Pink, blue, sparkly, swirly, foamy—Ian Huang’s (‘20) Instagram account, called the Sllime Factory, is full of videos of fingers pulling and kneading slimes of all colors and textures. “It’s just like how you add different things to food to make everything really unique,” he says.

The usual base of slime is regular school glue, which is often combined with a solution of borax powder and water to prevent stickiness. Though slime has existed for many years, the trend recently took off this year, propelled by social media accounts like Ian’s. “I estimate there are around 2,000 slime accounts on Instagram,” he says.

Ian’s first encounter with slime was at a friend’s house, where his friend’s sister kept a collection of slimes. “She gave me a small amount and I was instantly attracted to it,” he says. “It’s super stress relieving.” After two months of making his own slimes, his friends soon encouraged him to start a slime account and post regularly.

The Sllime Factory, which doubles as an online shop, served as Ian’s entryway into the slime subculture. The Instagram network of friendly and supportive slime accounts trade slime tips and tricks, as well as review and critique each other’s slimes. Now, Ian has sold over fifty slimes, the proceeds of which have gone to the local orphanage and daycare Harmony Home.

Ian’s Instagram currently possesses 403 followers, mostly consisting of Taipei American School students and smaller slime accounts like his, but he is aiming to grow his account to the 500,000 followers typical of the larger accounts in the community.  “The things that stand out are unique slimes, an aesthetic feed, and a good reputation in the slime community,” says Ian. “My main problem right now is that I am not gaining as many followers as I thought I would, so I’m trying to do  things to set myself apart from other slimers.”

Another obstacle Ian faces is the lack of access to materials in Taiwan, especially in comparison with the U.S. In order to keep up with slime trends, he needs to be creative about using the resources available to him. “The hardest materials to find are beads—fishbowl beads, slushie beads, foam beads,” he says. “They’re super common in Target, but for example to find floam beads in Taiwan you have to cut open airplane neck pillows and use the foam inside.”

Though Ian has monetized his account and is working to garner more followers, slime for him remains a fun and creative way to relieve stress. “I feel like children are more open to slime because it’s considered similar to a toy,” he says. “But slime’s stress-relieving capabilities work for all ages.”