Glowing Oobleck: Crafting a DIY Non-Newtonian Night Light

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Glowing Oobleck: Exploring the enchanting world of non-Newtonian fluids, you may have come across a bizarre yet captivating substance known as Oobleck. Named after a substance in a Dr. Seuss book, this simple mixture of cornstarch and water demonstrates properties that defy the behaviour of usual liquids and solids. When you apply pressure to Oobleck, it behaves like a solid; without it, it flows like a liquid.

Adding a twist to this fascinating material, imagine integrating a glow-in-the-dark element to create Glowing Oobleck – a Non-Newtonian Night Light. This glowing concoction not only serves as a fun, educational tool that introduces you to basic physics concepts but also brightens your space with a soft, eerie luminescence, perfect for sparking your curiosity and imagination.

Glowing Oobleck
Glowing Oobleck

Preparing Glowing Oobleck is a straightforward process that can introduce a magical element to your nighttime activities. By incorporating materials like tonic water or fluorescent paint, the Oobleck can emit a captivating glow under a black light. It’s an excellent example of how you can combine science and creativity to create something truly unique. Michelle Connolly, an educational consultant with extensive classroom experience, notes, “Glowing Oobleck is not just a science experiment; it’s a glowing beacon in the dark, lighting up children’s imaginations and their understanding of science.” As you delve into the luminescent marvels of Glowing Oobleck, you not only witness the peculiar characteristics of non-Newtonian fluids but also discover the joy of learning through hands-on experimentation.

Key Takeaways

  • Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that acts like a solid under pressure and a liquid without it.
  • You can make Oobleck glow using tonic water or fluorescent paint, creating a night light effect.
  • The creation of Glowing Oobleck combines scientific principles with creativity, providing an engaging learning experience.

Understanding Oobleck

Before you begin creating your own glowing Oobleck, it’s essential to grasp what Oobleck is and the science behind its unique properties.

The Science of Non-Newtonian Fluids

Oobleck is an example of a non-Newtonian fluid, which means its viscosity (the measure of a fluid’s thickness or resistance to flow) can change under force. Unlike Newtonian fluids like water or oil, which have consistent viscosities, non-Newtonian fluids can behave like both liquids and solids. When you apply pressure, Oobleck becomes firm and can even crack like a solid. Release the pressure, and it will flow like a liquid. This peculiar behaviour is a fantastic demonstration of the complexities found in the states of matter, pushing the boundaries of how we traditionally categorise liquids and solids.

Cornflour and Water: The Building Blocks

Cornstarch and water are the only two ingredients you’ll need to make Oobleck. This simple mixture creates a substance that defies conventional understanding of how matter should behave. When mixing cornstarch with water, typically at a 2:1 ratio of cornstarch to water, the starch particles form a suspension. It is this suspension that gives Oobleck its fascinating properties. A principle to remember, as Michelle Connolly, founder of LearningMole, likes to say, is that “Exploring the materials around us, like cornstarch and water, can reveal extraordinary science.” This lesson is particularly resonant when it brings to light that everyday ingredients from your kitchen can transform into an extraordinary substance like Oobleck.

Glowing Oobleck Preparation

Creating glowing Oobleck is a fun and educational activity that combines a traditional non-Newtonian fluid with a luminescent twist. By preparing glow-in-the-dark Oobleck, you’ll experience science hands-on as you mix common household items with a touch of phosphorescent magic.

Safety First: Non-Toxic Ingredients

Safety is paramount when prepping your glowing Oobleck. Ensure all the materials, especially the glow-in-the-dark paint, are labelled non-toxic and safe for use by children. As Michelle Connolly, founder and educational consultant at LearningMole, often says, “Even in the midst of fun learning, we must prioritise the safety of our young scientists.”

Gather Your Materials

  • Water: You’ll need a small amount to mix with your cornstarch.
  • Cornstarch: This is the main component that gives Oobleck its unique properties.
  • Glow in the dark paint: A safe, non-toxic variety to make your Oobleck glow.
  • Measuring cups: For precision, measure your ingredients properly.

Here’s a quick checklist for your convenience:

1 cupCornstarch
1/2 cupWater
2-3 tbspNon-toxic glow paint
As neededMeasuring cups
Glowing Oobleck

Step-by-Step Mixing Guide

  1. Begin by measuring one cup of cornstarch and pour it into a mixing bowl.
  2. Gradually add half a cup of water to the cornstarch, stirring slowly.
  3. As the mixture starts to thicken, add two to three tablespoons of glow-in-the-dark paint. Mix thoroughly to ensure the paint is evenly distributed throughout the Oobleck.

