In honor of April Fools day, I made these fake bubblegum refrigerator magnets to intentionally look like a wad of chewed up bubblegum. I’ve seen these for sale and wondered if I couldn’t make some of my own easily.
There are several types of clays and plasters that could have worked for this, but I wanted to experiment with a recipe I found on Instructibles for an imitation Sugru compound. It sticks to everything at first and after it has cured retains a flexible rubbery feel. The basic recipe is just a ratio of approximately 1:2 of cornstarch and 100% silicone caulk. Make sure it’s says 100% silicone and make sure it’s clear. The larger the container the cheaper it will be per ounce, but the large tubes will require a special caulk gun to squeeze it out with. I chose a small tube because I only wanted to make a few tiny little blobs and figured the rest of the tube would go to waste before and cure solid before I got around to using it again. In the end, I ended up only using about half of my small tube to make 6 magnets. Look for something like these:
Now beware, because at first this stuff sticks to nearly everything so it’s important to have a very smooth non-stick surface to work on. A piece of glass out of a picture frame or a smooth marble counter top for example would be good to work on. In my case I borrowed the glass insert from my microwave to use as my working surface. I also highly recommend some disposable gloves. A separate pair of gloves for each different color that you plan to mix. I only wore a single glove on my right hand for this. If you end up needed to clean it off of yourself or something else I recommend Goo-gone to gently dissolve the silicone.
Complete supply list:
- Clear 100% silicone caulk
- Acrylic paint in green, blue, and pink
- Goo-Gone citrus solvent (for clean-up)
- disposable gloves
- smooth scraper of some kind (an old credit card for example)
1. Begin by sprinkling a layer of cornstarch on the work surface. Squeeze out about a tablespoon worth of caulk onto the cornstarch. You might need more or less depending on the size of your magnets.
2. Add a few drops of acrylic paint, sprinkle the top liberally with some more cornstarch.
3. Using your gloved hand gently knead the cornstarch into the silicone. Normally silicone caulk takes several days to a week to cure because it cures from the outside inward, but by mixing in cornstarch it cures more quickly. Add just enough cornstarch to keep the caulk from sticking to your fingers or the work surface. You will have 10-15 minutes before it starts to become stiff. I used my scraper to clean my work surface every few minutes.
4. Continue adding as much cornstarch as you can get it to accept until it becomes quite stiff. Check to make sure you have enough to cover your magnet.
5. When the caulk begins to stiffen you are ready to press it onto the magnet. At this point I just poke and squeezed it this way and that until it looked like a partial chewed wad that had recently been squeezed and stuck to the bottom of a desk. If you haven’t seen this is real life, you’ll have to use your imagination. Leave the backside of the magnet exposed as shown.
I chose to make 6 different magnets in shades of white, pink, blue and green. For the white one no paint is needed. The cornstarch alone makes the clear silicone look white instead. Repeat the above process for each bubblegum magnet.
Waiting for them to cure
Because I just eyeballed the amounts of cornstarch and silicone as I went each one seemed to cure at a slightly different rate, but by 6 hours most of them were pretty firmed up, 2 of them required a couple more days than the rest. After just one hour, I used a wet finger to remove the remaining visible cornstarch on the surface of each one.
I waited 2 days for them to fully cure. Scrape off any little bit of extra silicone that may have slopped onto the backs of the magnets. I originally was planning to spray them with an acrylic sealant but I decided that the glossy look would not be as realistic so I skipped that idea.
Packaging for gift-giving
Since this gift is an oddball sort of April Fool’s gift, I decided to go the extra mile on the packaging. I found several of these Altoid like tins with clear lids that fit my bubblegum wads perfectly, plus the magnets stick to the metal (it’s actually steel, not tin). Happy April Fool’s!