Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Crafting » Crafting: Kid Crafts » Making Homemade Gak

Making Homemade Gak

Did you play with Gak as a kid?
Have you ever made any?
It may be one of the funnest things to see transform into a semi-solid substance.  Just as much fun for me to make it as for my kids to help pour and watch as I mix……
……and then squish their little fingers into.
(and much more fun than just buying.)

I found this recipe here.
Then gathered all of my supplies.
(I bought the liquid starch at Wal-Mart over by the laundry detergent.)
Mixed the food coloring in with the glue…
Then started adding the liquid starch a little at a time.
Make sure to just add a bit of the starch add a time.  Soon you’ll have to knead the Gak to incorporate more of the starch.  Just keep at it……it’ll work.  (and I didn’t even use all of the starch it called for… just see how it goes.)
Then let those little chubby hands test it out.
And figure it all out.
And play and giggle their little hearts out.
Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. bowerart says:

    Nice post! This is a very nice blog that I will definitively come back to more times this year!
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  2. Tracy says:

    Word of caution: Borax is an ingredient in my bottle of liquid starch. Not sure what yours says, but it ought to be noted. :)

  3. Anonymous says:

    I love to make gak but I use borax

  4. Kelli's Kitchen says:

    Hi Ashley, a friend showed me some stolen content on a site – while I was trying to find mine – I saw your picture with your post and no link back to you on there. You may not mind if someone takes your content and pictures but in case you do – here’s the link:

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do u have to have starch ????? Answer me please as fast as can

  6. kate says:

    can we use any other glue and also can we use home made liguid starch

  7. kate says:

    can we use any other glue and can we also use home made starch

  8. Andrea Ruby Castillo says:

    I tried it but with laundry soap and it didn’t work where could I find starch Walmart???

  9. ashleigh says:

    I love gak but I haven’t got any or made any.
    My friend has a gak club but I’m not in it

  10. Maddison says:

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the greatest sites on the net.
    I’m going to recommend this website!

  11. Jess says:

    Hey Ashley, what do you have on your table to help with the mess??

  12. me says:

    i have to do this for a project a school

  13. alizah! says:

    how long will it stay gooey any way it was awesome

  14. alizah! says:

    that is so cool just made it and it was awesome but how long will it stay gooey!

  15. Suvmome says:

    We just made this….soooo fun and easy. We mixed the water and glue together, added the food color and lots of fine glitter and then the liquid starch (all at once, didn’t add a little at a time) and then stirred a few minutes. Then my 9 & 7 year olds mixed it by hand until the consistency was less sticky and we were able to handle without it sticking to our fingers. I purchased little plastic “dixie cups” and filled each cup about 3/4 full and then held upside down and squished the goo by pushing our fingers up toward the bottom of the cup. It makes fun “bodily function” noises. We called it a “farty party”. I know…GROSS…but we all laughed hysterically and had a great time. :)

    1. alizah! says:

      lol i made my like that as well

  16. cheri says:

    My kids like to play with it in the tub.
    I like how it turns out when clear glue is used.

  17. Teri says:

    Thanks for sharing a non-borax recipe. We just finished playing with it. So much fun for everyone. My 2 year old was giggling the entire time and the 4 year old just kept saying how cool and crazy “this stuff” is.

  18. MiracleMommy says:

    Using laundry starch as an alternative to borax is not safer. One of the primary ingredients of Stay-Flo Laundry Starch is, in fact, borax (sodium tetraborate). In addition, there are several other toxic ingredients. Don’t be fooled by the benign name of “starch.”

    You would actually be better off using straight borax rather than having the addition of a few other toxic ingredients. Actually, borax is not as toxic as some people thinks, as there are several blogs and websites around the internet that have confused boric acid (extremely toxic) with borax. If you do a bit of deeper Googling, you can find out more information. The dangers of poisoning from small amounts, risks of infertility and dangers to unborn children all refer to boric acid, not borax, but so many people have misunderstood that and put it out as the dangers of borax. You can also check the 20 Mule Team Borax MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheets). Borax, though related to boric acid, is quite different in chemical make up, and must be ingested in large quantities to do any harm, and even though it typically only causes “gastrointestinal distress.” However, it is still advisable to keep it out of reach of children and away from food.