Remember, the consistency should be such that if you press on the mixture, it feels solid, but if you let it sit in your hand, it will liquefy. Michelle Connolly notes, “Oobleck challenges our understanding of solids and liquids, making it an excellent way to engage children with scientific concepts.”

Lighting Up The Night

Glowing Oobleck LearningMole
Glowing Oobleck: A dark room with glowing oobleck spread across the floor

In the pursuit of creating a non-Newtonian night light with an enchanting glow, we utilise ultraviolet (UV) light and incorporate substances that fluoresce under its influence. This creates a visually stunning effect that can transform any dark space into a radiant display.

Choosing the Right UV Light

To achieve the optimal glow for your Oobleck night light, you’ll need to select an appropriate UV light. A black light is ideal as it emits long-wave ultraviolet light which is perfect for exciting phosphors and causing fluorescence. When shopping, look for a UV light source that is labelled as a ‘black light’—these are designed specifically for illumination and not sanitation purposes.

The Role of Quinine in Tonic Water

Tonic water contains a compound called quinine which is inherently fluorescent under UV light. When you expose tonic water to ultraviolet light, it exhibits a bright blue glow. To incorporate this into your Oobleck, simply mix it with tonic water instead of plain water for a blazingly bright and mystical effect.

Incorporating Fluorescent Materials

To enhance the glow of the night light, consider stirring in additional fluorescent materials. Highlighters are an excellent source of vibrant dyes; extract their ink by soaking them in water, then mixing the colourful solution with your Oobleck. Other fluorescent materials include phosphorescent materials that can store light energy and continue to glow for some time after the UV light source is turned off.

Remember to always ensure safety when handling UV lights and chemicals by wearing protective eyewear and gloves. Now, you’re all set to light up your night with a magnificent, homemade, non-Newtonian night light!

Michelle Connolly, founder of LearningMole, remarks, “At its core, science is a mesmerising dance of discovery, and what’s more captivating than an experiment that sheds light in the darkness? It’s a beautiful way to spark curiosity.”

Non-Newtonian Dynamics

In the world of fluids, characteristics like viscosity can change dynamically, making for fascinating behaviours, especially within non-Newtonian fluids. These materials can challenge your expectations, where the common rules of flow don’t always apply.

Manipulating Viscosity

Viscosity is the measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow, and with non-Newtonian fluids, your actions can directly alter this property. When you stir or agitate Oobleck, a common classroom example of a non-Newtonian fluid, you’ll find that it becomes firmer and more resistant to motion. Michelle Connolly, an expert with 16 years of classroom experience, emphasises that “Oobleck is a fantastic way to engage students with hands-on learning. You can literally feel the science at your fingertips.”

Pressure and Flow: A Delicate Dance

The relation between pressure and flow in non-Newtonian fluids is indeed a delicate dance. Apply pressure, and the fluid can act more like a solid, resisting your push. Yet, remove that force, and it might flow away like water. This reaction to stress makes non-Newtonian fluids fascinating subjects for children to explore, illuminating the principles of physics in an interactive and friendly manner.

Creative Applications

A glowing pool of Oobleck illuminates the dark room, casting a mesmerizing glow on the surrounding surfaces. The liquid shifts and ripples in response to touch, creating an otherworldly and enchanting scene
Glowing Oobleck: A dark room with glowing oobleck spread across the floor

Glowing Oobleck offers several engaging uses, particularly for captivating children and making learning a joyous experience. Here’s how you can illuminate the adventure of discovery with this unique substance.

Halloween Glow Stations

For a spooktacular Halloween, set up glow stations where kids can get their hands sticky with glowing Oobleck. This luminescent slime not only adds to the eerie atmosphere but also serves as a fun, sensory activity. Michelle Connolly, founder of LearningMole, highlights the excitement: “Glowing Oobleck transforms a Halloween science lab into a radiant, hands-on exploration space for children of all ages.”

Educational Activities for Kids

Incorporate glowing Oobleck into your science curriculum to explain Non-Newtonian fluids in a way that holds a child’s attention. A pinch of glow, and the educational experience becomes as bright as the material itself. Not only is it fun and messy, but as Michelle Connolly puts it, “It’s a fantastic visual and tactile aid to grasp scientific concepts actively.”

DIY Night Light Projects

You can also utilise glowing Oobleck for creative DIY night light projects. Mix Oobleck with glow-in-the-dark paint and encapsulate it in clear containers to create homemade night lights. It’s a brilliant way to combine art, science, and practicality into a single project, promoting innovation and resourcefulness among young learners.

