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Make Silly Putty

Silly Putty Recipes


Iron filings turn regular Silly Putty into magnetic Silly Putty.

Iron filings turn regular Silly Putty into magnetic Silly Putty.

Anne Helmenstine

Silly Putty is a patented invention, so specifics are a trade secret. One way to make the polymer is by reacting dimethyldichlorosilane in diethyl ether with water. The ether solution of the silicone oil is washed with an aqueous sodium bicarbonate solution. The ether is evaporated off. Powdered boric oxide is added to the oil and heated to make the putty. These are chemicals the average person doesn't want to mess with, plus the initial reaction can be violent. There are safe and easy alternatives, though, that you can make with common household ingredients:

Silly Putty Recipe #1


  • solution of 55% Elmer's glue solution in water
  • solution of 16% sodium borate (Borax) in water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • Ziploc bags
Mix together 4 parts of the glue solution with one part of the borax solution. Add food coloring, if desired. Refrigerate the mixture in the sealed bag when not in use.

Silly Putty Recipe #2


  • 2 parts Elmers' white glue
  • 1 part liquid starch
Gradually mix the starch into the glue. More starch may be added if the mixture seems too sticky. Food coloring may be added, if desired. Cover and refrigerate the putty when not in use. This putty can be pulled, twisted, or cut with scissors.

Explore the interesting properties of Silly Putty.

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