    Either way, once you have made slime/flubber/gak/goop/putty or whatever name you want to call it, the borax is no longer in its original form. It combines with the polyvinyl alcohol in the glue and forms a polymer chain — it turns into a plastic. This is a chemical reaction. A chemical reaction means that the different items have combined and turned into something completely new and different. Now you no longer have glue or borax, you have now made your very own plastic.

    I taught Environmental Science/Environmental Education for ten years. and made slime tens of thousands of times to teach chemical reactions and the nature of plastics. Yes, that many, as I worked with about 6,000 students per year.

    The way I did it was to make up gallons of borax and water solution, along with glue and water solutions, and put them in bottles with pumps. I could then have the students put a pump full of each solution into a zip close plastic baggie, and then knead and squish the baggy until the slime formed, at which time they could remove it from the baggie to continue forming it and playing with it.

    Now, no longer borax or glue, they have a relatively safe product that doesn’t irritate skin with minimal contact with the borax.

    On a side note, FWIW, I battled infertility for twenty years, but become pregnant at a late age (unexpectedly) when I was teaching Enviro Ed and handling borax every day :)

  19. Melissa says:

    You can also use cornstarch instead of liquid starch. I would be concerned if a child got liquid starch in their eyes or mouth…just saying :)

  20. April says:

    I just am this today for my 5 year old and 3 year old and let me tell you there was MUCH giggling going on!

  21. Emma says:

    This looks lik so much fun! I can’t wait to try it with my family! Thanks a lot!

    1. Emma says:

      Is it messy?

  22. Edina says:

    What a good idea! I love it! :)

  23. Eleven Year Old says:

    Does this stain if it gets on a wall? It looks like it might.

  24. Anonymous says:

    you have a cute family

  25. kiki says:

    hey love it!!!!!!!!!!!! it is an awesome way of making gak

  26. Wendy says:

    what is a good way of getting out of cloths?? the gak not the food coloring?

    1. Katie says:

      Someone above said equal parts of vinegar and water… Hope that helps!

  27. harrysdesk says:

    Gak! Love it!!!!
    I have featured it on my blog.
    You can see it here….
    … if you like.
    Thanks for taking the time to put it together and for sharing it with blogland.
    Ally on harrysdesk

  28. Dolli says:

    I just made this with my 2 year old. She loves it! Thanks for sharing!

    1. karen says:

      gonna do this with letter g..thanks for showing the pictures :)

  29. A Magical Childhood says:

    I love that this doesn’t use Borax, since I’ve always avoided the gak recipes with that in it (it’s toxic, after all!). The color is fabulous too. :)

    1. Shannon says:

      Check out the website I found on whether Borax is safe or not. Borax is not boric acid (unlike what many sources say).

    2. A Magical Childhood says:

      Actually, she’s got some misinformation there.

      For instance, she says:
      “Borax is not boric acid.
      That’s where the majority of the online confusion appears. With no surprise; at least half of the studies I’ve found and citations I’ve read have listed their testing matter as “either sodium borate or boric acid.”
      The difference between the two is: Boric acid is produced when borax is reacted with another acid (like sulfuric or hydrochloric acid). The result is an acid structure (pH of 5.0), rather than alkaline, as borax is (9.3 pH). (I’m not going to get into the “is boric acid safe or not” question here, because that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms.)”

      This is technically true, but if you look at the MSDS for 20 Mule Team (borax) it says:

      “Nonetheless, the following effects have been reported for a component, sodium borate, and boric acid. Sodium borate upon entry into the body becomes boric acid.”

      REPEATED, from the company’s own MSDS:

      “Sodium borate upon entry into the body becomes boric acid.”

      So if it’s ingested, it becomes boric acid (we have acids in our body too!).

      In addition, even the MSDS she quotes acknowledges that borax and boric acid are the same:
      Chemical Name: Boric Acid Disodium Salt

      The MSDS says there is NO information on safety regarding:

      So them classifying it as level one is not very reassuring! There have also been some studies linking it to reproductive issues and fertility problems, along with birth defects (especially of the male reproductive organs).

      Note that the MSDS does acknowledge:

      Special Remarks on Chronic Effects on Humans: May cause adverse reproductive effects.
      Special Remarks on other Toxic Effects on Humans:
      Acute Potential Health Effects: Skin: Dust causes skin irritation. Poorly absorbed through intact skin. Eyes: Dust causes eye irritation. Inhalation: Causes respiratory tract irritation. Ingestion: Acute toxic effects of borates in general are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and delayed skin redness, rash, and dizziness. Chronic Potential Health Effects: Chronic exposures can produce eye irritation, coughing, and skin rash (the latter following ingestion).

