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How to make silly putty without liquid starch or borax

Silly putty is one of the most universal toys, because it has multiple uses and appeals to children of all ages. Use it to sculpt three-dimensional animals, bounce it around like a ball, or even use it to pick up pictures from newspapers or comic books. Homemade silly putty is a popular rainy day activity, but most recipes call for some type of liquid starch or borax, which most people don't have in their homes. Using a substitute for the liquid starch lets you easily make your own silly putty at home.

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  1. Find a liquid starch alternative. Several companies began making this product as a way to protect the environment because many liquid starches come in an aerosol spray bottle. Alternatives have a non-aerosol spray top, which screws off for easy pouring. Most art and craft shops and fabric retailers offer this product.

  2. Pour two cups of white glue into a glass bowl and add one cup of liquid starch alternative. Mix well, and add a few drops of food colouring if you want to create a coloured putty. Mix the ingredients with your hands.

  3. Check the consistency of the putty. It should have a smooth consistency and not feel sticky. If it sticks to your hands, add another tablespoon of starch alternative and mix again. You may need to add more to tone down the stickiness.

  4. Cover the mixture with cling film and leave in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours and preferably overnight. Once the mixture dries, you can start using it as you would shop-bought silly putty.

  5. Keep the putty in a plastic bag when not in use. Squeeze out any extra air or use an airtight container to keep the mixture from drying out.

  6. Tip

    If you can't find the starch alternative, check the laundry/cleaning section at any supermarket. Starch alternative is often located near the bottles of liquid starch.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2 cups white glue
  • Glass bowl
  • 1 cup liquid starch alternative
  • Food colouring (optional)
  • Cling film
  • Plastic bag

About the Author

Jennifer Eblin has been a full-time freelance writer since 2006. Her work has appeared on several websites, including Tool Box Tales and Zonder. Eblin received a master's degree in historic preservation from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

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