Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 1: Grow Sparkling Crystal Ornaments

Welcome to the first day of The Twelve Days of Homemade Christmas here on Homemade Mamas! The first project we want to share is this one we found on - Growing Crystal Ornaments! This project was one that definitely caught our eye, as we have kids that are crazy about science and Christmas, so finding a way to combine both was wonderful! And it was so easy...and a little magical!

What you need:

  • Pipe cleaners

  • Scissors

  • Pencil

  • String

  • Mason jar or glass

  • Water

  • Borax
First, have your kids make different shapes out of their pipe cleaners, making sure that the finished shapes will easily fit inside your jars or glasses without touching the sides. We made spirals, swirls, and letters of the alphabet!

Next, boil your water. Carefully pour the water into the glass containers and then add your Borax (start with about 4 tablespoons). If you want, you can have your kids carefully stir the borax into the water - just remember that it's going to be hot! once the Borax is dissolved, check and see if there is sediment at the bottom of the glass. If not, add more Borax and stir.

Tie a string around your pipe cleaner shapes and then tie them to the pencil. Then lower the pipe cleaner shape into the glass, resting the pencil on top to keep it from falling in. Make sure that the pipe cleaner shape does not touch the bottom of the container (if it does, pull your shape out and shorten up the string).Let your containers sit undisturbed for 24 hours. Crystals should start to form in an hour or two as the water cools down. You can tell your kids that the hot water is able to hold more of the Borax, so as the water gets cold Borax is released and crystals form on the pipe cleaners!

After 24 hours (or earlier if you are impatient), pull your new ornaments out of the liquid, dry them off, and admire their crystally, frosty beauty!These not only make pretty ornaments, but would be lovely hanging in a window or tied to a package!
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  1. What a great idea. Where can you get a box of borax?

  2. Any grocery store should carry borax in the laundry aisle...but I have a question about the stability of the ornaments. Are the crystals firm and difficult to, would you be able to use these year after year?

  3. @Kat, yep most stores should carry Borax, although we've found that not all do. You may have to go to a couple stores.

    @CRUMBS, we were worried about the crystals just falling off, but they are really hard! You could definitely use them year after year! :)

  4. We made these today, we will see how they turn out tomorrow. I can tell you that after a few hours you can tell which one we did not put enough borax in and which one we put to much borax in. Thanks for the great idea!

  5. Those are so much fun! Thanks for the great idea, I'll be linking.

  6. What a fun idea for kids - I'm going to pass this on to my sister-in-law, who homeschools her kids. I bet this would be the perfect holiday science project :)

  7. Science and craft all in one! Love the idea.

  8. Some of ours are 8 years old--I wrap them in tissue from year to year, and they still look lovely!

    A certain little Ethiopian I live with is going to love making crystal letters--we've only ever made snowflakes--thanks!

  9. These are so cute! I love this idea~!