Glowing Slime

When you think of slime, do you imagine slugs, snails, and puppy kisses? Or does the science fiction film The Blob come to mind? Any way you picture it, slime is definitely slippery, slithery, and just plain icky — and a perfect forum for learning real science.

But which ingredients work in making a truly slimy concoction, and why do they work? Let’s take a closer look…

Imagine a plate of spaghetti. The noodles slide around and don’t clump together, just like the long chains of molecules (called polymers) that make up slime. They slide around without getting tangled up. The pasta by itself (fresh from the boiling water) doesn’t hold together until you put the sauce on. Slime works the same way. Long, spaghetti-like chains of molecules don’t clump together until you add the sauce … until you add something to cross-link the molecule strands together.

The sodium-tetraborate-and-water mixture is the “spaghetti” (the long chain of molecules, also known as a polymer), and the “sauce” is the glue-water mixture (the cross-linking agent). You need both in order to create a slime worthy of Hollywood filmmakers.

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37 Responses to “Glowing Slime”
  1. Mary Legreid says:

    COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Aurora says:

    I am still trying to find a company that makes it, or something similar. It’s a really cool substance!

  3. Indu Patel says:

    Do you know any store that carries Moon Blob? I would love to know.

  4. Aurora says:

    It’s a hard chemical to find… and really all you do once you have it is re-hydrate it overnight with water. I’ll see if I can find another supplier as I understand Edmund Scientifics no longer carries it.

  5. Indu Patel says:

    Can you give the instructions to make Moon Blob at home? I would love to try to make some.

  6. Aurora says:

    No – just get one that’s really bright.

  7. Irenio and Deena Mateo says:

    does the brand of the highlighter matter?

  8. Aurora says:

    Great question! Glue doesn’t harden in the bottle because it needs air in order to harden (or set). You can see this for yourself when you leave the cap off the bottle, because the glue at the very top that is exposed to air will harden, sealing the rest of the glue from the air so only the top hardens. When you use up most of the glue, it’s a lot easier for the remaining glue to harden because there’s more air inside the bottle.

    Some types of glue require a chemical other than those found in air. These types of glue won’t stick to the bottle even if you leave the cap off.

  9. Shawn Manning says:

    Great experiment! I am 8 yrs. old and want to know why glue doesn’t harden in the bottle.

  10. Aurora says:

    It’s fluorescent, not phosphorescent, meaning that you need to hit it with a light to see it glow. Phosphorescence means that you hit it with a light, and it keeps glowing even after the light has been removed. Read more about different types of illumination in Unit 9!

  11. Natasha Omdahl says:

    to make the slime glow can you use a dark room???????

  12. Aurora says:

    Nope – use what you’ve got. And send me a picture!

  13. says:

    I didnt use clear glue i just used regular. Does it change the whole experiment if you dont use clear glue.

  14. says:

    This is AWESOME!!! This is by far my most favorite experiment. Keep up the good work Science Learning Space!!

    Danielle, age 14

  15. Merry says:

    AWSOME!!!! I loved this experiment.

  16. Lydia Fancher says:

    I have alot of bottles of white glue but I don’t have laundry whitener…

  17. Lorelei Grecian says:

    Hey everybody, if you are looking for clear glue you can get it at Walmart in the craft section!

  18. Lisa Mathews says:


  19. Lorelei Grecian says:

    I used white glue because I couldn’t find clear glue and it worked awesomely.
    Going to try blue highlighter tommorow. I mixed the blue and yellow to make green, going to try that tommorow too.

  20. Aurora says:

    Thanks for the feedback – so glad you liked the videos! We’re currently working on getting ALL the videos to stream smoothly no matter what your internet connection looks like or what OP you are running, so thanks for your patience while we update 600+ videos on the website!

  21. Ushapriya Ravilla says:

    Hello this is Tarun, I really liked the slime experiment. I just started today, I will do this experiment tomorrow and will let you know. Thanks for posting cool videos….Some of the videos are getting stuck, so if you could help that would be great.