      She points out that borax is “only” classified as level 1 for health problems, but I think she may misunderstand the rating system. Level 4 can kill you immediately. Level 3 can cause permanent disability if you interact with it. Level 2 substances can cause lingering injuries or “temporary incapacity.” Level 1 can cause “significant irritation.” Yes, that’s better than death, but do you want to give a small child something to play with that contains a natural pesticide that can cause “significant irritation”? Safe materials are level 0.

      The company itself acknowledges that borax is hazardous:
      “Based on our hazard evaluation, the following chemical substance(s) in this product have been identified as hazardous.
      Sodium Tetraborate Decahydrate”

      I wrote about borax on my website years ago ( and I continue to get angry letters from people who are upset that I advise against putting borax in children’s craft recipes. People get really worked up in these letters, and it confounds me.

      I don’t understand why people are so intent on proving that it’s safe to use borax around children. It does absolutely no harm to avoid it, especially in craft recipes. :)

    3. Julie says:

      The starch in this recipe contain sodium tetraboride, which is Borax.

  30. Delaynie says:

    i don’t have a walmart in my town.

    1. Dolli says:

      I actually found the Sta-Flo at my local Kroger.

  31. ARTE EN TUS MANOS says:

    Una idea genial, yo lo hice con lavavajillas en vez de almidon, y borax, pero no me salio muy bien.
    Un saludo y os sigo desde ahora

  32. Pam says:

    Can you store GAK? If so for how long?

  33. Anna says:

    Let the kids draw on it with markers, really cool!

  34. Kate Mangan says:

    As I posted on stumble, this is actually ooblic. Gak is different and can also be made easily with different household things (borax, water, and elmer's glue). tells you how. ooblic is more liquid, turning solid in motion while gak is more solid and a bit bouncy.

  35. Karie says:

    I too had crazy kids that got this stuff stuck on their clothes. Mix equal parts of vinegar and water and it basically dissolves the stuff!! My heart breaks for the little girl that had to get her hair cut!!!

  36. Rochelle Barlow says:

    Thanks Ashley!

  37. Ashley says:

    Rochelle, I have had mine for over a month stored in a ziploc bag and it got a little stickier over time. But I just added more liquid starch to it and let the kids play with it again. And then it was fine. hope that helps!

  38. Rochelle Barlow says:

    Do you know how long this stuff will keep and what best to store it in?

  39. Kimbo West @ a girl and a glue gun says:

    Just wanted to let you know i showcased this idea and also your interchangeable flip flops on my summer to do list post at

    Thanks so much for all the great ideas! Don't tell anyone but your my favorite!

  40. Katie says:

    I'm a preschool teacher and we've made this a couple times, but please be careful. It can get stuck on clothing and we had a little girl who got it stuck in her hair and the only way to get it out was to give her an impromptu and very uneven haircut. Just make sure you use with supervision if you have little ones.

  41. Joyce says:

    I need to make this with my grandchildren! Thanks for the demo!

  42. Rebecca says:

    I'm so excited for this! I featured you :)

  43. sneezerville says:

    my son made some of that at school earlier this year. great stuff. he said you have to be a really good squisher for it to come out right!

  44. Heather@ My Frugal Family says:

    OMG, it reminds of what happens to a giant laffy taffy bar when it sits in the sunny car for a few hours. Goo!

    Please feel free to link it up tomorrow to Talented Tuesday with My Frugal Family!! And don't forget to enter the giveaways I have posted at the top of my blog!

  45. Donna says:

    I have never even heard of this, but I think its what in Australia we call 'sludge'. Fantastic!

  46. a little bit of everything says:

    I wanted to let you know that I have chosen you as one of my top ten blogs via The Trendy Treehouse!

    Saving this recipe for future use!

  47. Jaimie says:

    I think my kids would love this. I'll have to try it.

  48. Kathryn says:

    My son made something this at Science Central when he was young and it was around Dr. Seuss's birthday and they called it Oooblek.

    If you have kids and have never tried it I highly recommend and I love the pictured step by step tutorial that will make it easy for younger kids to understand – they get so much more excited when they "make it all by themselves" then have to have Mom or teacher intrepret the instructions for them.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us!

  49. angleseyfamily says:

    My daughter just made this at preschool and we made it at home too! It was so fun. Borax does work really well. That's what we use. Fun!

