Borax Crystal Snowflake Ornaments – Kids Winter Blog Hop

What’s more fun than running outside in the snow, building snow forts, snowmen and the best sledding ramps down the driveway and into the street?How about trying to catch snowflakes on your tongue or gloved finger? The only downside is the snowflakes melt as fast as they fall. Especially when you bring them inside. Using a little kitchen chemistry science, you can make these classic snowflake ornaments and bring a little winter inside. The best part? This is a simple and easy activity. You don’t need a lot of science knowledge, materials or time.

 

Materials

  • Pipe cleaners (white, if possible)
  • String
  • Wide-mouthed jar
  • Borax (check your local grocer’s laundry section)
  • A pencil
  • Boiling water
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Adult supervision

Instructions

      1. Using a pair of scissors, cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.
      2. Twist the three pipe cleaner sections together at their centers to form a six-sided snowflake. Don’t stress if the sides aren’t perfectly even, little imperfections make it beautiful.



      1. Make sure that the shape can fit through the mouth of the wide-mouthed jar without having to squeeze through. If it can’t, trim the sides down.
      2. Cut a 4″ length of string to one side of the snowflake. Tie the other end of the string to a pencil. You want the length of your string to be enough that the snowflake hangs into the jar but doesn’t touch the bottom. Once you have your length set, remove the apparatus from the jar.
      3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and pour into the jar. Add 3 tablespoons of borax per each cup of water a stir. It’s alright if some borax settles to the bottom of the jar.
      4. If you want a colored snowflake, stir in some food coloring.
      5. Hang the pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar with the pencil resting on top of the jar. Make sure that you’ve added enough water to completely submerge the snowflake.
      6. Put the jar somewhere where it is safe from being disturbed. Seriously! You don’t even want it to be bumped! Let it stay there overnight.
      7. The next day, check out the gorgeous crystals! Untie the string from the pencil and you’ve got yourself a great holiday decoration.

What is the Science Behind?

So, you put a bunch of pipe cleaners that had been twisted into a snowflake shape into a solution of borax and water. How in the world did it turn into this beautiful crystal snowflake?
When you mixed the borax in with the water, you created a suspension. A suspension is a mixture that contains solid particles large enough to settle out. By mixing the borax into hot water, instead of room temperature or cold water, the borax stays suspended longer within the water.
As the borax begins to settle out, or sediment, it begins to crystallize.
You’ll see this crystallization on both the bottom of the jar and, you got it, on your snowflake. The borax continues to sediment on top of the snowflake and on top of other borax crystals until you pull it out of the water the next morning.
We are proud to be co-hosting a Winter Holiday Hop with Projects for Preschoolers. Visit their site to enter the Holiday Sweepstakes and win some fun prizes to kick off the holiday season.
Visit all of our participants sites to find fabulous Winter Holiday Inspiration:

Share your holiday inspirations, activities and how you plan to teach your children about the spirit of giving this holiday season.
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4 thoughts on “Borax Crystal Snowflake Ornaments – Kids Winter Blog Hop”

  1. I have done this with much success!
    I am in the process of trying the egg geode experiment with alum powder, which was expensive and hard to find….is it possible to use this formula and make an egg geode with borax crystals instead? would it work?

  2. WOW! These crystals form quickly and are very clear. This is permanently added to my lesson plans for crystals! Added note: Be sure to use boiling water if you want the crystals to form quickly. Carefully handle the hot water!

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