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5
Dec

How To Make Borax Crystal Ornaments and Sun Catchers

by Tiffany in Crafts

I have wanted to make some borax crystal ornaments for a long while now. I thought it would be timely considering the season but also a fun homeschool project since there is definitely some science going on here. Borax, as we usually buy it in the store, is a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals. We don’t think of crystals when we see it because we see powder. This project is great for helping kids to see the crystallization process as the water cools and molecules clump together. It’s fun, easy, and kids love it. Plus you have a lovely ornament or sun catcher in the end. Just make sure to supervise well. Borax is natural but that does not mean it is safe. It should NOT be tasted or inhaled.

Making Borax Crystal Ornaments

List of Things You Need:

Pipe Cleaners
Scissors
String (we used hemp)
Popsicle sticks or pencils
Jars or glasses
Borax

To get started you need to put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Then have your children make their ornaments using pipe cleaners. You can make hearts, stars, swirls, candy canes, snowflakes… just about anything their heart desires. BUT they need to make sure they are small enough to fit inside the jar without touching the sides or the bottom. When finished with their designs the ornaments need to be tied with string to a pencil of a popsicle stick so that they can be laid over the mouth of the jar and the ornament will hang down inside. Just make sure to leave enough string so that you can hang them later.

Making Borax Crystal Ornaments

Pour the boiling water inside the jars (without the ornaments) and stir in 3-5 Tablespoons of Borax. The hot water will dissolve it and you should have a bit of sediment at the bottom. Place the ornaments inside the jars and allow them to sit for 24 hours. If you have any young kiddos who may mistake this for drinking water then move them up someplace safe please.

Making Borax Crystal Ornaments

As the water cools, the molecules that moved apart when the water was hot will now move close together again and form crystals. You should start to see the translucent crystals in 3-4 hours. Be ready for squeals of delight when you first see them.

When they are all finished you just need to set them on a towel to dry, remove them from the pencils, and then hang them in a window or on your Christmas tree. Be prepared to repeat many times because kids LOVE this project. Be on the lookout for pipe cleaners at thrift stores and yard sales to make this project a bit “greener” and remember that these could be made for family as gifts… very affordable and handmade.

Don’t they look lovely on our tree? Oh and yes… in the real versus fake argument we go with second hand, fake. Annoying fake snow and all.

Borax Crystal - Purple Swirl

Borax Crystal Ornaments for Christmas

Sunday, December 5th, 2010

24 Comments

  • http://andiscandis.blogspot.com andiscandis

    Oooohh! Finally a use for that box of pipe cleaners in the basement!

  • Maret

    What a great idea!!! WOW!

    I did not know we could use Borax for that.

    We use Borax in our cleaning business. Can I forward this link via our webpage??

    Maret

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      Maret, you may to link to this page if you like. I just ask that you don’t duplicate it.

  • http://www.journey2excellence.blogspot.com Nicole @ Journey 2 Excellence

    Great project! My 8th grade son is doing some Geology studies right now and I was actually looking for a crystal project. Making ornaments would be something great to bring my 1st grader in on, because she and I are planning an Old-Fashioned Christmas and are making all of our ornaments this year. Can’t wait to get started!!!!!

  • http://sageparnassus.blogspot.com/ Nancy

    This looks like great fun – educational, too! Thanks for sharing.
    -Nancy

  • http://www.aintnomartha.com Emily J

    Love, love, LOVE it!!!!

  • http://www.celebrategreen.net Lynn

    This is totally news to me. LOVE the idea and definitely will be making these with the grandkids. THANK YOU!

  • http://www.time4learning.com/science.shtml Kathi Weiss

    I’m going to try these tomorrow. We tried them with sugar a few weeks ago, but we did not try them with borax. I think my son will love it.

    Kathi My Blog

  • http://roscommonacres.com Dana

    Looks like a great project!! I may have to try this…adding Borax to the shopping list.

  • http://anetintime.blogspot.com ladysown

    very cool! I want to do that too!

  • sarah

    This is awesome… kindave like homemade rock candy… I do have a question though… I read somewhere that borax can be very dangerous/toxic even? Do you know anything about that? I would be nervous letting the kids touch them…

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      Borax is fine unless they are eating it or inhaling the powder. Plus, since they have a string tied to them, you don’t even need to touch them. I wouldn’t let kids play with them like a toy, they are decorations.

  • Jean from Mexico City

    But I don’t understand how you made the multicolored candy cane. Please explain.

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      Jean, we just wrapped a red and white pipe cleaner around each other in a spiral.

  • http://anetintime.blogspot.com ladysown

    just curious…..where does one look to purchase borax?

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      Ladysown, you can borax at most supermarkets. It is in the laundry isle.

  • http://www.successful-homeschooling-blog.com Carletta

    Very cool! I love this!

  • http://itchyhomeschooler.blogspot.com/ Marlis

    What a marvelous idea. Thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.campisaacchaos.blogspot.com Camp Isaac Mama

    How much boiling water and how much borax do you use? Is there a certain amount or do you just wing it?!

    This looks like a lot of fun, I can’t wait to try with my kiddos!

    • http://www.naturemoms.com Tiffany

      I winged it mostly but I used quart size ball jars, 5 Tbs borax, and enough water to cover the ornaments.

  • Kattie

    These are really cool, I can’t wait to try it!

  • http://glimpseofourlife.blogspot.com/ Jennifer

    We just tried these. Thanks for the clear instructions. The ones with a higher concentration of Borax (smaller jars so less water) have much larger crystals.

  • Judi

    I love this! I promised myself I’d do it this year, but haven’t yet. 

    • Moorecook

      I did it last year and I’m doing it this year. Its fun and easy