Safety and Cleanup Tips

Glowing Oobleck LearningMole
Glowing Oobleck: A spill-proof container and paper towels are nearby

When engaging in the fun of creating glowing Oobleck, a non-Newtonian night light, it’s important to consider both safety and the environment during cleanup.

Avoiding Drain Disasters

Don’t pour Oobleck down the drain. Once you’re finished with your glowing Oobleck, avoid disposing of it down the kitchen or bathroom drain, as its unique properties can clog pipes, leading to potential plumbing issues.

  • Use plastic wrap: To remove Oobleck from surfaces, lift it with plastic wrap. This prevents Oobleck from getting into small crevices or the drain.
  • Garbage Disposal: Wrap the Oobleck in the plastic wrap and dispose of it in the bin so as to avoid damaging your home’s plumbing.

Eco-Friendly Disposal Methods

Ensuring the environment remains unharmed is another critical aspect of your Oobleck cleanup process.

  • Composting: Oobleck primarily consists of cornstarch which is biodegradable, hence adding it to your compost pile is a safe method of disposal.
  • Garbage: If composting isn’t possible, seal the Oobleck in a plastic bag before placing it in the garbage to prevent any spillage and to minimise environmental impact.

Remember, always handle Oobleck and any associated cleanup products carefully to keep both your home and the environment safe. Michelle Connolly, founder of LearningMole and educational consultant with 16 years of classroom experience, advises, “Engaging with Oobleck is not just about science; it’s a lesson in responsibility – teaching kids the importance of safety and respect for the environment.”

Glowing Oobleck Recipes

Glowing Oobleck LearningMole
Glowing Oobleck: A glowing mixture of Oobleck illuminates the dark

Transform your nights with these fun and luminescent Glowing Oobleck recipes. By just combining household items like corn starch and water, you can create a non-Newtonian fluid that both entertains and educates.

Classic Glowing Oobleck


  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of tonic water


  1. Slowly add the tonic water to the corn starch in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix with your hands until you achieve a thick and slimy texture.

This classic glowing Oobleck starts with tonic water for its quinine content, which naturally fluoresces under black light, providing a bright, captivating glow. The mixture’s curious behaviour, changing from solid to liquid under pressure, can make for an educational yet magical evening experience.

Extended Glow Recipes


  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of distilled water
  • Glow-in-the-dark paint or ink


  1. Combine the distilled water with a few drops of the glow-in-the-dark paint or ink.
  2. Gradually mix in the corn starch to reach the desired consistency.

Elevate the glow by incorporating glow-in-the-dark paint or ink with distilled water. This technique can prolong the Oobleck’s glow sans black light. It’s a somewhat messier venture, but as Michelle Connolly, an educational consultant with over 16 years of experience in the classroom, says, “The messier the play, the deeper the learning”.

Colourful Oobleck Variations


  • 2 cups of corn starch
  • 1 cup of water
  • Food colouring or liquid watercolour paint


  1. Add a few drops of your chosen colour to the water and mix well.
  2. Stir in corn starch until fully blended and smooth.

For a less glow-centric but equally enjoyable experience, mix in food colouring or liquid watercolour paint with the water before adding to corn starch. The result is vibrantly coloured Oobleck that can also glow if fluorescent colours are selected.

Remember to find a space where you can relish in the unique behaviour of these Oobleck variants without worrying about spills or stains. Engage with the science, savour the learning, and most of all, have fun with the glowing masterpiece you’ve created.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Creating a non-Newtonian substance like Oobleck that glows in the dark can be a fun and educational activity. However, at times, you might encounter some issues with the luminescence or consistency of the Oobleck. Let’s address these common problems so you can enjoy your glowing creation.

Oobleck That Won’t Glow

If you find your glow in the dark Oobleck isn’t glowing, the issue could be with the luminescent agent. Here’s what to consider:

  • Check the glow in the dark paint: Ensure it’s high-quality and hasn’t expired. Glow paint loses its potency over time.
  • Charge the paint: Expose your Oobleck to a strong light source. The luminescence depends on the charging time; the longer, the better.

“Mistakes are just an opportunity to learn and get it right the next time,” says Michelle Connolly, a founder and educational consultant.

Adjusting Oobbleck Consistency

The consistency of Oobleck is all about getting the ratio of cornstarch to water right. If your Oobleck is too runny or too solid, you can tweak it easily:

  • Too runny: Gradually add more cornstarch to increase the density and viscosity.
  • Too solid: Mix in water little by little until it reaches a more fluid, non-Newtonian state.

Remember, consistency is key in achieving the right non-Newtonian behaviour that makes Oobleck so unique.

