Sunday 30 June 2013

Science: Make your own magnetic putty!

This is a really fun project your can try at home and is most entertaining!

First either buy yourself some silly putty from a toy shop or make your own.  I have a recipe for slime/silly putty here.

What you will need to do to make it magnetic...

You will need: Silly putty, iron filings (you can also use iron oxide if you have some but you will need to use gloves as it will stain skin and clothes), a Neodymium magnet.

WARNING: Neodymium magnets are extremely dangerous.  Young children should no go near them; if swallowed it will damage the intestines severely.  These magnets are very strong and can cause cuts and blood blisters due to pinching.  The bigger ones can crush fingers.

Now for the fun...
First squish your silly putty and warm it up in your hands.
Next flatten it and put a teaspoon of iron filings on your putty and work it into the silly putty.

You will find that your putty is now attracted to the magnet, this is because of the iron filings.  To learn more about what attracts to a magnet you might like to read my post 'What attracts to a magnet?'

I have read that you can polorise your putty, making it a magnet (albeit for a short period of time) by rubbing a magnet along the side of it (not letting it sink into the putty) for a while and then it should pick up light things that are attracted to magnets like a paper clip for example. 

This leads me to my favourite thing to do with Magnetic putty - you can make your magnet magically disappear into your putty like this...

You can also create funny shapes using a magnet to pull it about like you saw me do a bit of in the video.

have fun with your putty but please be careful when playing with rare-earth (Neodymium) magnets. 

Fun Fact

Did you know silly putty was invented by accident?

Yes, it's true - it was originally created by accident during research into potential rubber substitutes for use by the United States in World War II by Jame Wright. 


  1. Oooh that looks like fun!

    1. It is a lot of fun :) I'm bring it to our home ed science group tomorrow as I think the kids will get a lot of pleasure from it! :D