Phunny Putty - Oneonta World of Learning

Enriching Life

Through Play

Wednesday, 05 June 2013 01:08

Phunny Putty

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phunny putty

Many many thanks to all of the volunteers and attendees of this past weekend's Ice Cream Social!  What an amazing event!! 
An extra-special thanks to Mary Peterson, a member of OWL's education committee. She is such a knowledgeable and generous person- truly an asset to the OWL community.  Below, Mary has shared her special recipe for "Phunny Putty"- an intriguing ooze & sensory delight.

Thanks, Mary!!!



20-Mule Team Borax®

Water (some hot, some cold)

Dosage cup or measuring spoon

Elmer's Glue-All® white glue

Plastic cup

Food Coloring

Craft Stick

Small zipper-type bag

Glow-in-the-dark pigment (optional)



1.) Pour 12 oz. of hot water into a container.  A soda bottle works well.  Add 2 tablespoons of Borax, and cover tightly.  Shake the bottle. Most of the Borax should dissolve, but some should settle to the bottom.  If not, add a bit more Borax until you cannot dissolve any more.  This is called a saturated solution, which means that the water has absorbed as much Borax as it can.

2.) Pour 25 mL (5 teaspoons) of glue into the plastic cup.  Try to get all the glue into the cup for accurate measurement. (you can measure 25 mL of water into a cup, mark the line at the water level, then pour the water out and measure glue to that line.)

3.)  Pour 20 mL (4 teaspoons) of water into the glue and mix it up with the craft stick.  The ratio between the glue and water is important for the phunny putty to be the right consistency.  In some settings, it is a good idea to premix a large quantity of glue and water in the right proportions, then use 45 mL of that mixture and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

4.) Add 3 drops of food coloring to the glue and water mixture.  Mix well with the craft stick.  You may add 1/8 tsp. of glow-in-the-dark pigment now.  The colors will be pastel.  Adding enough color to make red, for instance, instead of pink, will cause the putty to ooze color and be very messy.

5.) Add 15 mL (3 teaspoons) of the Borax solution to the glue and water mixture.  Mix well with the craft stick and watch what happens! If your cup has more gluey-looking liquid, add a little more Borax solution.  Stir until you have no large globs of glue.  You may need to scrape the phunny putty off the stick and stir some more.

6.)  When your Phunny Putty forms a fairly solid blob, pull it off the stick and squish it between your hands.  It becomes less sloppy as you play with it.  Set the putty on the table (not a paper towel), wipe your hands on a paper towel, then mop up the sloppy stuff on the table.  Push the towel into your cup, and put in the trash.

7.)  If you keep your Phunny Putty in a plastic bag between using it, it should stay nice for a long time!

CAUTION:  Phunny Putty will stick to paper and fabric! The kitchen table is a good place to play with your phunny putty.

Chemistry Explanation: Elmer's Glue contains polyvinyl alcohol, a polymer whose molecules are cross-linked to form an extended network.  The cross-linking agent is the tetraborate ion.  This ion is formed when the Borax, sodium tetraborate, is dissolved in water forming a mixture of boric acid and tetraborate ions. The result is a gel that is similar to Silly Putty®.

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