A friend of mine found an old book at a garage sale that had a recipe in it for homemade Silly Putty. The ingredients are deceptively simple (just equal amounts of white glue and liquid starch, with a bit of food coloring to jazz it up), but the reality is a little more tricky. After a couple of botched experiments I came to realize that not all white glue is equal and not all liquid starch is suitable either. The ones I found to work were Elmer’s Glue-All multipurpose glue (not Elmer’s school glue) and a concentrated liquid starch called Sta-Flo (the first brand I tried, Niagara, didn’t react at all). That being said, the materials list is relatively simple!


  • Elmer's Glue-All multipurpose glue
  • food coloring
  • Sta-Flo concentrated liquid starch


  1. putty 1Mix the glue with the food coloring until the color is even throughout.
  2. Pour the liquid starch into the colored glue mixture.
  3. Stir and let it sit for five minutes.
  4. Pull the putty out of the mixing bowl and set it on a paper towel. Knead the putty in your hands for five to ten minutes.putty 2
  5. The final product is great! It can copy newspaper print and bounces when you roll it up into a ball, just like the original store-bought Silly Putty.

    To learn more about the benefits of sensory play, visit Sensory Play and Early Child Development.

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  • GrandmaRuth

    why doesn’t it give amounts of each ingredient?

    • Mr. Copas

      It says “equal” amounts, in other words that would be a 1 to 1 ratio. (example: 1 cup glue to 1 cup starch) food coloring would depend on how dark you desire.

      • Tessa

        Oh ok

  • http://www.facebook.com/bonniebanda Bonnie Sawyer-Banda

    it says equal amounts in the first paragraph

    • Keith Lander

      By weight or volume?

      • Teri Davis

        it is liquids so volume

        • Keith Lander

          Liquids aren’t exclusively measured by volume

          • Ronald Graham

            8 fluid oz..

          • Stella

            Really? 8 fluid oz can also be measured by a measuring cup for liquids. Which does measure it by volume. But don’t say that it’s not measured by cups, 95% of all recipes in America are written with dry & liquid ingredients by cup. Ronald, you sound like some geek who has never stepped foot into a kitchen.

      • Teresa Wojcik

        By volume.

  • adrienne

    if you don’t have access to the liquid starch mentioned, can you make some from water and corn starch? if so, any idea proportion amount?

    • chelsee


    • atxproffer

      not really. I tried that, using corn starch. it did not work

    • Jordyn

      Just use borax it works just as good

      • Person

        What can you use other than those two things?

        • Jade

          Contact lense solution and baking soda :)

      • JaneG

        Would it still be equal parts, glue to borax?

    • Angelina Allibone

      Yes you can. Stay away from borax.

    • Jessica

      My daughters and I used liquid pure for your clothes! Works great.. U can get liquid starch at Walmart! By pure does just as good! Don’t use borax. Its very harmful to your health and the kids!!

      • Nikki Walker

        Borax isn’t harmful to kids over 8 years old. They should be mature enough not to eat it. But it doesn’t effect your skin at all unless you have allergies to it.

        • Linda Sykora

          Actually it would still be harmful to kids AND adults, just hopefully all know better than to eat it.

  • lilly

    lets just say I have No access to any of those things

  • Cristen

    I don’t have access to the liquid starch , and why doesn’t give the amounts for the ingeredents.

    • TheSilverFox99

      you can use nail polish remover or borax

  • Poopidy scoop candy lover mmmm

    How much glue

  • Cableguy

    It does tell you how much.
    Its in parts.
    Equal parts to be specific.
    If you’re still not sure what this means, Its 1 part glue, and 1 part starch= equal parts.
    A part could be a random cup in your cupboard. Or a gallon jug

  • keyera

    you can also use nail polish remover

    • Teri Davis

      but then it is no longer non toxic and pets will eat it and it will burn their mouths and throats acetate is not for children

  • Nikki Parker

    This sounds like a really easy weekend craft project after a quick trip to Wal-Mart. Or I might be lazy and just order everything from Amazon :) I guess I’ll start with 4 oz each of glue & liquid starch to experiment with.

  • Heather Grady

    it says equal amounts in the first paragraph

  • Alicia

    I followed the recipe to a t and it didn’t work :( very sticky.

    • ginni

      neither did mine

      • dgsd

        One buck for a package of silly putty at the store. Just sayin….

        • hoe

          thats just really dumb. its more fun to make it yourself. ‘just sayin…”

        • L Lue

          True. We can buy prepared food too, but does that teach us to feed ourselves well? Isn’t it worth recognizing that we can affect chemical changes? The ‘benefit cost of these kinds of activities is definitely worthwhile in my humble opinion.

      • http://www.redeemedhealthandfitness.com/ Kasey Norton

        Maybe you need to knead it some more, at first mine came out really sticky so I kneaded some more and it worked.

    • Gabi B

      ikr btw im a kid :)

    • Lori B

      ours didn’t even get sticky

    • dgsd

      One buck for a package of silly putty at the store. Just sayin.

      • Someone

        but this ways more fun

      • Person

        The reason people like it this way is, one, for fun, and two, because they’re bored and looking for a fun DIY project.