Historical and Cultural Context

Glowing Oobleck LearningMole
Glowing Oobleck: A dimly lit room with glowing oobleck in various colors suspended in mid-air

You might wonder how a simple children’s book could inspire a fascinating science project like Glowing Oobleck. It’s all rooted in the imaginations of millions, shaped by a story that has transcended generations.

Dr. Seuss and Oobleck

“Bartholomew and the Oobleck” was penned by the famous author Dr. Seuss, bringing the fictional substance oobleck into popular culture. Dr. Seuss, whose real name was Theodor Seuss Geisel, created a tale that not only entertained but sparked curiosity. In Bartholomew and the Oobleck, a king becomes bored with the weather and seeks something new, leading to the creation of the sticky, green substance called oobleck.

Over the years, oobleck has come to represent more than just a quirky element in a story. It’s become intertwined with educational activities that blend fun and learning, resonating deeply within various cultures as an embodiment of creativity and discovery. You can witness this blend of entertainment and education through resources and activities that encourage exploration and innovation, much like those found on interactive education platforms such as LearningMole.

Michelle Connolly, founder of LearningMole, with her extensive 16 years of classroom experience, often quotes, “Dr. Seuss may have created oobleck as a fictional idea, but it’s educators who turn fiction into learning opportunities that ignite a child’s imagination.”

The cultural impact of Dr. Seuss’s work, particularly the concept of oobleck, extends beyond mere entertainment. It fosters a hands-on approach to learning that can inspire future scientists and innovators. In a way, oobleck is not just a part of literary history; it’s a symbol that bridges the gap between storytelling and experiential education. Your adventures with this non-Newtonian fluid are a testament to the enduring legacy of a story that began in the pages of a children’s book and now lights up the dark as a glowing, teachable phenomenon.

Extending Learning Opportunities

Creating a non-Newtonian substance like Oobleck offers a unique opportunity to explore various scientific principles in a fun and engaging manner. This hands-on experience is particularly valuable for children and educators looking to deepen their understanding of science.

Teachable Moments with Oobleck

When you introduce Oobleck to children, it’s not just about the fun of playing with a quirky substance. By observing how this mix behaves, students can learn about the state of matter, as Oobleck can act like both a solid and a liquid. This opens a conversation about how the viscosity of a substance can change under pressure. Children, through guidance, can speculate on why Oobleck hardens when they punch it but flows when they gently pour it.

Educators can use Oobleck to demonstrate density, as it’s denser than water which leads to many objects floating on its surface. This can lead to discussions about the density of other materials, comparing them with the Oobleck mixture. When you drop objects of different weights, kids can hypothesise why some sink while others float.

Moreover, Michelle Connolly, the founder of LearningMole, emphasises the importance of such active learning: “Through interactive experiments with substances like Oobleck, children can experience the wonder of science beyond books and theory.” With 16 years of classroom experience, Connolly knows firsthand how valuable such activities are for sparking curiosity and understanding in young learners.

By using Oobleck in the classroom, you provide a way for kids to visually and physically experience scientific concepts, making the learning process much more memorable and meaningful.

Frequently Asked Questions

The enchanting world of glowing oobleck offers both a spectacle to behold and an exciting educational experience. Illuminate your understanding with answers to some of your most burning questions.

How can you create oobleck that glows in the dark?

To create oobleck that shines in darkness, simply mix cornflour with water and add a glow-in-the-dark paint or crushed, non-toxic glow sticks. Ensure that the oobleck is exposed to bright light beforehand to activate the glowing effect.

What’s the difference between oobleck and traditional slime?

Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that hardens under pressure and flows when at rest, unlike traditional slime which consistently remains viscous. Oobleck’s unique behaviour is due to its dilatant properties, which make it fascinating yet unpredictable.

Can you describe a simple oobleck recipe for a night light project?

A simple recipe involves combining two parts cornflour to one part water. If you’d like it to glow, incorporate phosphorescent pigment or the content of a glow stick into the mixture. “Learning about science doesn’t always have to be serious; it can be playful and exciting too,” shares Michelle Connolly.

How long can oobleck be expected to retain its properties?

While oobleck can retain its non-Newtonian properties for several days, its glowing capacity might diminish over time. To reactivate the glow, ensure it’s recharged with light.

What are some fun sensory activities involving oobleck for children?

Children can explore textures and reactions by manipulating oobleck with their hands, or using cookie cutters and other implements to observe its unique properties. It’s a hands-on way to delve into the wonders of physical science.

How can you prevent oobleck from becoming sticky?

To prevent stickiness, add more cornflour to achieve the desired consistency. Michelle Connolly suggests, “It’s all about finding the right balance; too much water and it will be runny, too much cornflour and it will be dry.”

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