account