How To Make Oobleck Without Cornstarch: 3 Easy Options

Revealed: How To Make Oobleck Without Cornstarch! (It’s So Simple!)

What looks like a liquid but is a solid? Can you guess the answer to this riddle? If you’re struggling, we’ll tell you. It’s oobleck!

This mixture looks like a liquid when you make it, but gets firmer when you touch it. Bizarre, right?

In this guide, we’ll take a look at why and how to make oobleck without cornstarch. Here’s what you should know...

What is oobleck, and why should you make it? 

First things first, let’s deal with the burning question: What is oobleck? If you’ve never heard of the stuff before now, you’re in for a real treat. The name comes from a Dr Seuss book, first published in 1949, called “Bartholomew and the Oobleck”.

The story follows Bartholomew Cubbins’ adventure as a sticky green liquid called oobleck falls from the sky. As you might imagine, it’s a pretty whimsical tale and one loved by kids, but it doesn’t end there. The popularity of this book has led to many parents and teachers alike creating their oobleck. Not only is this a fun game to play with children, but it is also an important scientific experiment.

You can make oobleck using two parts cornstarch and one part room temperature water. Simple. When made correctly, modern-day oobleck is a mixture that is both a solid and a liquid. As wild as that sounds, it’s 100% true!

Once you have whipped up a batch of oobleck for yourself, you will see that it appears to be a liquid. However, when you make a fist and apply pressure to it, a strange thing happens. It becomes solid. The harder you push, the harder the liquid becomes. Making a batch of oobleck is a great way to get kids to take an interest in science.

If you're looking for alternative messy play ideas, or other ways to make slime, be sure to check out our handy guides. We've even found a way to make slime with a glue stick!

What makes oobleck a solid and a liquid?

So, what makes oobleck a solid and a liquid at the same time? Good question! The answer is that it is a non-Newtonian fluid that is ‘simultaneously elastic and viscous nature. So, in simple terms, it behaves like both a solid and a liquid. The name non-Newtonian means that the mixture does not follow Newton’s laws of physics and conflicts with them.

There are lots of types of non-Newtonian fluids out there, each with an odd characteristic. For example, some fluids are rod-climbing, which means that if you put a rod in them, they appear to cling and climb up it. In the case of oobleck, the odd characteristic is that it becomes more solid with pressure. Cool stuff.

Can you make oobleck without cornstarch?

Now that you understand what oobleck is, you might be itching to make some for yourself. If your cupboards are somewhat bare, finding the right ingredients could be tricky. So, the question is simple: Can you make oobleck without cornstarch? Yes! Yes, you can, but you need to be picky about the materials you use.

Many people ask how to make oobleck with flour. The simple answer is that you can’t. Regular wheat flour does not behave the way that cornstarch does. When you create a mixture using this ingredient, you will get a sticky paste instead of oobleck. Put, you’re going to end up with a real mess rather than a fun experiment for you and your kids. It’s a no-go. That said, there's plenty of other fun uses for flour to try.

Luckily, though, there are other ingredients you can use. If you can’t get your hands on cornstarch at short notice, you may be able to use other things in your home. Within this quick guide, we will take a look at how to make oobleck without cornstarch. Here are three oh-so-easy options that you should try for yourself. Give them a go!

Option 1: How to make oobleck with baking soda

Wondering how to make oobleck with baking soda? You’ve come to the right place. Not only can you clean with baking soda, but you can also use it to make oobleck, too. 

If you don’t have any cornstarch at home, you can substitute the ingredient instead. Keep in mind that this process is a little longer than a standard oobleck recipe. However, once you’ve got it down, you can make it with ease time and time again. Here’s how to do it.

