REMEMBER THAT JELLY stuff that those egg alien things used to ‘live in’ and ‘feed off’ when you were a kid?
To refresh your memory, this is what I’m talking about.
Industrial strength flubber and an alien that was seemingly alive and was capable of reproduction?! The dream.
For some people, the texture of the slime is unbearable. It sticks to everything, gathers hairs into its sticky clutches and clings to your fingers long after you’ve thrown your alien up in the air in the hope that it will get pregnant. (No? Just me? Ok).
And then for others, playing with it – and more recently, making it – brings them immeasurable joy.
Slime has grown so much in popularity – and sophistication, if you will – that it’s spawned its own video genre online. A quick search on Instagram for #slime will yield just under 6 million results. Craft shops across America suffered glue shortages as people clambered to make the substance.
Here in Ireland, it’s just as popular – it even got its own dedicated slot at the end of this year’s Late Late Toy Show.
Making slime (or ‘crafting’ if you’re from the US of A) isn’t a new concept, but it’s enjoying a resurgence globally. As the YouTube community grew with audiences started younger and genres became more niche, do-it-yourself videos moved beyond beauty hacks and into elasticated world of slime-making.
Slime can be made in various ways using different methods or ‘recipes’, the most basic of which consists of borax (Sodium tetraborate) and glue. Optional additions include shaving foam, glitter, food colouring, sand and tonic water, depending on what texture you fancy.
Another reason for the surge is that slime videos have been identified as a common trigger of ASMR, or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response. ASMR, a term coined in 2010 on a Facebook group, refers to a sensation defined as “a combination of positive feelings, relaxation and a distinct, static-like tingling sensation on the skin.” Although not all people experience tingling, many find the videos – whether it’s popping slime or squishy slime – to be simply relaxing.
These slimeballs are a minority in an ever-expanding group of creators – most people just make slime for creative possibilities.
Others, in recognising the creative possibilities and the upswing in the trend, have capitalised on it massively – no one more so than Karina Garcia.
Karina started uploading videos to YouTube in 2015 – just as slime slowly seemed to be regaining relevance. (Google searches for slime have increased by 770% from 2015 to now).
Karina – known affectionately as the ‘Slime Queen’ – boasts over 6 million subscribers on the site, with videos varying from tutorials on how to make specific types of slime, to reviews of purchased slime and slime making kits.
In a profile from CNBC published earlier this month, Karina explained that her advertising revenue per slime video is in the six-figure bracket, with each video taking upwards of five hours to edit.
I recently bought a house (from slime money), and my mom laughs about it.”
As well as making absolute bank on her videos, the social media star has just released her own branded slime-making kit and book with Craft City – two much-requested items for Santa this year.
One person that has the slime-making kit on her Christmas list is Kayleigh Tankard, a 12-year-old from Co. Offaly. Kayleigh has 16,000 subscribers on YouTube – not bad for someone who’s just started secondary school.
While Kayleigh makes a variety of videos on her channel, she told the DailyEdge that she makes slime videos because of their popularity, rather than necessarily having a desire to play with the stuff.
“I didn’t think it would work at first,” she says of her first creation using cornflour.
I just kept watching other tutorials until I got better.”
Because people like it so much, I just keep on making it.”
Kayleigh, having already started vlogging and making challenge videos, later sourced the correct glue and contact lens solution used to make slime in the UK. Another one of her most viewed videos, with over 600k views, sees her reviewing different brands of glue for slime making.
On the popularity of her own videos, Kayleigh said it took her by surprise. As her time is now taken up with school, her weekends are now spent doing sit-down videos with the help of her mam Denise.
Denise herself has fully embraced the trend, but acknowledged that its popularity might be a case of history repeating itself.
You probably know yourself that kids come up with wanting to do new things all the time, like lava lamps and oobleck and homemade volcanoes. So when it started with the slime I was a bit like, here we go again!
I didn’t really go with it at first, but we tried making edible slime initially with melted Starbusts and icing sugar and melted marshmallows as these ingredients were easy to buy locally. It wasn’t too bad and it was fun.
She put its popularity down to its universal appeal.
I think slime has many different uses and can be used for many things as well as children playing with it. It can help with stress, it can help children and people with learning difficulties and sensory problems and it can be used by children to have a lot of fun.
When I speak to children about slime they all like different things that you can do with slime. Some will say making it, some will say holding and stretching it. Some will say for ASMR – crunching and popping the bubbles. So it’s different for everyone. I really like to make it myself and listen to the bubbles being popped.”
A Toymaster employee confirmed to the DailyEdge that the slime-making kits they stock regularly sell-out. However, even slime isn’t immune to gender-specific marketing – ‘unicorn guts’ kits for girls, Ghostbusters kits for the boys.
As searches for ‘slime’ continue to climb, it seems as though children across the world are dreaming of a slime Christmas.