Do you have a young and curious scientist at home always asking for impossible-to-make recipes? Oobleck is a classic science experiment that is not only easy to make but also lots of fun. It is also a great way to teach kids about the properties of liquids and solids.
How to make Oobleck with baking soda? You will need to mix ½ cup of water with 4 tablespoons of baking powder (or 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar) and 4 tablespoons of baking soda.
There is more than one way to make Oobleck with ingredients that you have around the house. If you’d like to know more about Oobleck and more ways to make it at home, continue reading!
What Is Oobleck?
An Oobleck is quite fascinating. It appears to be solid while you are playing with it, but as soon as it’s left alone, it will turn into a liquid.
This is why Oobleck is often referred to as a non-Newtonian liquid. A Newtonian liquid is one that has stable liquidity no matter how it’s handled (like water, for example). In contrast, a non-Newtonian liquid can seem like a liquid or a solid matter, depending on how it’s handled.
The name Oobleck actually came from Dr. Seuss’s “Bartholomew and the Oobleck.” In this book, Oobleck, instead of rain, falls from the sky. This sticky substance almost ruins the city by clogging everything!
If you’d like a fun science experiment with your kids, you can introduce them to Oobleck using this book first and then make your own Oobleck at home using ingredients in your cupboard. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can make Oobleck at home.
How To Make Oobleck With Cornstarch
The simplest way to make Oobleck at home is by using cornstarch and water.
You will need to use two parts of cornstarch and one part of water and use a spatula to mix the two ingredients together. Don’t apply too much pressure as you mix because Oobleck can harden when pressure is applied.
After mixing, leave the Oobleck to rest to see if it can easily return to its liquid state. If not, mix in a few more drops of water to add viscosity to the substance.
If you’d like to customize your Oobleck, there are a few fun ways to do so without changing the characteristics of the substance. For example, instead of using water, you can also use tea, juice, or coconut water to add a natural scent and color to it.
Cornstarch and water are both non-toxic (and even edible), making Oobleck edible as well. This makes it ideal for young children to play with, and you don’t have to worry about them accidentally consuming the substance.
If you’re adding glitter or essential oil to the Oobleck, it will no longer be edible, so keep that in mind if you want the substance to be completely safe for kids.
If you want to make it with your children, here’s a fun video tutorial for them to follow from SciShow Kids on YouTube!
How To Make Oobleck Using Cornstarch Substitutes
If you don’t have cornstarch at home, there are also a few substitutes that are usually recommended for baking. As long as the powder has a starchy quality, you can use it to make Oobleck instead of cornstarch.
A few recommended substitutes are tapioca powder, arrowroot powder, or potato starch. Since all of these powders are direct substitutes for cornstarch, you can use the same proportions – 2 parts of powder and 1 part of water – to make your Oobleck.
Mix the two ingredients using a spatula until they are well mixed. Then, leave it for a few seconds if it turns liquid. You can adjust the ratio by adding a little bit more powder or a little bit more water to make it as liquid as you’d like.
Similar to the above, you can also add food coloring, glitter, or essential oil to the Oobleck after mixing to customize it to your liking.
How To Make Oobleck With Cornflour
Corn flour can also be used to make Oobleck. Some people believe that corn flour and cornstarch are the same things, but that’s actually not true.
Corn flour is essentially ground, dried corn, but cornstarch is made just from the starchy part of the kernel, so cornstarch is a lot starchier than corn flour.
If you’d like to use corn flour to make your Oobleck, you will need to use hot water instead of room-temperature water. The water doesn’t have to be boiling, just hot enough to make the mixture less clumpy and easier to mix.
To make your Oobleck using corn flour, mix one part of corn flour with one part of hot water (you should use equal parts of water and corn flour).
It helps to add the water to the corn flour and mix gradually to avoid clumps. Use a spatula to mix the solution until the water and corn flour are well-combined.
Similar to above, you can add more hot water or corn flour to adjust the liquidity of the Oobleck to make sure that it’s the texture that you want.
How To Make Oobleck With Baby Powder
You can use baby powder to make Oobleck if the baby powder contains cornstarch. If you’d like to use baby powder to make your Oobleck, make sure to check the ingredients to see if it has cornstarch before using it as a substitute ingredient.
The main disadvantage of using baby powder to make Oobleck is that it is definitely more expensive than cornstarch. Depending on the type of baby powder that you use, the scent can also be quite overwhelming, so this method is not recommended if you have a sensitive nose.
However, if you don’t have other ingredients, baby powder can be quite an effective ingredient to make Oobleck.
You will need to mix two cups of baby powder with one cup of water. We recommend adding the water and mixing slowly because baby powder can get everywhere. Then, make sure to mix until the mixture is well combined, and you should have your Oobleck!
How to Make Oobleck with Baking Soda
You can also make Oobleck with baking soda, but this is a three-ingredient recipe. You will need the following:
- Baking powder (or you can substitute with Cream of Tartar)
- Baking soda
First, you will need to mix 4 tablespoons of baking powder with half a cup of water and mix well until the baking powder is completely dissolved, around a minute.
Then, add 4 tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture and continue stirring until you see the solution thicken. It will take about two minutes for you to see the result, so don’t be discouraged!
If you don’t have baking powder, you can add 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar to two cups of water and stir for about a minute. Then, add 5 tablespoons of baking soda to the mixture, and continue stirring until the mixture thickens.
Since this recipe doesn’t have any starch, it will take a bit more mixing to turn the liquid into a non-Newtonian liquid. You will see the result after just a few minutes, so be patient!
How To Store Oobleck
Since Oobleck has a lot of water content, it can also dry out very quickly.
It’s best to store your Oobleck in an airtight container to prevent the water from drying out. You can use a sealed jar, plastic container, or a Ziploc bag to store the Oobleck. Make sure to store it in a dry and cool area of your home to prevent the moisture from drying out.
If you find that your Oobleck has become dried out and the texture is crumbly, you can add a few drops of warm water to revive it. Make sure to mix well, and the Oobleck should return to its original state after it is rehydrated.
Disposing Of Your Oobleck
Although an Oobleck can be made of everyday cooking ingredients, it does require some special attention if you want to dispose of it.
That’s because Oobleck can definitely clog your sink and stick to everything. Even if your Oobleck has completely dried out, it can still become hydrated when it meets the water in your drain and clog the drain.
To safely dispose of your Oobleck, don’t wash it down the drain or into the garbage disposal. Instead, place it into a biodegradable bag, and throw it in your garbage.
If you already made the mistake of clogging your drain with Oobleck, you can unclog your drain by pouring some hot water in it to dislodge the Oobleck. However, the hot water can also damage your pipe, so this is not something we recommend doing more than once!
If you accidentally get the starchy liquid of your clothes, make sure to wash out the stain right away using warm water. Leaving the stain for too long can make it more permanent, and you won’t be able to wash it off your clothes.