  22. Aurora says:

    You’ll want to use four cups of cold water with the dehydrated plastic powder (use the order link on the page).

  23. Virginia Acuna says:

    What is the recipe for the Moon Blob?

  24. Anita Cracauer says:

    I’ve done the first round of chemistry experiments and now I’m on Unit 2. I started with this experiment and it’s my favorite one so far!! I liked when it squished around in my hands and I tried to make duck hands with it. –Avery, 5 1/2

  25. Darla Lucero says:

    When My slime fell apart and I tried to squish it together, but It wouldn’t come back together, so I had to put it back into the mixture and then it came back together

  26. Aurora says:

    I personally have given a shoebox full of my favorite folded paper airplanes and flying machines, and zipper-bags full of glowing slime… it’s really a personal choice. 🙂

  27. kellie simpson says:

    would you know an experiment i could do to give as a gift.

  28. Julie Polanco says:

    it did that to me when i didn’t log in! try logging in every time, so u can watch all the videos

  29. Julie Polanco says:

    this is the best stuff ever! it, squishes, glows, bounces and it uses easy to find materials! thank you, keep up the good work!

  30. Aurora says:

    Great question! A black light emits high-energy UV light. Stuff glows because fluorescent objects absorb the UV light and then spit light back out almost instantaneously. Some of the energy gets lost during that process, which changes the wavelength (color) of the light, which makes this light visible and causes the material to appear to glow.

    What other stuff glows under a black light? Loads of stuff! There are a lot of everyday things that fluoresce (glow) when placed under a black light: white paper (although paper made before 1950 doesn’t); tonic water (it’s the quinine that glows), body fluids (yes, blood and urine are both fluorescent); vitamins A, B, B-12 (crush each vitamin and dissolve in vinegar ahead of time), thiamine, niacin, riboflavin; antifreeze; laundry detergents; tooth whiteners; postage stamps; driver’s licenses; jellyfish; and certain rocks such as fluorite, calcite, gypsum, ruby, talc, opal, agate, quartz, amber, and the Hope diamond (which is blue in white light, but phosphoresces red). For chlorophyll, grind spinach in a small amount of alcohol such as vodka and pour it through a coffee filter to get the extract; keep the solids in the filter, not the liquid, and shine your UV light source on the solids. Hope this helps!

  31. Joshua Denney says:

    I just did the glowing slime experiment in chemistry. And my parents wanted to know why it works. Could you explain that?

  32. Aurora says:

    Hmmm… try again? I have it playing over here. Let me know if you still can’t get it to play.

  33. Debra Thomson says:

    I watched the slime video yesterday. Today, when I tried to watch it, it tells me “video not found or access denied”. How can I get the video?

    Thank you!

  34. Aurora says:

    So glad you enjoyed the experiment! Yes, the temperature of the glue makes a difference as well as the age and how much water you mixed in with it. THe amount of borax you add doesn’t matter a whole lot, but if the glue is a bit dried out, you’ll get a stiffer slime. You can stick it in the fridge for longer-lasting slime, or freeze it and it will change colors a bit. Place in microwave to thaw for a few seconds… 🙂

  35. Spring Gouette says:

    We had super fun with this experiment- our first since signing up! We had to use regular glue, all we had, and tried an orange highlighter, all we had again. We don’t have a black-light yet, so we don’t know if it glows yet.

    Ours ended up kind of the consistency of bouncy-ball slime, which we didn’t mind- they are having tons of fun playing with them! But we wanted to ask, what might have made it come out more solid? Our theories were, maybe we stirred it too long after combing them? Or maybe we did not have the measurements just right?

    The Gouettes

  36. Aurora says:

    “I also had a question: Where can you get clear glue? My mom looked in Target and Wal-Mart, but she could not find it. Can you order it online?
    sevy keble ”

    You don’t HAVE to use clear glue – it just looks cooler because your slime is see-through, and you’ll see how well it glows in the black light when it’s that way. You can order clear glue here.

  37. sevy keble says:

    Ummm… Excuse me, I think it was Silly Putty.

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