Monday, February 11, 2013

Cub Stuff: Ectoplasm/slime/putty

The Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet is an annual celebration, typically held in February, but not always.  We celebrate the Cub Scouting movement and we thank our leaders and try to make it a great night for the Cubs and their families.

This year, our pack worked up a Mad Scientist theme for our Blue and Gold.  Our Cubmaster guided them in inflating balloons by mixing vinegar and baking soda in a pop bottle and the balloons were attached on the bottle neck.  The Cubmaster's wife put out bowls of gum drops and toothpicks so the kids could make their own "molecules".  Each table had a mind stretching puzzle as a center piece.

Part of my contribution was to hand out samples of slime, I told the kids that it was "ectoplasm", that would glow under a black light.  Here's how I made the stuff:

The basic recipe for slime is pretty simple but it doesn't glow under a UV lamp.  I wanted my slime to glow, so I had to alter one of the ingredients to make it do that.

I sawed off the bottom of a highliter marker and took the inner bit out (kind of a spongy cylinder soaked with ink).

I soaked the highliter innards in a jar of water.  I gave it about 20 minutes and a little swishing around to get the ink to bleed into the water thoroughly.  The innards can then be removed and discarded.

Okay, for the slime, you need two bowls. In the bowl on the left here, I put 1 teaspoon of borax (you find that at the store where the laundry detergent is) and 1 cup of my inky water.  Mix the borax until it is dissolved in the water. If there is a little bit in the bottom of the bowl that won't dissolve, that's okay. In the bowl on the right, I have 1/2 cup of clear glue, the school type glue, and 1/2 of plain water mixed together.  You can use regular white school glue too. The regular school glue will make the slime opaque rather than transparent. The water will make the glue runnier.  Then you pour the glue mixture into the borax mixture and stir it up.  The glue mixture will thicken up. You'll have water leftover.  Your hands are best for scooping out the glop.
I put the resulting slime into little 2 ounce containers with lids. I found these at Wal-mart.  In natural light, they are the bright highlighter color. The basic recipe gave me enough glop to fill four of the 2 ounce containers.  Doubling the recipe gave me enough to fill 9 containers, but quadrupling the recipe only gave me enough for 13 containers (???)  I ended up just doing multiple double batches until I had enough for all the guests at Blue and Gold.

Under a black light, the color really pops!  The camera doesn't really capture the right color, it's a brighter yellow/green under the UV flashlight.

Yeah, kinda looks like snot, but kids love that.  It feels slimy to start with, and after a while, it feels more like clammy putty.  It'll keep in the fridge for a while when you're not playing with it. 

A note about safety:  the glue bottle said the glue was "nontoxic" and the water was "nontoxic" and the highliter said it was "nontoxic", but the borax box recommended rinsing one's mouth out with water and calling a doctor if it was accidentally ingested.  You use very little borax compared to the other ingredients but it would probably be a good idea to remind everyone DO NOT EAT the slime.  I told parents it was only for kids ages 5 years and up and not to let them eat it, or put it on stuff that you don't want stained because of the highliter ink.

The kids loved it.

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