Random But Cool: How to Make Bouncy Balls from Common Household Items!

created at: 01/04/2012

I realize that this how-to strays a bit from our normal fare, but goshdarnit, it’s too cool not to share!  Maybe it’s the overgrown kid inside me or my love of science (have I told y’all I was in the science club in high school??  Geek to the max.), but the idea of making bouncy balls–from scratch–out of regular ol’ household items totally intrigues me.  If you’re equally intrigued, or just want to impress your five-year-old, check out what you’ll need below!   

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This easy science project comes to us from Anne Maire Helmenstine, who holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences (as well as a B.A. in physics and mathematics, with a minor in chemistry) … so I’m going to guess she knows what she’s talking about!  Bringing chemistry to the masses is part of what she does as a freelance writer as well, which is how we came to this awesome tutorial.  Before we begin, take a quick look around your house and gather up the following items:

  • borax (found in the laundry section of most grocery stores)
  • cornstarch
  • white glue (e.g., Elmer’s glue – makes an opaque ball) or blue or clear school glue (makes a translucent ball)
  • warm water
  • food coloring (optional)
  • measuring spoons
  • spoon or craft stick to stir the mixture
  • 2 small plastic containers for mixing
  • marking pen
  • watch with a second hand
  • metric ruler
  • zip-lock plastic baggie

When you’re ready to get down with science, head over to About.com for the full tutorial.  Happy bouncy ball-making!