The Pintester Takes on Homemade Bouncy Balls

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

Image from

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.

bouncy ball ingredients

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.


To see more of Pintester’s tests (most of which are also CraftFails), check out her blog at

9 Responses to The Pintester Takes on Homemade Bouncy Balls

  1. Jessica says:

    I saw this tested somewhere else and they got the same (maybe even worse) results as you. So I think it’s safe to say the whole pin is a lie.

  2. C.K. says:


  3. Julie says:

    I think this Pin is so funny. How much it cost to make these bouncy balls, after the elusive search for Borax is complete? Why would anyone eve want to make them when they are so readily available? I can think of a hundred other uses for Borax and cornstarch….(not really) Can’t the real thing be had for about 2 to 3 quarters in a vending machine at the local Chinese buffet? I mean, that’s where I got mine. And some really badass temporary tattoos. Keep the CraftFails coming. This may be the best thing about Pinterest…your testing labs. :-)

  4. Becky says:

    Just a tip…. you can find Borax at Target. It’s in the clothing detergent section. I usually find it stuck on the bottom shelf at the end of an aisle. Certainly not a high visibility item!

  5. Amanda Wolf says:

    Sad to say, the original Pinterest pin is a hoax. I did some research on that and those balls are from the store, the kind you add water and it becomes larger. I forget the brand name. Believe me, I wanted to make this with my kids and I was glad to find out before my kids get really disappointed that it didn’t work.

  6. lbw1138 says:

    I just saw this on Pinterest, and I knew there was no way it actually worked. Glad someone else tried it.

  7. sarah says:

    The “balls” in the original pin are pretty obviously those water bead things, here is a link to some They sell them at walmart in the garden shop and in teacher stores. Sometimes even in the toy section at stores. They do bounce but they are not balls. Lol. It amazes me how often people pin outright lies. And for what purpose?

  8. Tamara says:

    Talked to my Mad Scientist father and he says that this recipe is for Silly Putty, which bounces when you throw it, just not when you drop it.

    He agrees that the image is totally bogus though.

  9. Aurelas says:

    I get Borax at Wal Mart all the time in the laundry section. They usually put it way up on the top shelf. But the Borax was what made me think something was funny about this to begin with. I am not a chemist either but I don’t remember there being anything in Borax that should contribute to making a homemade bouncy ball. Cornstarch makes sense but not Borax. Of course, it’s been about 12 years since high school chemistry class so don’t take my word for it!
    The good news is that you should still have a lot of Borax. It really is good for getting your laundry clean ;)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Popular Articles from the SheKnows Network: