Homemade Bouncy Balls

2 Posted by - August 5, 2013 - DIY & Crafts, Videos

This pin test was originally posted on CraftFail.

There are two types of people in the world. (Yes, to begin this post, I am going to make a broad, sweeping generalization. Deal.) There are those who get chemistry, and those who don’t. I myself am in the “don’t” category. I consider myself a decently smart person, but chemistry and I have just never gotten along. State changes at the molecular level might as well be magic as far as I’m concerned.

And yet. I thought it would be a good idea to try to make my own polymer bouncy balls using chemistry principles. Hah.

Image from About.com

Image from About.com

Now, really, the instructions are simple enough. You don’t need to boil anything or use a candy thermometer or anything like that, so I figured it would be pretty safe. The hardest part was locating borax, which I eventually just gave in and ordered from Amazon.

The second hardest part was opening the damn box.


I dissolved my borax as instructed.

dissolved borax

And then I even added some industrial grade food coloring one of my readers mailed to me! I was pretty excited about that. (I used green, in case it should happen to spill on my 90’s green counters. Them’s smarts.)

green borax

Then I measured out a tablespoon of glue, which takes longer than you might think.

tablespoon of glue

Now here’s where things got a leetle interesting. I had to mix part of the green borax stuff with the glue, and then add cornstarch. And I sort of spilled the cornstarch, so it’s a possibility that I may have added too much. (Do you see now why chemistry and I didn’t get along well?)

mixing balls

I let it sit for a little bit and then stirred it as instructed.

ball in progress

And it did eventually form a ball. A sad, sick, pale green ball, but still, a ball. (I’m really glad that this is the only sad, sick, pale green ball in my life. Just sayin’.)

sad ball

Then I forgot about it for a minute while I was doing something else and let it sit on the counter and when I came back for it, it wasn’t really a ball anymore. Hrm.

not ball

So I did the best I could to re-form it and then I decided that the last test had to be whether it actually bounces or not. See for yourself.

(If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Sooo, yeah, I am going to give this project an F, but if we’re being honest, I got an F in chemistry in school, so the fault is probably my own, somehow.



  • Cara August 5, 2013 - 8:29 pm Reply

    That video needs the accompanying “Wah wah” sound effect. Bummer it actually didn’t work, I’m still just as amused today by bouncy balls as I was when I was six. Though now I seem to spend more time trying to pry them out of the jaws of golden retrievers that are determined to choke themselves.

    Bright side – at least now you have Borax that you can use to….um.. do laundry? Is that what it’s for? Scrubbing stains? Rust removal?


    • rfoust August 5, 2013 - 8:50 pm Reply

      Apparently borax is also useful for clearing up swimming pools.

    • Sheri August 6, 2013 - 3:52 pm Reply

      Very effective at killing fleas too. In your carpet. We bought the carpet powder from the pet store for $25 for our rental, and read the side… Ingredients: Borax. It went right back, and that $4 box of Borax worked like a charm.

    • LondonMarriott August 27, 2013 - 10:56 am Reply

      How about this sound effect? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

    • LondonMarriott August 27, 2013 - 10:57 am Reply

      I prefer this sound effect for all my fails: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ytCEuuW2_A

  • Kasie Strickland August 5, 2013 - 8:36 pm Reply

    Watching “Breaking Bad” is about as close as I come to chemistry. Valiant effort.

  • Jenn C August 5, 2013 - 8:42 pm Reply

    I find it odd that they use a picture of water beads, which are a totally different thing, on the original post.
    Also, borax makes excellent Ooobleck, and slime, and Gak.

  • Kelly August 5, 2013 - 9:08 pm Reply

    I use borax all the time for making my own laundry detergent. You can usually find it in the laundry aisle. If you have some left I highly recommend that detergent be your next pintest.

  • Wicked August 5, 2013 - 9:35 pm Reply

    I have also tried and failed at making rubber balls using the exact same recipe. Mine looked like yours and also didn’t bounce. I personally think that its a bad pin and not our error.

  • Jesse Seidel-Iaquilino August 5, 2013 - 9:41 pm Reply

    Yeah.. the picture is of water beads which is something totally different, and well, I just don’t see how borax and elmers glue makes a bouncy ball. I was fairly good at chemistry.

  • Adrianne Stone August 5, 2013 - 10:24 pm Reply

    ha ha awesome. bounced like a rock

  • captn_amburica August 5, 2013 - 11:12 pm Reply

    Hey at least it didn’t turn out to be a sickly colored blue ball. Lord knows we never hear the end of that shit, just sayin..

  • jupitersinclair August 6, 2013 - 12:49 am Reply

    I have had this pinned to my Things To Do This Summer With The Kids So I Don’t Lose My Fucking Mind board since June. I have put it off and now I know it’s because I was waiting for you to try it first. Thanks.

  • Kendra August 6, 2013 - 10:28 am Reply

    So funny.

  • Ashley Bee August 6, 2013 - 11:10 am Reply

    I feel like the picture of the balls are actually Zorbeez or something. A toy that starts as a little pellet and expands in water. Another Pinterest lie, hah.

  • Danni August 6, 2013 - 8:55 pm Reply

    I made these my junior year in Chem class. It worked for us.

  • lopinslo August 7, 2013 - 12:22 am Reply

    I love that the original instructions for this warn not to eat the ball or the ball ingredients.

  • Justine August 7, 2013 - 5:45 am Reply

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard over a five second video. Beautiful.

    I was quite good at chemistry and kind of want to give this a try.

  • liz August 7, 2013 - 2:21 pm Reply

    Thank you for making me literally laugh out loud, at work. Best video, ever.

  • Chris August 7, 2013 - 4:40 pm Reply

    We did EVERYTHING to try to get this to work– held it in the borax longer, added extra glue, extra corn starch, etc. We ended up with some cool stuff to play with for a little while, all of which were NOT bouncy balls…

  • Girl Who Cried Skinny August 7, 2013 - 5:15 pm Reply

    I think you have made a “rolly ball” 🙂

    And I wonder if, now that you have ordered Borax ON THE INTERNET, you are now on some terrorist watch list.

  • Stacy August 7, 2013 - 6:37 pm Reply

    We used to make something similar to this recipe when I was little, except added less cornstarch and just called is slime or homemade silly putty. It wasn’t made to bounce, it was just an awesome toy!

  • Peta-marie Good August 17, 2013 - 11:07 am Reply

    BAHAHAHA i love the awesome “bounce”

  • Sara August 26, 2013 - 11:09 am Reply

    Chemistry sucks. I passed with a C. My parents took me out to dinner to celebrate.

  • saltgrain September 4, 2013 - 3:57 pm Reply

    It took me three times to pass basic chemistry.. I think the fact that the first time was my freshman year of college.. and it was an 8am class.. oh and we were in Munich Germany.. so I tended to do more drinking than studying. Guess that’s one reason I got to leave early that second semester.. hmmmm. But this reminds me of a kit we had in Japan when I was 9 where you could make your own bouncy balls.. mine always ended up with a flat spot because I didn’t fill the mold up completely.

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