Equipment

Materials

Directions

  1. Pour the semi-skimmed milk into a bowl.
  2. Add one teaspoon of white vinegar and mix well.
  3. You should start to see solid lumps forming in the mixture. Keep mixing as the liquid solidifies for a minute or so.
  4. Strain the mixture. Put a coffee filter over a glass and pour the liquid into it. You might need to squeeze it a little to get all the liquid out. You will be left with a gooey mixture.
  5. Put the mixture back into the bowl and add half a teaspoon of baking soda. Stir well until the mixture starts to resemble that of oobleck. Enjoy!

Option 2: How to make oobleck with tapioca powder

Next up, let’s take a moment to talk about how you can make oobleck with tapioca powder. The great thing about this diverse ingredient is that it behaves the same way as cornstarch. That means that any recipe, which calls for the latter, can be substituted with the former. So, in simple terms, you can use it interchangeably. That’s excellent news if you don’t have time to run out to get cornstarch but already have tapioca powder to hand. Here’s how you can whip up a batch of oobleck using just tapioca powder and water.

Equipment

  • Large bowl
  • Spoon

Materials

Directions

  1. Pour the tapioca powder into a large bowl.
  2. Ensure that the water is room temperature and then pour it into the bowl.
  3. Mix well. If the mixture appears too liquidy, you might want to add some extra tapioca powder. Keep stirring until you are happy with the concoction. Voilà!

Option 3: How to make oobleck with baby powder

Did you know that you can make oobleck with baby powder? It might sound odd, but you can whip up a concoction of the stuff using this household item. There’s just one small catch. You need to check the ingredients of the baby powder ahead of time. You should make sure that the product you use contains cornstarch. When you’re confident that it does, you can get cracking and start making your oobleck. Here’s what you should know.

Equipment

  • Large Bowl
  • Spoon

Materials

Directions

  1. Check the label of the baby powder and ensure it contains cornstarch. Pour the baby powder into a bowl.
  2. Add 75ml of room-temperature water and stir well. You will start to notice that the mixture gets more solid as you mix.
  3. Again, if it feels too thin or watery, you can add some extra baby powder to thicken it up. Pour in a little extra, stir well and then repeat for the best results!

TOP TIP: The texture of your baby powder oobleck will depend on the product you use. Some baby powders will have more cornstarch than others. For that reason, you may need to alter this recipe to get the right consistency.

Q&A

Is oobleck a solid or a liquid?

As we have covered, oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid. In the simplest of terms, that means that it is both a solid and a liquid at the same time. When you first make a batch, it looks like a gooey liquid. However, when you apply some pressure, it becomes solid.

Can I make oobleck with baking soda?

No! If you attempt to make oobleck with baking soda, you will find that the mixture fizzes - this is not the reaction you want, so avoid it at all costs.

Can I make oobleck with flour?

No! Trying to make oobleck with flour is a real mistake. When you make a concoction out of flour, it will become sticky and gooey. Of course, this is not the reaction you’re looking for. You should use cornstarch, tapioca powder or baby powder instead.

How do you make colourful oobleck?

That’s easy! You can make colourful oobleck by adding some food colouring to the mixture. When you’re making oobleck, put a few droplets of your chosen food colouring into the batch. Stir well. You might want to add more as you go to get a more vibrant result.

How do you make Dr Seuss’ oobleck?

Dr Seuss’ oobleck was bright green. So, if you want to make a concoction that resembles that, you should add some green food colouring into the mixture. Again, you will need to stir well to ensure that the colour is as even as possible. Simple!

Is oobleck edible?

No! When you make oobleck with baby powder, cornstarch, tapioca powder, or baking powder, you should avoid eating it. Cornstarch, tapioca powder, and baking powder should be cooked before you eat them. What’s more, baby powders could have a variety of harmful ingredients in them. Avoid consuming this slimy mixture. 

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Ready to get started? Let us know how you get on with this fun scientific experiment!

Author

Joanne A

Editor

Expert in finding beautiful solutions for small and rented spaces. Would happily spend the rest of my life shopping for homewares and watching Disney movies - I only wish I had Cinderella's army of mice to help me clean!

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