Picture of Make a Super Bouncy Ball
Welcome to my instructable, where I will tell you how to make a great little toy using a chemical reaction, and easy-to-get chemicals.
Great science-fun for kids too!

Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of Materials needed
This bouncy ball is made using a reaction between the two following chemicals:

- Alcohol (Ethanol) - You should be able to get this at any supermarket.
- Water glass (Sodium silicate) - Pretty easy to find at ceramic supply stores drug stores and hardware stores. I buy mine for about 3$ per 1/2 litre.

You will also need:

- Disposable rubber gloves
- 2 small beakers
- Popsicle stick

... and that's it! Now that wasn't so bad at all, was it?
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Jett Green1 year ago
What kind of alcohol are we talking here? Like the stuff you put on cuts, or like, Vodka stuff? Sorry if I'm being stupid.

You will find three types of alcohol commonly for sale at a pharmacy -- ethanol, methanol, and isopropyl alcohol (isopropanol). They may be found under various names and concentrations. Ethanol is the same alcohol that is in beer, wine, vodka, whiskey, etc. When Ethanol is sold for a purpose other than drinking then it is always "denatured" and often sold labeled as "denatured alcohol". Denatured Alcohol is ethanol with chemicals added to discourage people from drinking it. Denatured alcohol should work in this experiment, but the percentage of ethanol varies widely between brands. Most low-end consumer brands won't give you a straight answer (avoid ones that say 100% denatured alcohol as this is totally meaningless and probably contains less than 60% ethanol). The best denatured alcohol will tell percentages in the range of 90% to 95% ethanol. A good brand will also tell you what they add to denature it -- usually 9% isopropanol and 1% MIBK (methyl isobutyl ketone). Woodworkers usually care about this, so you might find good denatured alcohol at a place that sells woodworking supplies. It is used to dissolve shellac, rosin and other old-fashioned wood conditioners.

Vodka is the US is usually only about 40% ethanol (80 proof). In some US states you can buy 75.5% ethanol (Bacardi Rum and Everclear are 151 proof).


Ploopy1 month ago


Sherry2222 months ago

I don't think I have any of that stuf!! I typed up cheap!! Not things you have to buy for like 10 bucks!!! ????

danamrox3 months ago


i used liquid glass with metallic in it. . . . havent tried it yet. . . .will post my results in a few minutes. . .nice instructable!!!!
still waiting.....
still waiting too
Win Guy dombeef4 years ago
Uhhh... lol
dombeef Win Guy4 years ago
Yeah, any day now!
gario10 dombeef4 years ago
vman3 gario104 years ago
I have a small feeling he forgot...
mattman2 vman34 years ago
been waiting for a while now
pudi.dk (author)  mattman24 years ago
I'm waiting eagerly as well!
I'm pretty sure it exploded on him. :-) Not all those who discover explosives live to tell of their creations ;-)
still waiting
AKA=THESNOWMAN has accidentally created a miniature black hole through his/her efforts and is now somewhere far in the future, being lectured about why not to mix liquid glass with "metallic" by non-humanoids in a language he/she cannot understand.

Greetings from the Future... XD

Whoah, 2 years ago was the last post! And I am still waiting as well

Maybe one day will get the answear...

Maybe, but considering they havent posted anything new since 2008, they are probably long past gone :(


I have been waiting now for six years. I really need to shave so I will be back to keep waiting in a few minutes ;)

maxthecat16 years ago
my bouncy ball breaks very easily. how can i get it so it doesn't break apart? and it also dries out quickly. I am using rubbing alcohol instead of ethanol. is that the problem?
well rubbing alcohol is mostly ethanol mixed with a little bit of water. so it should'nt be the problem...
Unless the water is evaporating out, causing the drying effect
I think rubbing alcohol is actually isopropyl alcohol rather than ethanol. Not sure what is going on here chemically so I can't really say whether it will make a difference but rubbing alcohol and ethanol are not normally the same thing.

Actually I was surprised that sometimes that both Isopropanol and Ethanol are sold as "Rubbing Alcohol..."

Is this safe for kids to do?

pudi.dk (author)  Chikpeas Brother1 year ago

Relatively speaking, yes. Just remember to wear safety glasses and gloves and keep an eye on them :).

Ok, Thanks!

By the way, where are you from in Denmark?

pudi.dk (author)  Chikpeas Brother1 year ago
I'm from Copenhagen, why do you ask?

Cool! I lived in Copenhagen for 3 months back in 2009.

magey002 years ago
I really cannot find the place that I can buy a sodium silicate....I've called Hobby Lobby, Target, CVS pharmacy, Quick pharmacy, Lowe's, HEB, and the Home Depot and ask if they have "Sodium Silicate" or "Water Glass", but none of them have it.... Please help me
I work for a silicate plant. I'll try some different grades and ratios next week and report back what works best. My guess is that RR will work best, but we will see.

Here is a property data sheet for the grades we make:
Chemmagic3 years ago
I can't get my ball to form. It goes as far as the paste-like stage and then thats it.
I'm in a well stocked Chemistry lab with a new 2.5L container of sodium silicate, fresh Ethanol and phenolphthalein, I've also tried using isopropanol but nothing is working, i just have lots of beakers of goop.

Someone please please help!!!
pudi.dk (author)  Chemmagic3 years ago
What concentration is the ethanol? It should be pretty close to 100%, typically 96% or so although many labs use 70% for the sake of sterilization, that might be why you are getting the 'paste' from excess water.
If you have enough chemicals to experiment, try using different ratios of silicate:ethanol that might work better.
it's absolute, Ive tried different ratios, Ive tried isopropanol, ive just had a go with methyl alcohol...still no luck :(
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