How to Make Floam

Create This Moldable Slime at Home

Colorful polystyrene foam.creativity concepts ideas
Polystyrene beads are the main ingredient in this fun experiment.   HAKINMHAN/Getty Images

Floam is a slimy substance with polystyrene beads in it that kids can mold into shapes. You can sculpt with it or use it to coat other objects. You can store it to reuse it or allow it to dry if you want permanent creations. It's a lot of fun, but not always easy to locate. You might be able to buy it at some stores and online, but you can make a type of Floam yourself. As with slime, it's very safe, though anything containing food coloring can stain surfaces.

Don't eat Floam. Polystyrene beads simply aren't food.

How to Make Floam

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: This is a quick project: It takes only minutes

Supplies

  • 2 tsp. borax
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white glue (such as Elmer's)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Food coloring
  • A resealable plastic bag
  • 1 1/3 cups polystyrene beads

Steps

  1. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of borax completely in 1/2 cup (4 ounces) of water. Two teaspoons of borax will produce a stiff product. If you want more flexible Floam, try 1 teaspoon of borax instead.
  2. In a separate container, mix 1/4 cup (2 ounces) of white glue and 1/4 cup of water. Stir in food coloring.
  3. Pour the glue solution and the polystyrene beads into a plastic bag. Add the borax solution and knead it until it's well mixed. Use 1 tablespoon of the borax solution for a very fluid Floam, 3 tablespoons for average Floam, and the entire amount for stiff Floam.
  4. To keep your Floam, store it in a sealed bag in the refrigerator to discourage mold. Otherwise, you can allow it to dry into whatever shape you choose.

    Tips for Success

    1. How it works: The borax reacts to crosslink the polyvinyl acetate molecules in the glue. This forms a flexible polymer.
    2. If you use a 4-percent solution of polyvinyl alcohol instead of glue, you will get a more transparent product that will hold shapes better.
    3. You can find polystyrene beads at craft stores, usually as fillers for bean bags or dolls. You can grind plastic foam cups using a cheese grater if you like.
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      Your Citation
      Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Floam." ThoughtCo, Feb. 3, 2018, thoughtco.com/how-to-make-floam-605988. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2018, February 3). How to Make Floam. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-make-floam-605988 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Make Floam." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/how-to-make-floam-605988 (accessed April 19, 2018).