Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Homemade "Silly Putty"

I was thumbing through Helen Roney Sattler's Newly Revised Recipes for Art and Craft Materials, at the library (an excellent reference book, by the way), when her recipe for Nutty Putty caught my eye. Actually, what really caught my attention, was the promise that this putty, like the store bought variety, would not only stretch, and break, but bounce, and pick up newsprint, too.

We've tried glue, borax, and corn starch combinations before, with recipes for flubber, and homemade bouncy balls, but we've never really been satisfied with their bouncing abilities, and none of our previous putties, have been able to lift pictures off the funny pages.

Sattler's recipe, which I also found all over online, under various names, calls for 2 tablespoons of white school glue, and 1 tablespoon of liquid starch. She also suggests adding a pinch of sodium benzoate as a preservative against mold, but not if the putty is being used by younger children.

We left the sodium benzoate out, and used spray starch, because that's what we had on hand.

We also did our initial mixing inside of a plastic baggie, until the putty started taking a somewhat solid form.

Then, we removed the putty from the bag, and kneaded it by hand. At first it was very sticky - but still quite fun to play with.

Gradually, as we worked with it, and added several additional squirts of starch, it became less sticky, and more like the Silly Putty we know from the store.

After about 10 additional squirts of starch, it was just about perfect - bouncy, pliable, moldable putty, able to lift the black ink from the funny page. Pull it slowly, and it stretches. Pull it quickly, and it breaks. Mold it into a cube, and it will hold it's form for a minute, and then melt down into a flat disk. Roll it into a ball, and bounce it over your head. Press it into the carpeting, and hear your mother scream.

Stored in an air tight container, it will keep for a couple of days. And, according to Sattler, if it becomes too dry, or tough during that time, it can be dipped in warm water, and kneaded back to it's bouncy, rubber-like form. We have a winner!

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Debbie said...

I love the part about Press it into the carpeting and mom will scream!

It looks like the kids had fun!

Erica said...

This looks like fun. We may have to give it a try, as we are making "mush" this week.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Cool! I hope you don't have too many carpets in the house :)

Ticia said...

Oh man, I'm sure ours would go straight into the carpet too.

Man, how many sprays of spray starch did it take to get a tablespoon?

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Our spray starch, has a removable top, so I poured it into the tablespoon - but it was nice for adding the extra squirts later on.

Anonymous said...

We were so excited when we saw this post. We've tried the recipe several times and have not gotten anything beyond goo. As far as I can tell, we have followed the recipe exactly. How long did the kneading take before the putty wasn't sticky and would hold it's shape?

I love you site - thanks for sharing your ideas!

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

It was just a matter of minutes, from sticky to firm - the main key was the extra squirts of starch.

Christy Killoran said...

I did this with Collin and Reagan today. Fun!!! I took pictures and posted them on Facebook with a link to you!