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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Glow in the Dark Slime Instructions

By October 13, 2013

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Glow in the dark slime is easy to make (Anne Helmenstine)How do you really make good glowing slime? When I write up a project, there are two sets of instructions. There are the cover-all-the-bases instructions. where I tell you all the different ways to make something. Then there are the instructions I actually use for myself when I test a project. When I made the glow-in-the-dark slime you see in the picture, here is what I actually did:

  • borax (from laundry aisle of a grocery store)
  • Elmer's™ non-toxic blue glue gel (sold with office or school supplies)
  • Glow-Away™ washable paint (sold near tempera paint at Michael's craft store)
  • water
  • bowls or cups
  • spoons
  • measuring cups
Instructions for Making Glowing Slime
  1. In one bowl, mix 1/3 cup glue with 1 cup water. I used a whisk, since stirring with a spoon was slow.
  2. Stir or whisk in about half a tube of the paint.
  3. Pour about half a cup of hot water into a cup or second bowl.
  4. Stir in borax until it stops dissolving (starts to leave some at the bottom). This makes a saturated solution without any measuring at all.
  5. Measure and mix 1/3 cup of the borax solution (the clear part, not the undissolved stuff at the bottom) with 1 cup of the glue/glow mixture.
  6. You can try to whisk this, but it's easier to use your hands.
  7. Activate the glow by holding the slime under a bright light. Any light works, but the brightest glow will come from a UV lamp (black light) or a fluorescent bulb. Turn out the lights!
  8. Wash your hands when you are done playing with your slime.
  9. You can store the slime indefinitely in a sealed baggie.
Make Glow in the Dark Slime (Anne Helmenstine)Things that Glow under Black Light | Candy Triboluminescence
Photo: Ryan with glowing slime. (Anne Helmenstine)


October 29, 2007 at 11:33 am
(1) Leena says:

We did this last week for class. The children were trilled with it. They are still playing with it 5 days later.

One suggestion: Put the paint in the water before putting the glue in. It worked very well that way.

Thank you for the recipe.

October 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm
(2) skylor says:

it didnt work for us and we used everything you said ;

May 24, 2008 at 12:07 pm
(3) Faith K Musoke says:

Thanx the product works sooo well i love it but how can i make it last for longer? plz answer

thanx again

November 7, 2008 at 9:16 pm
(4) liam says:

hope it works!

January 7, 2009 at 3:34 am
(5) Amberlynn says:

Hey I want to try your project and hope it works. I was wondering how many day or weeks does it last for? Please reply back. Let’s see if it is going to work.

February 17, 2009 at 5:18 pm
(6) chemistry says:

The slime lasts indefinitely. My daughter has had some in a baggie for over a year.

To some extent, you can make it glow longer and brighter by exposing it to higher intensity light, such as a black light as opposed to sunlight or an incandescent bulb. To make it glow a lot longer, you need to use phosphorescent paint intended to glow a long time or tritiated paint, which glows because the tiny plastic spheres in the paint contain radioactive tritium.

Another alternative is just to keep a black light handy, since that will keep the glow charged.

March 23, 2009 at 2:50 pm
(7) glow cups says:

I had a go doing this project and it went really well, I combined it with some cool glow cups, which really put a smile on the kids faces.

April 11, 2010 at 1:33 pm
(8) Science Project Help says:

Hey, Im going to do a science project on making glow in the dark slime, but my question is how does all of this fun making of slime make this project scientific?
I need to know A.S.A.P!!! But one more thing would cornstarch or borax act as an atom and when you squeeze it hardens and when you dont and u open ur fingers its slimey i need to know what makes this project scientifc????A.S.A.P

October 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm
(9) Science Teacher says:

How is it scientific? How is it not?

The Elmers glue in this case acts in the place of Polyvinyl alcohol (the ingredient in the “slime” toys that you purchase at department stores. The borax acts as the “linking” mechanism that links chains of PVA together to form a polymer.

This is the childs version of making nylon….which is one of the single most important chemistry discoveries ever!

When i conduct this experiment, I make the children use exact measurements. I make them record what they use, how much they use, and also what happens when they add the chemicals together.

I dont make the glow in the dark variety, but if I did, I could go on and on about how the light energy elevates the electrons to higher energy levels in the photo-reactive material. When the material is in darkness you can see those electrons giving off that energy as they move back down the energy levels.

