As an early 2000s tween, I used to spend countless hours watching Nickelodeon’s Slime Time Live and dreaming fervently of the day I could bathe in fluorescent green goop on live television. There was something about the way the slime lookedharmless but almost glowing, untouched in a giant vatthat made you want to jump right in. Their noses may be buried in their phones, but teens and tweens today, it seems, are still reallyinto this idea. But theyve found a more sophisticated, profitable way to obsess over gooey substances: Welcome to the strange, internet drama-fueled world of DIY slime.
Slime-making accounts, run by slimers, have seen a massive uptick in popularity since the tail end of 2016.
The most prominent accounts are operated by teen girls. If you type the words how to into Google today, the first fill-in-the-blank answer is how to make slime,closely followed by immortal how-to questions like how to tie a tie or how to boil eggs. It turns out making slime is surprisingly simple, easy, and very cheap.
Recipe: How to make slime
1 bottle Elmer’s glue (either clear or white)
1 teaspoon Borax powder OR substitute 1/2 cup liquid laundry detergent
1 1/2 cups water (room temperature)
Step 1: Dissolve 1 teaspoon of borax powder into 1 cup of water in a separate bowl.Mix well.
Step 2: Measure out about1/2 cup of clear glue and mix with 1/2 cup of water until well mixed.
Step 3: Pour glue/water mixture into borax/water mixture.
Step 4: Get your hands in there and mix it up. Voila! Slime time.
Make sure to store your finished slime in an airtight container. If it ever becomes too sticky or goopy to handle, you can carefully add more borax powder to restore consistency. For added texture, mix in glitter, beads, styrofoam beads, or even a small amount of lotion to add a scent to your slime.
The basic slime recipe is made up of a combination of household ingredients and school supplies: white glue, water, food coloring, and the key ingredient, borax powder, which is found in most laundry detergents. Here’s where the profit comes in: Slimers can make a basic slime at home for less than a dollar and sell it at a much higher pricetypically anywhere from $2 to $20, depending on their variations or additions to the slime.
Under the hashtag #slime on Instagram there are more than2 million posts, mostly videos, of stretchy, sticky, brightly colored goop thats squished and squashed around in the hands of teen slime enthusiasts. Each video follows roughly the same format: a spotless, fresh bowl of virgin slime is poked and repeatedly folded, making a distinct clicking or popping sound.
It’s both visually satisfying and auditorily satisfying, but it’s the combination of these senses that make slime what it is, says Grace, one half of the teen girl duo behind the Instagram account Kickass Slimes. It’s great for relaxation. People who suffer from anxiety or general stress benefit from watching videos or playing with it themselves.”
Teens are always going to play with goop, or circulate obnoxious viral videos, or draw that one weird s symbol on all of their notebooks. But slime has surpassed a simple teen trend, crossing over into the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) community. ASMR refers to the euphoric tingling sensation some experience inresponse to certain stimuli, like listening to quiet whispers or having their hair touched. That distinct slime soundthe clicking, popping, and crunchingcan also trigger the brain tingle response that defines ASMR.
Though science hasturned up barely any real information on why some people experience ASMR effects more than others, one 2015 ASMR study found that most ASMR enthusiasts turn to videos produced by “ASMRtists” tohelp reduce anxiety symptoms or to use as a sleep aid.
“The feeling when you pull back your fingers from poking it and then the noises it makesit’s just nice, says Sarah Schonbacher, the 19-year-old operator of an Etsy slime shop called Honey Guts. You can poke it, stretch it, make different textures and noises.
There are names for varying strains of slimebutter, fluffy, crunchy, and fishbowl, to name a few. With artisanal names like super crunchy iceberg, jiggly banana milk, and pastel geode fishbowl, its hard not click on the next suggested video, anticipating the next round of sounds.
As pure and silly as the slime world seems, just like the rest of the internet, it can get sticky when it comes to competing for followers and plagiarizing original recipes.
I know what you’re thinkingslime drama? Seriously? Seriously, Grace says. It’s intended to be a source of relaxation, not a place to argue about who created what type of slime first or demand recipes. People overreact all the time, but at the end of the day, it’s just slime.