Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Beware Notes Left By Other Teachers

Gak Dripping From a Small Crate
We made Gak yesterday in class. Besides being way fun, it was also a reminder that just because someone leaves a note it doesn't mean it's for you. Some nice person had taped a recipe for Gak inside our cabinet door. It had all the right ingredients, so I went ahead and used it. It became clear right away that not enough goo was being produced in the glue mixture.

Well, the ingredients were right and the proportion of Borax to hot water was right, but the total amount of the Borax solution wasn't correct in relation to the glue and water mixture. Luckily, this is an easy thing to diagnose and fix, even with a bunch of 2-year-old helpers. But it was a good reminder for me that if I haven't actually followed a particular set of instructions it may not be what I planned on.

The good news was that I was able to demonstrate (mostly for the adults in the room) that you can color the Borax solution with liquid watercolor and the color sticks with the goo and doesn't go into the glue mixture. This makes it easy to have several colors of Gak from one batch.

As you can see from the photo above, this was fairly liquidy Gak. It was loose enough that the little ones could see it move through the crate. Usually it's too slow for the younger ones to wait for it. They're more interested in using cookie cutters with it or drawing on it with markers.

So, for those of you without a Gak recipe, here it is again:

2 cups Elmer's glue
1 1/2 cups cool water
1 tbsp Borax
1 cup hot tap water

Mix the glue and cool water in a large bowl. Dissolve the Borax into the hot tap water. Add the dissolved Borax to the glue mixture 1/3 of a cup at a time. Stir with each addition, pulling out the gooey lumps as they form. Work in the excess liquid with your hands and then knead into an oozing mass. Store in a sealed container.

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