Crystal Snowflakes: Boredom buster!

snowflakecrystalAllie informed me that she is bored and I started singing the verse, “Mom and Dad can hardly wait for school to start again.” for the past several days!

So what did I do to bust the boredom? I reached for the Borax.  If you are anything like me, you have a ton of it left over from making Halloween GAK.  Several weeks ago, I found a Borax crystal snowflake recipe here. It seemed simple, the results looked stunning, and who doesn’t like making their own crystals!?

Here are the instructions You need 2 cups of  hot water, 1/3 cup of Borax, pipe cleaners, bakers twine (I got mine in the Target $1 section), a jar, and a pencil.

First, fashion your pipe cleaners into snowflake shapes.  The snowflakes need to fit inside the jar, not touch the sides or bottom, and not touch each other. I made a super simple snowflake shape but it can be much more elaborate.

014Then, tie bakers twine around the top of your snowflake and attach the twine to the pencil. Hang your snowflakes in the jar. Again, be sure the snowflakes do not touch each other or the bottom of the jar.

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Last, mix borax and water until dissolved and pour this solution into the jar. Leave the snowflakes overnight in the Borax solution undisturbed.

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In the morning, you will have these amazing crystal snowflakes!

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They were so pretty we had to hang them on our tree!

029       crystal pin

What happened?

When you mix borax in warm water it dissolves and forms a suspension (tiny solid particles hanging in the water).  The warm borax solution cools and the tiny Borax particles settle on the pipe cleaner and form crystals.  Once again I am impressed with Borax for something other than it’s cleaning power!

Crystals are everywhere in nature – salt, snow, gemstones.  One of Allie’s favorite museum souvenirs is a geode. After some research here, it turns out that geodes are formed when mineral rich water goes through tiny holes in porous rock and deposits the minerals inside the rock’s cavity.   These deposited minerals eventually form crystals.  Neat, huh?!

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Have fun making your own crystals, discovering them in nature, or at the museum! And I hope this helps bust the boredom as we countdown to Christmas!

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Categories: 3 ingredient experiments | Tags: , , , |

2 Comments

  • Melissa | December 22, 2014 | Reply

    Does it matter what color of pipe cleaner you use? Our does it crystallize so much that you can’t tell? I bet Allie loved these!!


    • Tracy | December 22, 2014 | Reply

      Great question! The crystal will come out the color of the pipe cleaner… We used yellow pipe cleaners too and now we have yellow snowflakes! You can also put food coloring in the solution to make different colors.


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