Monday, October 22, 2012

GAK Recipe the right way! ;)

When they were young our kids always had fun playing with crazy concoctions that we made in the kitchen and GAK was no exception, so this summer I gathered the ingredients (water, borax, Elmer’s glue, & food coloring) gave it to one of my dd and one of my ddils and had them make it for our grandchildren who were visiting at the time. (I’m no fool! ;-) – actually it was to keep them happy and busy while I started dinner.) It turned out great and they loved it.

Here is what you need:

4 ounces of Elmer’s Glue
Food coloring
1 cup of warm water
1 teaspoon borax
½ cup warm water

Thoroughly mix together the first three ingredients (glue, food coloring, & 1 cup warm water).
In a separate bowl dissolve the borax in the ½ cup of warm water.

Then combine the two mixtures and stir until it begins to thicken and finish mixing with your hands.


polyvinyl acetate based glue for GAK
Although you will find most recipes call for Elmer’s glue the ingredient that makes this work is polyvinyl acetate (PVA) so any glue that is PVA-based will work. [According to this web page: all school glue is PVA-based.] I actually used Ross All-purpose White Glue, because a 5-ounce bottle was a budget friendly $.59 at a back-to-school sale, and I read online that it was PVA-based.

The best food coloring for making GAK

McCormick Neon Food Coloring really gives great color to your GAK. That is what we used this summer and the color is a lot more vibrant. It isn’t cheap, but you don’t need much. Don’t use the neon gel colors. You will need a whole tube to get a deep color. These pictures show regular food coloring, because I couldn’t find where I put my neon colors… :-P I will keep hunting for it and try to post some pictures so you can see the difference.

glue, water, and food coloring mixture for GAK

I also found that if you do not completely dissolve the glue into the water the GAK doesn't turn out as well.  When I made the first batch for this post I just mixed the glue into the water with a spoon and stirred in the food coloring—bad idea. 

what happens when you don't mix the glue mixture properly before adding the borax mixture.

You can see from the picture the solution is not homogenous, and when I mixed it with the borax solution I got a rather small, rubbery clump of GAK with about a cup of slimy liquid left behind.

homogenous mixture of glue, water, and food coloring

The next time I decided to whisk the glue solution thoroughly.  You can see that there are no white streaks of glue that didn’t mix in.

Here are some videos of combining the solutions. Please pardon the quality. I was using my iPhone, I only have two hands, and I needed one to hold my phone, :-D -- although I did get a helping hand on my last video—thanks, Jared. 

The first video shows what happened when I didn't combine the glue mixture well enough.  The second and third show how much better it worked with the thoroughly mixed solution.  I said everything wrong in the last two videos, :-P but I am sure that you will get the idea. ;-)

I cannot get the final video to load so here is the link GAK video 3

Live Joyfully, with gratitude ~