A fun kids science project! Learn how to grow borax crystals and why it works. Plus turn them into a fun Christmas craft too!
One of my favorite parts of school was always science class. It is great for kids to learn things, and experiment to see how things work first hand. Having something fun to show off at the end of an experiment is an added bonus. Learn how to grow borax crystals and the science behind why it works. This is so much fun, and you can take it a step further and create Borax Crystal ornaments with them too!
You Will Need
You will need the items above plus Borax and Water.
How to make Borax Crystals
Take your pipe cleaner and shape it into the shape you want your crystal to be. Choose the colors wisely because this color will show through and be the color of your crystal.
This is a great time to tie the string onto your pipe cleaner.
Heat your water to boiling. For every 1 cup of hot water you are going to dissolve 4 tbsp of borax to create your crystal solution.
Fill your mason jar about 3/4 of the way full of borax solution.
Tie your pipe cleaner string onto a popsicle stick or pencil so it is suspended in your solution. It is best to have it not touching any of the sides.
Allow your crystal experiment to sit for at least 12-24 hours. The longer it sits the bigger your crystals will be.
Borax Crystal Ornaments
Now that you know how to make Borax Crystals you can use the same method to create Borax Crystal Ornaments. Simply shape your pipe cleaners into stars, snowflakes, or any design you choose.
Tie and string to it and dangle it in the solution just as you did before.
Once your crystal ornaments are done you can hang them on your Christmas tree, give them as gifts, etc.
Now that you are having fun, let's learn how it works.
Crystals can form when a supersaturated liquid that contains a dissolved mineral cools. In this activity, a supersaturated solution was made using hot water and borax (a soft crystal).
The hot water caused the water molecules to move further away from each other so that more of the borax could dissolve into the solution. Once the solution reaches a point where it cannot dissolve any more borax, it becomes supersaturated.
As the solution cools, the water molecules come closer together again causing the forming borax crystals to cling to the pipe cleaner.
Did you know?
Crystals are solids that are formed by a regular, repeating pattern of molecules connected together. Most crystals come in geometric shapes with sharp, straight edges and smooth sides.
Salt crystals have a cubic shape while sugar crystals have a flattened rectangular shape. When a crystal breaks, it will break cleanly and smoothly into smaller versions of the same geometric shape.
Educational Talking Points
Want to do some research? Here are some key educational talking points that you could dive into with this experiment.
- Solutions: Learn about saturation and what it means.
- Hot & Cold: How the temperature of the water effects the dissolving and the quantity of borax it can hold.
- Crystals: What type of molecules form crystals? Are they all the same shape?
- Chemistry: What is the chemical makeup of these crystals. Does the solution change it from its original form?
These are only a few topics. This experiment is so much fun, it can really open the window to many discussions.
Once your crystals are done you want to keep them so that they last. To help your crystals stand the test of time spray them with a clear acrylic spray. This can be found at any local hardware store.
How to Make Borax Crystals
- 1 cup water
- 4 tbsp Borax
- 1 pipe cleaner
- Take your pipe cleaner and shape it to the desired shape of your finished crystal. The crystals will be clear so you will see the color of the pipe cleaner when finished. Choose your color carefully.
- Heat your water to boiling. You can make a bigger batch than listed, just remember to increase the borax accordingly for the amount of water used. Add about 3-4 Tbsp of Borax for every cup of water in your solution. Stir until the Borax dissolves in the water. You want the water to be clear because if the water gets cloudy then your crystals will be cloudy.
- Once your solution is mixed, pour into the mason jars about three quarters of the way to the top.Use the string to tie your pipe cleaners to the popsicle stick ( or you can use a pencil). Then place these sticks over the rim of each jar so that the pipe cleaners are suspended in the water.
- The submerged pipe cleaners should form crystals over the next 12-24 hours.The longer that you leave them then the bigger they will grow.
- The crystals should have grown around the colored pipe cleaner. Now, simply take them out of the jars and let them dry and enjoy!