  50. Suze says:

    That's so cool! I loved Gak!

  51. stacey says:

    I wasn't going to get the stuff for this tonight but I was looking for some other stuff on the cleaning/detergents aisle and spotted the liquid starch! We made oobleck today so I'll save the Gak project for a day next week where we need something fun. Thanks for the info! :)

  52. Amy says:

    Thanks for sharing! Definitely one to save for a rainy day when you can't take the whining anymore! Thanks for sharing!

  53. Ashley says:

    Yes, it can stain because it has food dye in it. And the gak stuff can get stuck in fabric if smooshed into it. But it doesn't come off on their hands. I only let the kids play with it at the table….and stay around while they're playing with it. But it sure is a lot of fun….even for me to sit and play with. It's just a gooky, smooth, rubbery, ball of fun.

    1. Ginny says:

      use vinegar to remove it from clothes and carpet

    2. Anonymous says:

      Thank you for that tip!!!! :)

  54. Beckstrom7 says:

    I have made this but using Borax. I love it because it does not make a mess like playdogh does. Its easy to clean up (just dont get it in your carpet). my kids like to put a straw in it fold it over wait for a few seconds for it to seal itself then blow huge bubbles.

  55. Casey says:

    that looks so fun! we're definitely doing this if it's still rainy tomorrow!

  56. Sarah says:

    I had to smile when I saw the Sta-Flo starch…since I work for the company that makes it.

    I love this recipe and am always impressed with the polymer interaction between the glue & starch!

  57. Erin says:

    My two (at 11 and 14) would still love this stuff. Thanks for the recipe…

  58. Chels says:

    Ashley! What is your table top in the last pic. I love it! And GAK! HOW FUN! Might have to try this! Are you crazy about them not getttin it on the carpet or fabrics… my mom distinctly remembers us messing stuff up with our fun GAK!

  59. Lolly says:

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. I always made "GOOP" using powdered starch, but I cannot find powdered starch anymore. I have taught Kindergarten Sunday School for over 20 years & I always make GOOP at the beginning of the new year. I was so sad that I wouldn't have it anymore. I hope this will turn out similar – I can't wait to try it. We also "paint" with liquid starch using 1 inch squares of tissue paper.

    1. Chenelle says:

      I make goop for the special needs children I work with all the time, I use water and cornstarch. It is a little different in consistency but the same principal. It is hard to the touch but then gets gooey and runny when you try to pick it up. You can also use food coloring to make it fun colors. Always a hit with the kids!

  60. Deanna says:

    My boys are gonna LOVE this!!! THANKS YOU!!! :)

  61. Kingston girl says:

    Thanks so much! What fun your blog is! Just love it and hope that you will love mine just as much as I love yours! Also I left you an award on my blog! :)

  62. Sabrina says:

    I'm going to make this with my 3 year old. It looks like so much fun!!!
    Does the food coloring stain anything once it's been mixed in?

  63. Lora says:

    Is it really messy? If i made it at home would nursery kids be able to play with it without wrecking their church clothes? Don't want any mad mamas :)

  64. Smith Family says:

    I like this because it is less toxic than the recipe with the borax.

  65. PDCScarbroughpage says:

    This is genius!

  66. 1 Funky Woman says:

    Oh how fun! I need to do this! My kids would love it!

  67. brandy says:

    I've never used starch to make this. We always use Borax. We'll have to make this again sometime trying your method!

    1. Anonymous says:

      We use borax to

  68. Sew Fun! says:

    so fun! i have this in my summer fun it!

  69. * a i s y a h * says:

    very vibrant color! absolutely love it! i'll try it out soon!

    thx 4 sharing.. :)

  70. Ashley says:

    Rebekah, I bought the starch at Wal-Mart in the laundry detergent aisle. It was next to the static cling and scotch guard type stuff, way down on the bottom shelf.

    Good luck!

  71. Rebekah says:

    That looks like a great project for my kids, but what is liquid starch and where do you find it?

    1. Anonymous says:

      Find at skots

    2. Anonymous says:

      Where the heck is that?!?!

    3. lena says:

      You can make your own liquid starch with 2 cups of cold water and 1tbs of cornstarch. Mix it together and there you go, liquid cornstarch.

    4. Anonymous says:

      its your moms gross box

  72. Lucy says:

    soo cute. i have to file this one away for those rainy summer days.

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