Putty can be a great craft that’s not only fun to make, but fun to play with afterward. It’s a great stress reliever or fidget toy for when you want something to do with your hands.
Unfortunately, after putty has been played with for a while, it can start to become sticky. This can happen due to the dirt, oils, and residue from your hands that absorb into the putty.
So, how to make putty less sticky? Baking soda can add a bit of powder to soak up some of the sticky moisture. You can also try sandwiching the putty between two sandwich bags full of ice. The cold temperature can help reduce stickiness. Alternatively, you can try making a new batch of non-stick putty at home.
Before throwing away your sticky putty, keep reading to figure out how to rescue that sticky putty and make it good as new.
How To Fix Sticky Putty
Although neither of the methods below are guaranteed to work with your specific putty, there are a couple tricks you can try to make your putty less sticky.
The first method to try is to add a little baking soda to your sticky putty. Don’t go overboard with it. A little can go a long way, and you can always add more as you mix it in and feel a need to.
Start with just a small amount of baking soda and sprinkle it into your putty, then begin incorporating it into your putty. Pull and fold your putty to mix it in well.
As you mix, the putty should begin to feel less sticky.
If the baking soda is fully incorporated into your putty but it still feels too sticky, try adding just a little more baking soda and repeating the process.
You can do this as many times as you’d like to make your putty less sticky.
Another method that works great to make putty less sticky is to use ice following the steps below:
- Fill two sandwich bags with ice, leaving a little bit of space so the ice can move around in the bags.
- Place your sticky putty in between the two bags of ice. The putty should not be inside one of the bags but layered in between the two bags on the outside.
- Press the bags together and keep the putty pressed in between the bags of ice. Allow it to stay in between the bags for 1-3 minutes.
- After enough time has passed, remove the putty from in between the bags and try to play with it. At this point, it should no longer be sticky. If it’s still sticky, put it back in between the ice bags and let it cool down more.
The cold temperature from the ice helps the putty to reduce stickiness. This works on most types of putty, though it’s not guaranteed to work for every kind.
You can see this method at work in the video below from Sara Kim.
How To Make Non-Sticky Putty
If your putty is too far gone to save, you can always try making your own non-stick putty at home!
To start, gather the following supplies:
- Elmer’s School Glue
- Stir Stick
- Optional: food coloring
There are other recipes that use other ingredients, such as soap and corn starch. These recipes can work too, but we found that the mixture of Elmer’s School Glue with the Borax solution works best to create smooth, bouncy putty.
Once you have all your supplies, you’re ready to get started! Follow the steps below to make your own non-stick putty:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of Borax with 4 cups of water. Stir it together to dissolve most of the Borax. Not all of the Borax will dissolve, and that’s okay. Just stir until most of it has dissolved.
- Once the Borax solution is ready, grab your bottle of Elmer’s glue. Stir the Borax solution so that the solution is moving, then squirt your glue into the Borax solution. Squirt enough glue to make the amount of putty you want.
- Using the stir stick, swirl your glue around in the Borax solution. Give it enough time for the glue to react to the solution, then lift it out.
- Squeeze all excess Borax solution out of the putty, kneading it and stretching it in your hands. Once it’s no longer dripping and there’s no extra moisture, your putty is ready!
This will create a great ball of putty that you can stretch, knead, and roll up into a ball to bounce! You can also choose to add food coloring to the glue to make your putty a fun color.
If you want to make your putty a certain color, be sure to mix in a few drops of food coloring with your glue before you add it into the Borax solution.
Watch the video below from WhatsUpMoms to see someone make putty with this recipe and show you how it can be used once it’s finished.
How Do You Soften Putty?
Over time, putty can begin to harden. This can happen from dirt, oils, or other debris that gets mixed into the putty, or it can happen from prolonged exposure to air.
Either way, once the putty has started to harden, it won’t stretch our bounce as well. To get your putty soft again, you can try two methods: adding lotion and adding soap.
Since lotion is a soft, moisturizing substance, it makes sense that it might be great to use to soften putty.
Before using lotion to soften your putty, read the directions and make sure that your putty can be exposed to water. Some putty brands will become sticky when exposed to water, and lotion won’t fix that problem.
If your putty is okay to get wet, then the first step is to add a little water to your putty. Then add a small amount of lotion and knead it into your putty.
As you work the lotion and water into the putty, you should notice it softening in your hands. The lotion will add a little needed moisture back into the putty.
Once the lotion is fully incorporated, you should have putty that has softened again. If it’s still firm, try the soap method below.
The great thing about using lotion to soften putty is that you can choose a nice scent to give your putty a bonus fragrance.
The next method to try is adding a little bit of soap.
For this method, you can use either Dawn dish soap or a regular hand soap. Make sure to use soap that has a thicker, gel-like consistency and not a fully liquid soap such as foaming hand soap.
Just as with the lotion, this is an opportunity to add a nice fragrance to your soap, so choose the type of soap you use with the scent in mind.
Once you’ve chosen your soap, add a small amount into your putty. A little goes a long way, so make sure to add just a small squirt. It should look like a circle no bigger than a blueberry once it’s squeezed onto the putty.
Knead in the soap to incorporate it with the putty. Stretch, pull, fold, and play with the putty to incorporate the soap fully.
As you play with it, just like with the lotion method above, the putty should start to feel softer in your hands. If you notice it’s still too hard, try adding just a small dab more of your soap to the putty.
Putty Vs Slime
Sometimes people confuse putty with slime or think of it as the same thing, when in reality, putty and slime are two totally different substances.
Putty has a much thicker consistency than slime. It can be rolled up into a ball and bounced on the ground. It can also be pressed against a newspaper then peeled off, picking up some of the ink and showing a reflection of the newsprint.
Putty is a popular fidget toy for people who need to work with their hands a lot to stay focused. It holds its shape in your hand and can be kneaded and worked between your fingers without oozing out.
Slime, on the other hand, has a much runnier consistency. It’s designed to ooze from your hand and spill through your fingers. It can also feel stickier in the hands compared to putty.
Slime often has additives incorporated in it like glitter, sequins, or small beads or figurines to add another sensory element.
Since slime is so runny, it can’t be easily played with at a desk while working on schoolwork or papers for your job. It’s too messy and requires more attention.
While it can be kneaded, stretched, and folded, it won’t hold its shape like putty will.
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