Who can resist the fun, bouncy potential of Silly Putty? More than 300 million plastic eggs of the stuff have been sold since it was invented more than half a century ago. Most of us grew up pressing it onto the comics page of the newspaper and bouncing it against the wall. And now you can make a homemade version using the recipe below.
Silly Putty, which is a trademarked brand, was invented by accident in the 1940s. A Scottish engineer working in the US for General Electric was looking to invent a rubber substitute, and instead invented a gooey putty that bounced when he threw it on the floor. G.E. tried to find a practical use for it---to no avail. Then a toy-store owner who came across the putty saw its potential as a toy and decided to market it in his catalogue. It was an instant hit. The bouncing putty quickly became a popular kid's toy and remains an American classic today.
You can make your own version of Silly Putty. All you need is some liquid cornstarch (available at most supermarkets) and Elmer's glue. If you'd like to make the putty a certain colour, you'll also need some food colouring.
In a small plastic cup, mix 5 tsp liquid cornstarch with 5 tsp. Elmer's glue. Add a few drops of food colouring if desired. Stir the mixture with your finger. Pour out any excess liquid and continue to knead the putty until it is no longer wet (but still doughy and pliable). Transfer the putty to your hands and roll it around in your palms until the desired texture is achieved. Store the putty in a resealable plastic bag when it's not being used to keep it from drying out.
Playing With Putty
Combined with an active imagination, your new homemade putty can provide countless hours of fun. Mold it into fun and interesting shapes. Roll it into a ball and bounce it around. Flatten it, press it onto a newspaper page (try the comics section), peel it off, and see how the print sticks to the putty.
Do not give your homemade putty to babies who might stick it in their mouths. It's not for eating! Also, the putty will stick to your clothes and the carpet, so be careful not to get it on any soft materials.