Advice & Tips, Experiments, Not good

How to fail to make iceberg slime – beginners mistake

When my kids started to talk about them wanting to make iceberg slime at home, I actually had no clue of what it was. They tried to explain it to me, but I did not get it. So, I had to search for information on the web.

It turns out it is a crunchy fluffy slime that you can create at home by yourself with a few ingredients that are easy to find in a lot of stores. When you leave the slime to dry for a while (1-3 days) the top will get hard, and this is what is so fun to crack open, break and make crunchy sounds with. This is where the slime that we made failed, i.e. it never got the hard top.

Okay, iceberg slime really seems to be super fun to play with.

When I understood that a lot of recipes contained chemicals like borax, I got a little worried that it would not be so healthy for my kids to play with it. I felt I had to know a little more about borax to try to get a picture of what it is. I have written more about it below.

Many recipes contain both shaving cream and/or glue and that should definitely not be digested. So parental supervision is strongly recommended. One excellent way to supervise is to join your kids in the play. Kids would most likely just love the attention and the shared experience.

One other thing that popped into my mind was if I would be able to throw the slime away in the normal garbage, or do I need to recycle it separately when my kids are done playing with it?

How to fail to make iceberg slime

There are a lot of different Iceberg slime recipes out there on the web. Some contain only a few ingredients and some others contain a lot of ingredients.

The following recipe is the one I used when I tried this for the very first time with my kids. I wanted to find a recipe with few ingredients, that I believe wouldn’t hurt my kids like giving them irritated skin.

  • One small bottle of hobby glue. In Sweden, we have something called “Hobby glue”. Mainly all recipes recommend Elmer’s glue (I guess all Americans know what that is…). The important part is that the glue contains PVA (Polyvinyl alcohol). 
  • Shaving cream (lots of it). My kids absolutely loved this part.
  • Some skin lotion to make the slime a little stretchy.
  • This is where I replaced borax with starch. I used potato flour and we used enough to make the slime more doughy.
  • Household color (optional). Use this if you want the slime to be anything else than white.

Okay, so we managed to create a soft dough. This was nothing like iceberg slime. I have thought about this and realized what went wrong. I have written my thoughts about it below.

But first, is borax good or bad?

Borax is a powdery, mineral that also goes by names like sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve in water. Just like salt!

Borax has the chemical formula Na2[B4O5(OH)4]·8H2O. OK, so now you know the (boring) formal description of it.

Borax is a pesticide that poisons insects, fungus, and weeds, but it is also used in cleaning products, personal care products and a lot of industrial goo-ey toys like slime.

OK, but is that really healthy to play around with?

Well, borax occurs naturally in evaporite deposits produced by the repeated evaporation of seasonal lakes, so it is a product of nature. But yes, even though it is a natural product, that does not make it safe just because it is.

Due to its highly alkaline nature, it might cause skin irritation in some people. When I read this I felt I did not want my kids to play with it. At least my kids have sensitive skin!

Now I have also found out that it is not permitted to sell pure borax to private customers within the European Union (EU), as it may affect reproduction! That means borax (in its pure form) will NOT be available for me to purchase since I live in Sweden, which is a country that is a member of EU.

OK, so what to use instead of borax? Well, I read somewhere that it is possible to use starch instead, so I tried with potato flour as you can see in the recipe above. And no, that was not the solution…

Then I realized that a lot of the recipes contained contact lens liquid, and I started to wonder why. As it turns out eyewash solution contains borate buffer! And yes, here we are on to what went wrong with our iceberg slime.

Now I know how to create Iceberg slime!

Finally, I realized what was wrong with our slime. We did not get the chemical reaction we needed to create the proper slime! We got a dough instead.

But yes, we had a lot of fun!

If you mix borat buffer/borax/bor acid with polyvinyl (PVA) that is found in hobby glue, that is when the magic happens. Then the result will be something like slime.

How do I dispose of the slime when done playing?

Look at the ingredients used to create the slime. At least in Sweden, it is recommended to throw away bottles of glue (and paint) at the recycling center, i.e. not in the normal household garbage can. The same goes for any pressure vessels, like the bottle of shaving cream.

But I assume that the actual slime is OK to be thrown in the normal household garbage can.

Here is my why:

1. If the hobby glue is burnt up, you will get carbon oxide and water. 2. The shaving cream is already washed down the drain if used for its real purpose. 3. Starch is a natural product that we use in our food and it dissolves in water. 3. Skin lotion also dissolves in water. 4. Household color is also used in things we eat.

Conclusion

There are unbelievably many articles and videos available on the internet about how to create all kinds of slime. I really think this is a trend on the peak.

I say be smart about it. Let kids play with the slime under parental supervision and make sure they wash their hands afterward.

If hobby glue with polyvinyl alcohol is used in the recipe, then there must be something with borXXX to be able to get any slime. That is the magical chemical reaction that must happen.

It is a great big fun factor to create slime.

Have you tried to make slime with your kids? What was your experience? I would love to hear about it. Just leave a comment below!

Marika

 

 

 

 

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