Recipes for Dough, Slime, Paper Mache and More

Growing Crystals Recipe
Growing crystals is a great way for kids to learn about science, and the repetitive nature of some solids. Plus, they look cool! You can make a salt crystal garden a variety of ways. Here’s a good starter recipe for kids.

Crystal Growing Recipe #1

4 Tbsp. liquid bluing
4 Tbsp. table salt (not iodized)
1 Tbsp. ammonia
4 Tbsp food coloring (water-based)
a brick

Carefully break up brick using hammer or mallet (adult job, unless you want to supervise older kids with protective goggles). Put chunks in bowl or on plate. Mix all ingredients except for food coloring and pour over the brick chunks. Add different colors of food coloring at various spots. It will take at least a day for the crystals to begin to grow. A popular variation is to grow the crystals on lumps of coal.

Mrs. Stewarts Crystal Garden Recipe

This company, which has manufactured liquid bluing since 1883, has some instructions, summarized here:

Place pieces of coal, porous brick, tile, cement or sponge in a bowl. Pour owner it 2 Tbsp. each of: water, table salt (any kind), bluing. Let sit overnight. Add two more Tbsp. of salt. Pour into the bottom of the bowl (not over the pieces) 2 Tbsp each of: salt, water, bluing. Add few drops of food coloring, ink or mercurochrome. If your garden isn’t growing well, try adding 2 Tbsp. ammonia.

Recipe for Slime
Whether you call it slime, goop or goo, one thing’s for sure: This stuff is fun. It seems to change from a solid to a liquid, and you can use your hands or kitchen tools to play with it. Here’s how to make slime.

1 16-ounce box cornstarch
2 1/2 cups water
food coloring

Use a plastic tub to mix and store the slime. Empty box of cornstarch and water into tub. Add food coloring if you’d like. That’s it!

Silly Putty Recipe
This is not truly Silly Putty, as that is a trademarked product made by Binney & Smith. However, you can approximate the experience in your own home with this recipe.

2 cups glue (not school glue; use something like standard Elmer’s white glue)
2 tsp borax
water (1/3 cup and 3/4 cup)
food coloring (optional)

Mix borax and 1/3 cup water in bowl, stirring until borax dissolves. In separate bowl, mix glue and 3/4 cup water. If you’d like to add food coloring, do so now. Stir and add borax-and-water from other bowl. Putty will begin to stick together. Store in plastic bag and keep until it smells funky (two to three weeks).

Paper Mache recipe

There are several different ways to make paper mache for projects in which you dip strips or bits of newspaper to create various crafts. Here are a few recipes:

1. Make a thin paste by adding water to dry wallpaper paste until it is the consistency of, as one craft publication describes it, “soft mashed potatoes.”

2. Instead of wallpaper paste, simply use flour.

3. Wet newspaper and squeeze out water. Tear up and put into bowl. Sprinkle with wallpaper paste and mix until covered and the paper sticks together.

Play Dough Recipes

Cooked Play Dough with Oil

2 cups water
3 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cup flower
1 cup salt
food coloring
alum (or cream of tartar)

Boil water in saucepan. Add oil and food coloring. Remove from heat. Add rest of ingredients. Once it’s cool enough, knead dough. Add more flour if you need to. Store in sealed, airtight bag or container.