Make Homemade Gak


STEAM Fair 2020 Activity

Thanks to Chesapeake Family Life

Using simple ingredients – borax, glue, and water – this easy Homemade Gak recipe is fascinating to watch as two liquids come together to form a solid, or is it still a liquid? Or something in between, because Gak will move.

What you need:

  • 4 ounces school glue
  • 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon Borax food coloring (optional)
  • Small container for mixing
  • Spoon for stirring Measuring cup

There is a tiny amount of borax in this recipe, don’t let small children (who may try to eat it) play with it.


How to make homemade Gak

  1. Mix water and glue

    Pour the glue into a small container with 1/2 cup of water

  2. Add color

    Add the food coloring…(optional)

  3. Stir in well.

  4. Add Borax to remain water

    Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of Borax with the remaining 1/4 cup of warm water. Very important: stir until the borax is completely dissolved.

  5. Combine the mixtures

    Pour the borax water into the glue mixture.

  6. Stir

    Stir the gak until it’s become more solid and is forming around the spoon. Watch and be amazed.

  7. Handle It

    Waiting to handle it until the food coloring is well mixed in.

Note: Make sure you 100% dissolve the borax in water before adding to the glue or the recipe will FAIL!

How does it work?

The mixture of Elmer’s Glue-All with Borax and water produces a putty-like material called a polymer. Polymers are made out of long strands of molecules. If the long molecules slide past each other easily, then the substance acts like a liquid because the molecules flow. If the molecules stick together at a few places along the strand, then the substance behaves like a rubbery solid called an elastomer. Borax is the compound that is responsible for hooking the glue’s molecules together to form the putty-like material.


Gak will bounce, it will slowly spread. Observe the other properties Gak. Gak does not have to be refrigerated and will keep for about a month.