Saturday, February 23, 2013

How To Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake

Borax crystals are safe and easy to grow.

Do real snowflakes melt too quickly? Grow a borax crystal snowflake, color it blue if you like, and enjoy the sparkle all year long! A video tutorial showing how to grow borax crystal snowflakes is also available.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: Overnight
Here's How:

The first step of making borax crystal snowflakes is to make the snowflake shape. Cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.
Twist the sections together at their centers to form a six-sided snowflake shape. Don't worry if an end isn't even, just trim to get the desired shape. The snowflake should fit inside the jar.
Tie the string to the end of one of the snowflake arms. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the snowflake into the jar.
Fill the widemouth pint jar with boiling water.
Add borax one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water, stirring to dissolve after each addition. The amount used is 3 tablespoons borax per cup of water. It is okay if some undissolved borax settles to the bottom of the jar.
If desired, you may tint the mixture with food color.
Hang the pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil rests on top of the jar and the snowflake is completely covered with liquid and hangs freely (not touching the bottom of the jar).
Allow the jar to sit in an undisturbed location overnight.
Look at the pretty crystals!!! You can hang your snowflake as a decoration or in a window to catch the sunlight :-)

Borax is available at grocery stores in the laundry soap section, such as 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster. Do not use Boraxo soap.
Because boiling water is used and because borax isn't intended for eating, adult supervision is recommended for this project.
If you can't find borax, you can use sugar or salt (may take longer to grow the crystals, so be patient). Add sugar or salt to the boiling water until it stops dissolving. Ideally you want no crystals at the bottom of the jar.
What You Need

wide mouth jar (pint)
white pipe cleaners
borax (see tips)
boiling water
blue food coloring (opt.)

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