    • Mary Hbic Ramage

      I know this recipe says to make bouncy balls but it actually makes better silly putty


    • Person

      maybe you need to put less glue

  • Gabi B

    my friend Trevor got silly putty stuck in his back pack so since it was mine i had to help him!

  • Lori B

    I used the identical ingredients and it DID NOT WORK. I tried 3 parts glue to 2 parts starch and also equal amounts. I tried both Elmers Glue All multi purpose and also craft glue with the Sta-Flo. None of it worked!

  • Irene

    Most recipes I have seen called for 2 parts glue to 1 part liquid starch. For those who need measurements, try 2 tablespoons of glue to 1 tablespoon liquid starch. If it is too runny, add more glue. If it is too sticky, add more starch. Be nice, folks…people just offering ideas here!

    • Jess

      Can u just use laundry detergent

    • Leslie Egan

      Tried it and 1 to 1 ratio was too much starch. I’d try 2 to 1 glue to starch as a starting point and add one or the other as needed. Also putting on paper towel wastes a fair amount of putty. I used waxed paper and that worked well

  • Dean Goss

    Liquid starch works, but nowhere near as well as borax…although borax isn’t safe to eat.

    4 oz white glue, 4 oz water, 1 oz borax, 2 oz hot water. Mix the glue and cold water until an even consistency is achieved. Add borax to hot water and stir until completely dissolved. Mix cold and hot liquids together and watch the magic happen. Color with a few drops of any food color that strikes your fancy.

    • kayla watson

      that’s what I did

  • Donald

    Tried this at back to school night with my students. I ended up having to use a glue to starch ratio of about 1.75:1, not quite equal parts, but also not quite twice as much glue. Worked out great.

  • Alexis Jade

    You can make silly putty with Alka seltzer
    Add some glue and dissolve the tablet with water

    • akwon

      that sounds like a harry potter jail azkaban number 2 lol

  • Prielle

    Thanks so much Alexis!!! It works!

  • Stacie Gardner

    Hello I am character “Torey” from Bill and Bob Moyers Industrial Educational Films…mid to late 1980’s……….thanks for bringing back silly puddy. Seems cheap, my community 90062 CANNOT AFFORD the purchase nor the benefits of it, thank you to the creators for allowing us to “know” about it, if YOU KNEW WE ARE THE WORLDS POPULATION COMING UP FROM UNDERGROUND-Extra Terrestrial Earth Quake, are you aware of requirement of that level of assistance? Now, what is silly puddy to the minority communities?

  • Kellyk

    I also tried this recipe and it didn’t work. Proceeded to double the glue amount. Still didn’t work. Then just added a teaspoon of Borax mixed to 1/3 cup warm water. Added that and just turned it into slime.

  • Person

    i’ve done this before and its fun

  • Brandi

    To all the people saying “I don’t have these things” either go buy them or don’t do the project. Seems simple enough. The items are easily accessible at most grocery stores. It’s not like you have to order them from a lab.

    • Person

      no one said that

      • Grayson

        People did say that. And if I’m correct, most people in the U.K. don’t have access to liquid starch

        • http://www.redeemedhealthandfitness.com/ Kasey Norton

          I think you can make liquid starch

  • jennifer

    how do you make cornstarch liquid?

  • andrea

    Can I use clear glue or is it only all purpose

  • monica rubi anaya

    This is awsome

  • jo_ella

    We have made this for my grandson. You can also use cream rinse instead of liquid starch.

  • Me annderson

    No funcionó

  • Me Annderson

    I don liked ISO long if yuo don’t do it

  • Anonyomous

    DO NOT put the starch in first
    It will fail.

  • Becky Berry


  • illana

    putty for days!!!!

  • Chris

    Or you all could just spend the $1 it costs to buy the store brand where it would cost you more to make it by hand!

    • Avi

      But its so much more fun to make it by hand! I remember doing it as a kids and it was a great activity for a large group to do (outside)!

  • Kayla


  • Jamie

    I just tried it substituting liquid starch for home-made starch (corn starch & H2O) and….
    Epic FAIL!!!
    You should have seen those disappointed little faces….

    (To be fair, I should mention I also used Playschool brand School Glue, which may have contributed to the failure)

  • Wassup


  • edith robison

    i dont have this stuff

  • Kyle

    I just made some with the glue and starch listed. 1 to 1. Came out perfect! I’m now the world’s coolest uncle. Ha. The important part is to work it in your hand after taking it out of the starch. If it’s too rubbery add a little glue and keep working it in your hand. Don’t worry about the sticky mess, it’ll go away after you work the glue in. Don’t give up, it really works great. Y

  • Bailey

    Can I use corn starch instead of liquid starch?

  • jj

    if i dont have wet glue can i melt a glue stick and use that

  • Adlin Sierra

    I did several over the past few days preparing for a science birthday party…this is what worked:
    1/4 cup Elmer’s Mulit-purpose glue (add food coloring if desired)
    1/4 cup of Sta-Flo liquid starch
    Add together and let sit for 5 minutes like the article stated. Pour out extra water. Knead whatever is left in the cup for a few minutes. It will be very mushy at first, but give it time and it will harden. So much fun!

  • Kenny Meade

    Can you use corn starch?