Borax crystal ornaments are such a fun craft / handmade gift/science project all rolled into one!
With a little borax and water, you can cover pipe cleaner shapes in sparkling crystals to make snowflakes for the windows or ornaments for the tree.
The best part is that kids (and adults!) can spend their time getting creative with the pipe cleaners without worrying about making a big mess, and then you simply put the ornaments in a borax-and-water solution overnight for the crystals to grow. It doesn’t get much easier than that!
- pipe cleaners
- 6 cups water
- 1 cup borax
- wooden dowel
Use your pipe cleaners to make ornaments. Snowflakes or icicles made out of white or blue pipe cleaners are fun, but my favorite is the red and white striped candy cane. I cut both a red and white pipe cleaner in half and twisted the two halves together to form a thicker pipe cleaner before twisting the two colors around each other, and I love how that one turned out!
Select a bowl that is both wide and deep enough for your pipe cleaner creations. If your ornaments touch the sides or bottom, they may get stuck as the crystals grow. (I found that Pyrex bowls work best because the sides are straight rather than slanted.)
Once your ornament is ready, loosely lay a string around it to hold it in the water.
Tie the other end to a wooden dowel that is long enough to set across the opening of your bowl or container. This lets them hang straight down in the water without touching the sides. Adjust the strings once the dowel is in place to make sure the ornaments hang at the right height.
In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add borax and stir until the borax dissolves and the water is once again clear.
Pour the water into a bowl and let sit undisturbed overnight.
In the morning, carefully remove the crystals from the water. Remove the original string and add a fresh string to hang them.
To clean the bowl, simply run it under hot water and use a dish scraper to loosen the crystals that have grown on the sides.
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