So again…I ask…what is not scientific about it?

March 1, 2011 at 10:34 am
(10) Hopeing for an A says:

im doing that for my science expo i hope it works the way i want it too. Sencery hoping for an A…

April 22, 2010 at 6:03 pm
(11) Kayla says:

So if I go outside in the dark will I see the glow?

May 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm
(12) Jasmine says:

I Didn’t Know What Borax Was. Lol. Thanks I’m Making Some for My Health Project. Hope It Works!

May 4, 2010 at 8:24 pm
(13) claudia says:

what is borax? and where i might find it?

May 7, 2010 at 12:19 am
(14) Eric says:

You can find borax in a box by the starch at Wal-Mart, next to OxyClean and Shout stain sticks. It’s used as a laundry booster.

March 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm
(15) Please Reply says:

Do you know if I can use oxyclean instead of borax and will still work for this?

May 17, 2010 at 1:20 pm
(16) REILLY AND TARA says:


August 13, 2010 at 10:46 am
(17) ashly allen says:

I hope it works, if it does not work I will sooooooooooooooo mad that I’ll cuss out my teacher if she gives a bad grade. Plus, I’m doing it in front of the class. And how long does it last ?????????? Yea…….you DID NOT mention that. Why didn’t you ??????

October 28, 2010 at 7:28 pm
(18) Brittany says:

Hey how long do we put it over the light 4?!?!?! PLEASE i need the answer(:

January 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm
(19) school kid says:

hey so cool going to try it for my science fair experment

April 8, 2011 at 5:33 pm
(20) Isa says:

Thanks for instructions

May 31, 2011 at 5:43 pm
(21) Elena says:

Hi im doing a english project like a How to thing……. I was wondering if I can use this for MY project to. Is that okay?? Plz reply asap!!

September 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm
(22) Ashlee says:

How many students is this recipe good for?

October 20, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(23) Melanie Williams says:

When we make a full batch (1 cup of glue), it seems to make 10 good sized handfuls. So, I would say 10 students per batch.

October 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm
(24) KJ says:

Do you know how long this will last in an airtight container? Will it dry out? Thank you.

February 22, 2012 at 5:39 pm
(25) meek9 says:

I think it works and I’am only 10

April 12, 2012 at 11:50 am
(26) gnlagnr says:

this ish better work

May 14, 2012 at 9:02 am
(27) diamond says:

omg i really hope this stuff works!!!!

May 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm
(28) 44022 says:

im useing this for my be the teacher lesson! i hope your estamit of ten is right.

May 21, 2012 at 4:59 pm
(29) Viri says:

Does This Really Work !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!????????????????????

September 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm
(30) josselyn says:

i m gonig to see if it worksszzzz

September 27, 2012 at 8:17 am
(31) Ashley S says:

Yes, it works because I’ve done this in my college Science for Teachers class. It’s a great experiment to do with your kids and as a student teacher, it’s going to be done on Friday with my kids. It’s a great thing for them to do during the Halloween season! Just follow the instructions

October 29, 2012 at 9:45 pm
(32) DASHIA says:


January 11, 2013 at 12:01 pm
(33) dedee says:

hope dis work!!!!!!!!??????

February 4, 2013 at 4:07 pm
(34) Linda Stewart says:

Make sure you use strontium aluminate based powder. It is currently the most safe material and also the brightest.

March 21, 2013 at 4:10 pm
(35) yalimar borges says:

cool is so cool there

April 17, 2013 at 2:29 pm
(36) christal says:

i love that slim

October 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm
(37) Gidget says:

So we opened real glow sticks listened to dub step and shot them every where and all over our selves. We wanted a better solution cause the smell of regular glow sticks and the glass is really bad but its so awesome. Will this slime work without a black light? And is it ok to put all over ur self?? And will u just glow in regular darkness? Thanks let me know

November 15, 2013 at 5:11 pm
(38) savanah says:

it did not work maybe try a different recipe!!!
this does not work!!

Don’t even bother!!

February 16, 2014 at 10:15 pm
(39) Sharby says:

YES IT DOES WORK! U have to figure out how much of each ingredient to use, and once u have done that its all good. My husband made orange glow slime and at first he didnt think it worked so he added some more glue and then ta-da, we had slime.

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