Here's Why Stores Can't Keep Elmer's Glue on Their Shelves
The middle school fad of making "slime" from glue and Borax is boosting sales at Elmer's and inspiring new products
A gooey substance known simply as “slime” is the new must-have item among tweens, and the trend is causing a shortage of its main ingredient: Elmer’s glue.
The homemade concoction is closer in texture to the jiggly “Gak” sold by Nickelodeon in the 1990s than the dripping green liquid the TV network regularly dumped on kids and celebrities, which is called slime. It’s simple to make (instructional videos can be found on YouTube) and requires only a few household items, often jazzed up with food coloring and glitter.
The massive popularity of the craft, which “went mainstream” at the end of 2016, according to the Wall Street Journal, has also had a significant impact on craft glue sales. Elmer’s glue sales doubled in December as how-to videos began to go viral on social media, WSJ reports. And Elmer’s marketing director told the newspaper that the company has increased glue production to meet the demand and devoted teams to developing slime videos and new products.
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Many young slime makers, however, maintain that the homemade stuff is better than store-bought versions, and the mass at-home manufacturing of the colorful goo has caused glue shortages in some areas. In New Jersey, a mom of three told local outlet Tap Into Westfield that Target has been sold out for weeks. She told the site she learned about the crafting craze after her daughter’s first-grade teacher sent home a note asking her to bring in more glue.
Borax, another ingredient in many slime recipes, and cornstarch, a necessity for making a similar concoction called oobek, have also been harder to come by, the site reports.
One benefit of the sticky situation: the in-demand birthday gift for middle schoolers this year will likely be an industrial-size bucket of glue.