How to Make Your Own Bouncy Balls at Home
What better science experiment is there than to make something the kids already love?
These homemade bouncy balls are so easy to make and you only need a few supplies.
Granted, they don’t bounce like the super bouncy balls that you buy at the store. But they’re still really fun to play with and make!
We were recently making this easy slime recipe at home. While we had the borax and glue out, I figured why not try to make some bouncy balls too!
Making these bouncy balls is very similar to the process of making slime. You’ll create a very diluted borax mixture, and them mix it with glue to cause a reaction.
The only additional ingredient you will need is corn starch.
DIY Bouncy Ball Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons of Elmers Glue
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- 1 tablespoon of borax*
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Food coloring
*You can find borax in the laundry detergent aisle of most grocery stores.
The two tablespoons of glue will make a perfect sized bouncy ball. You won’t use all of the water and borax for a single bouncy ball. You’ll have some of this mixture left over so you can keep making additional bouncy balls with new colors!
You’ll also want to get a plastic bag to store your bouncy ball. We left ours out, and they did dry out by the next morning.
Steps to Make Your Own Bouncy Ball
- Create the borax mixture by mixing the tablespoon of borax with a 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir until the borax is completely dissolved.
- Create the glue mixture by mixing 1 tablespoon of cornstarch into the 2 tablespoons of glue.
- Add food coloring of your choice to the glue mixture! You can also add the color to the borax mixture. We found that you get a more vibrant color if you add to the glue. Coloring the borax mixture gave us a more swirly color effect when it was mixed with the glue.
- Combine 1 tsp of the borax mixture with the glue.
- Immediately begin stirring with a coffee stirrer or popsicle stick. You’ll see the chemical reaction begin immediately as the glue turns into a more rubbery texture!
- Use your hands to form the mixture into a ball. If the ball is still too slimy from glue, dip it into the borax mixture to make the ball firmer.
The Science Behind the Bouncy Balls
When the glue and borax mix together a chemical reaction occurs. The reaction causes polymers to form. Polymers are a long chains of repeating molecules.
We can find examples of polymers all around us! They occur both naturally, like in rubber, as well as artificially, like in plastics.
The cornstarch is added to help bind all of these molecules together. When we make slime, it forms a non-Newtonian liquid. But by adding the cornstarch the bouncy ball is able to hold its shape together.