(Video link here.) When we saw designer Stephen Johnson‘s PLAY adhesive dough prototype on Dezeen, we were smitten; the colorful dough will bond all sorts of materials, including wood, glass, stone and metal and is strong enough to bond furniture parts together: lots of possibilities for ad hoc making.


We found the possibility of playing with the stuff thrilling (how great to make a bench by joining three pieces of wood without tools…) Sadly, it’s not yet available commercially. Then we looked closer at Johnson’s descriptors and asked ourselves our favorite question: Wonder if we could something like it ourselves?  So we followed trails to figure out how…


PLAY sounds a lot like Sugru, the fantastic “moldable glue” made of silicone rubber that you can form like clay, and that sets to a rubber-like texture. It was invented by the very clever Jane ni Dhulchaointigh when she was attending industrial design school (we wrote about it here, and have used it for all sorts of repairs.)  Sugru is so useful and popular —AND expensive —, we were sure someone had figured out a way to make a reasonable facsimile. And so they have.


We searched “diy sugru substitute” and found Oogoo at Instructables. It’s a mix of silicone caulk and corn starch that you can color any way you like (step-by-step instructions here). That led us to Proto-Putty, which is an even stronger version of Oogoo. It looks just like Johnson’s PLAY. (Video link here.)

The only glitch is that Proto-Putty, like Sugru, sets pretty quickly so you have only about 30 minutes or so to work with it. Which may be the challenge in Johnson’s putty: How to get masses of several colors all at once so you can make the kinds of jazzy objects he did in his prototypes?…


We’re thinking an ordinary vacuum-sealer might allow you to seal different colors of Proto-putty in plastic to buy some time…

We’re thrilled to have a formula and Stephen Johnson’s PLAYful photos to fuel our possibility thinking…

One thought on “A Strong Sugru-like Adhesive You Can Make

  1. The vacuum sealer won’t work, because the moisture used to cure the silicone is already inside it (which is why it works)

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