2020 and the beginning of 2021 has been quite tumultuous and stressful. With the pandemic looming around for nearly a year it can be difficult to find things to do while maintaining your separation from others.
A great way to deal with some of that stress and preoccupy yourself is to take on DIY projects. During 2020 there was a surge in home improvement projects and DIY projects in general as people were forced to shelter in place. With nothing to go out and do, people turned to DIYs.
After a full year, it is easy to run out of ideas for things to do, especially if you have children. A great way to facilitate healthy stress management while also getting into some DIY crafting is to create a stress ball at home.
Below is a look at three different ways to make a stress ball at home as well as other ways in which you can cope with stress.
The balloon and cornstarch ball
While this may sound like a super simple stress ball, it provides a great resistance and squeezability because of the underlying science behind non-Newtonian fluids.
When you mix cornstarch with the right amount of water, the mixture becomes what is known as a non-Newtonian fluid. Essentially this means that the fluid does not act like a traditional liquid. The most significant attribute that the cornstarch mixture has is that it acts more like a solid when a sudden pressure is applied to it and more like a liquid when poured.
The way cornstarch and water interact to create these odd properties was largely unknown until in 2019, when a 3D model theoretically illustrated how a force applied to the mixture increases frictional forces of the cornstarch molecules resulting in a more solid-like property. Below is a detailed description on how to make your own oobleck stress ball.
Creating the cornstarch stress ball
To create your own oobleck stress ball you need two standard balloons, cornstarch, water, a funnel, and a mixing bowl, and a plastic disposable water bottle. Have all the materials nearby as the cornstarch mixture can get very messy quickly and you could make a big mess if you are walking around tracking it throughout your work area!
With all the materials handy, start off by creating the oobleck mixture. The mixture requires two parts cornstarch to one part water. It's a good idea to make more than you think is necessary as it can be a pain to remix it once you begin packing the balloons.
After you have created the mixture, the next step involves filling the balloon with the oobleck. Simply utilizing a funnel to fill the balloon will only allow you to fill the balloon so much. To increase the amount of oobleck you can fit into the balloon, you first fill the water bottle with the oobleck utilizing the funnel.
Once full, blow up the balloon and take the end of the balloon, stretch it over the opening of the water bottle, and turn the water bottle over. Squeeze the contents into the balloon.
Once filled remove the balloon and try to push out as much air as possible. Tie the balloon and take the second balloon, cut off the stem, and wrap it over the stress ball.
Finally, you have your very own oobleck stress ball that you can squeeze, hit, and simply enjoy!
Water bead stress ball
Water beads, more commonly known as orbeez, are super absorbent polymers that are capable of absorbing large amounts of water and growing to a much larger size.
When hydrated, the water beads have a jelly like consistency and are fun to play with and squish. When combined with the concept of a stress ball it can provide a satisfying and stress relieving squeeze to help you get out some pent-up energy.
Creating the Water Bead Stress Ball
The water bead stress ball procedure is similar to oobleck stress ball. To create the water bead stress ball you need a standard balloon, orbeez, water, a funnel, and a mixing bowl, and a plastic disposable water bottle.
Start by soaking the orbeez overnight in the bowl. The hydration of the orbeez can take hours so soaking them overnight ensures that they reach their maximum hydration potential.
Once fully hydrated grab the funnel and the water bottle and begin putting the orbeez into the bottle. With the water bottle filled with orbeez, blow up the balloon and place the end of the balloon onto the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down and allow the orbeez to fill the contents of the balloon. Remove the balloon from the bottle, let out the excess air and tie off the balloon.
Mesh stress ball
If you are looking for a more tactile and unique stress ball experience, the mesh stress ball is a great option for you. It combines the sensation of both the orbeez stress ball and the oobleck stress ball to give you the best of both worlds.
The materials differ significantly when compared to the other stress balls because it utilizes slime as the filler. Slime, like oobleck, is a non-Newtonian fluid but is more of a solid than oobleck is. Slime has unique properties due to the chemical cross linking of molecules used to make the slime. The cross linking allows for the molecules to slide past one another but not to flow as well as a normal fluid.
While the process of creating this stress ball is more complicated, it is well worth the added complexity with the experience it provides.
Creating the mesh stress ball
To make the mesh stress ball you need a balloon, a mixing bowl, Elmer's glue, detergent, netting, food coloring, and liquid starch. As an additional material you may want to have some sort of covering for your work surface as making slime can get messy and the food coloring could stain your work area.
With all of your ingredients handy start by pouring out the bottle of glue into the bowl and a couple drops of food coloring. For a contrast try to utilize a color significantly different than the color of the balloon you are using.
Begin slowly adding detergent and liquid starch until you get your desired slime consistency. When you reach the optimum consistency, remove the slime from the bowl and knead it until it is uniform.
With your slime ready to go, grab your balloon and your wide bottom funnel and begin stuffing the balloon with your slime. This process can become tedious. Having patience and sticking with it is the best method for this step. With the slime successfully in the balloon, remove as much excess air as possible and tie off the balloon. If you wanted to you could stop here and have a regular stress ball that resembles the cornstarch stress ball described above.
The last step is to get mesh from a produce bag or fish nets and tie it over the stress ball. Ensure that the mesh is tied tightly around the ball and you are ready to enjoy the mesh stress ball.
If you chose a contrasting food coloring for your slime you may notice that when you squeeze the stress ball that the ball will change into that color. When the rubber of the balloon is stretched thin during a good squeeze, it allows you to see the color of the slime filling you made. This allows the stress ball to be visually satisfying while also feeling good while you squeeze it.
Other ways to manage stress
While picking up a hobby like making stress balls can be a nice escape, it isn't the only way that you can destress and wind down. Making time for in self care is a great way to focus less on what is stressing you out and more on yourself and your wellbeing.
One great way in which you can reduce your stress is to give yourself a spa day. You can pamper your skin by exfoliating, moisturizing, and applying MitoQ night cream after a long stressful day. Giving yourself a little TLC can be just what you need to unwind your stress and help you get a restful night's sleep.
Stress balls come in all shapes and sizes and nearly every color under the sun. If you are looking for a fun DIY project, hopefully one of the stress ball guides above can help you to have something fun and unique to do.
While an escape like a DIY project is a great way to manage stress, an equally important way to destress is to take care of yourself.
We have an entire line of products that can help you treat your body to the nutrition and supplements it deserves and give you your dose of self care!
Reviewed by: Asha Hira/ BPharm