Slime at the Institute of Making

16 April 2018

Slime at the Institute of Making

On Saturday 24th of March, for one day only, the Institute of Making was transformed into a state-of-the-art slime lab, with ingredients and accessories to allow everyone to make the slime of their dreams and explore slime in all its glory. The day proved overwhelmingly popular and we have been sent many requests for advice and opinions by slime enthusiasts far and wide. We were pleased and excited to have found so many fellow materials lovers and, to help you on your slime journey, here is an account of the proceedings and some information on recipes, research and recreational slime activities:

Our slime recipe:
6 parts PVA glue 50% solution (to make the solution mix equal amounts of PVA glue and water)
1 part Borax 2% solution (to make the solution mix 2 grams of Borax powder with 100 ml of lukewarm water)
To this you can add liquid clay, shaving foam, baby lotion, glitter, kinetic sand, essential oils or food colouring to give the slime different properties.
Add the borax to the mix at the very end - it must be the very last ingredient end everything else must be thoroughly mixed before adding borax.


Making slime:
1) Put PVA Glue - and any additional chosen ingredients in mixing bowl and mix well with lollipop stick.
2) Start adding squirts of Borax solution, mixing all the time.
3) Once the slime starts having ‘legs’ (strings between the slime mix and the mixing bowl wall) stop adding Borax.
4) At this point continue to stir the slime, or once solid enough, knead the slime in your hands – this takes about 5 minutes.
5) Play with your slime, yay!
6) Put your slime in an airtight bag and store in the fridge, clearly label the bag as 'not edible'.

Slime Care & health and safety:
- Slime is not edible!
- Wash your hands before and after playing with slime. 
- Keep slime away from carpets, furniture, clothes, hair, pets, small children.
- Store slime in an airtight container, your slime will last up to a week. 
- Signs of mould, bad smell, and dirt show the slime needs to be chucked in the bin (don’t pour slime down the sink, it will block it).                                                                                       
- Borax in a 2% solution is not classed as a toxic substance, but pure Borax powder should be treated with care and respect, and should not be handled by children.
- If you are irritated or allergic to any of the ingredients in the slime,  rinse the affected area with clean water and seek medical advice.

Good slime articles

Our Slime event as it happened - preparations, collaborations, activities:
As Events Coordinator, I found our Slime day joyful to plan. So many slime tests, so much slime talk, so many days spent on Instagram and YouTube feverishly noting the names of famous slimers, their slime designs and properties. We spent hours collaborating with event planner Ben from Blunt Productions, who first suggested our open day theme, and his daughter Amy, a passionate and respected slimer known as @cute_slimexoxo. We made hundreds of slime samples, experimenting with ingredients both familiar and exotic in our quest for slime excellence. Researches from diverse disciplines came on board to widen our understanding of the dimensions and dominions of slime; slimes in algae with Dr Brenda Parker, slimes in medicine with Dr Ben Hanson, slimes in bioplastics with artists Phenotypica, slimes in food with researcher Ellie Doney, and of course a luminous exploration of the physics and chemistry of slimes with Dr Jess Wade and Andres Tretiakov. The world of slime had truly opened to us in all its multifaceted and goopy beauty. 

But this was not all. Another area of planning was afoot. We had a vision of a glorious slime sporting event where all slimes could be pushed to their material limits; the Slime Olympics. We pulled and threw and spun and dropped and siphoned and stretched and suspended and bounced and spiralled and flipped slime to determine which competitions to include in our magnificent Slime Olympics. Industrial machinery was brought in and then sent away again. Our technicians had special meetings to prototype and design competition equipment. Director Zoe drew an artwork for every separate sporting discipline. We collected whistles, flags, hats, stopwatches, measuring poles and tapes to ensure proper standards. An official games rules document was written and circulated, leader boards designed, volunteer adjudicators assigned.
Slime Olympics symbols

Finally, having been half a year in the making, the day arrived. In the history of the institute and in our team’s many years of collective experience we have had the privilege of witnessing exceptional levels of dedication and passion from the public for materials and making processes. However nothing prepared us for the love of slime. Four thousand people came together to celebrate goo and gunge, more than tripling our usual open day audience. Our Slime Lab crew worked round the clock while other team members spontaneously whipped up huge 40 litre tubs of monster slimes to hand out while people queued. 

The event also paid tribute to a brave new generation of Slime Entrepreneurs; online slimers whose expertise, professionalism and panache allows them to sell slimes on Instagram with staggering popularity. These were:, @aurora.slimery, @slime.marshmallows, @slimebymolly@XanduSlime, @tomtom.slimes, @koalaslimesuk, @candleslimes, @CrimeSlimes and @Slimey.squish88. Some of these famous slimers joined our event in an area called the Slime Fair, showcasing their wares and explaining their businesses, doing a roaring trade on the day. Many of the slimers had formed friendships online but met each other in person for the very first time that day. Their energy and style lent our event an extra special dimension, and we were astounded and touched by how many loyal fans came from all over the country to meet their slime heroes. By 5pm the the Slime Fair had sold out, and moreover, the entire event had completely run out of slime. Even the smallest drops were collected and treasured by our visitors until not a smidgen remained. The day was an overwhelming joyous whirlwind, whipped up by slime. 

We hope this account gives some insight into the proceedings of our Slime event, and how much we loved preparing for it and running it - not least because of all of our amazing collaborators. If you liked our event please follow and support our Slime contributors online, because they are all terrific. We would love to see you again at our next public open day, the Festival of Stuff Saturday Extravaganza on 7th July which, we can reveal, will honour our recent event with a few slimy features of its own.