Day 13 of the 24 Days of Christmas Crafting!
The goal for these 24 days is to give you ideas for hand-crafted Christmas decorations for your tree and home. Come back each day to try the next craft. 24 Days of Christmas Crafting!
When I asked my family for ideas for things I could make in these 24 Days of Christmas Crafting, one of my kids reminded me of these Borax crystal ornaments they made in elementary school. Because I wanted to include kid-friendly crafts in this series, I decided to add this one to the list.
The nice thing about doing this with the kids is that the crystal growth only takes a day!
Materials and Supplies
The amount of Borax solution you make will depend on how many ornaments you plan to make, the size of the ornaments, and the volume of the containers.
- Large containers
- Pipe cleaners
- String or thread
- Craft stick or similar item
Making the Shapes
You can make just about any design you want out of pipe cleaners. You can use colored pipe cleaners and you can add beads to the pipe cleaners. The limit is your imagination and the size of container into which you will suspend the ornaments.
Prepare the Ornaments
After your ornaments are shaped, you will need containers for each, string or thread plus something like a craft stick for suspending the ornaments into the containers.
tie a piece of thread onto the ornament and onto the craft stick such that, when suspended in the container, it does not touch the sides or the bottom. You should have at least a one-quarter inch clearance. As the crystals grow, some will form on the container in addition to on the pipe cleaners. If they grow into each other, you will have difficulty removing the ornaments.
The recipe for the Borax solution is approximately one-half cup of Borax to three cups of water. I used a glass 4-cup measuring cup for my batches of Borax solution and I used the microwave for heating. After filling the measuring cup with three (3) cups of water, I added the 1/2 cup of Borax and stirred. Set it in the microwave for two (2) minutes. Stir. Heat again for two (2) more minutes. Stir. And one final two-minute heating (for a total of 6 minutes). Stopping and stirring after every two minutes allowed me to stir up the Borax sediment from the bottom of the measuring cup. After the final heating, the solution should be clear, not cloudy. If it is still cloudy, heat until it is clear (completely dissolved).
Option: Add food coloring to the Borax solution. You will have to add a lot of food coloring. In the picture below, the light blue spiral was in a dark blue solution. I used almost half a bottle of those little food colors that you find in the spices section of the grocery store. I like how it turned out but it took a lot of food coloring.
Observation: I noticed that some of the colored pipe cleaners did not grown crystals as well as the plain white pipe cleaners. The red and white candy cane in earlier picture on this page only grew crystals on half the candy cane.
Pour the Borax solution into the containers and lower the ornaments into the solution.
You only need to wait less than half a day to see significant crystal growth.
You can remove the ornaments from the solution after approximately 24 hours.
Lay them on paper towels to dry for a few hours.
Once dry, they are ready to hang on your tree. They are fairly sturdy but for year-over-year storage, you should put them into containers with padding. Alternately, you can make new ones every year and start a crafting tradition with the kids in your life.