This project was originally published in November 2013.
These two-ingredient crystal snowflakes will transform your house into a winter wonderland overnight.
What you’ll need:
–Borax laundry detergent booster (I found it in the laundry aisle at Target for $5)
–pencil or chopstick
Step 1. Form your pipe cleaners into snowflake shapes. One long pipe cleaner can be cut into six pieces to make a simple star, or you can get fancier if you want. (Just remember that your snowflakes can’t be taller or wider than the container you’re going to pour your Borax solution into.)
If you want to make long, straight icicles, that’s even easier. Just make sure you have a container tall enough that will hold the pipe cleaners without them touching the bottom.
(When I found a pack of pipe cleaners in all those wintry blues and I swear I heard a choir of angels sing.)
Step 2. Use string to tie your snowflakes onto a pencil or chopstick–anything long enough to span the container you’re using.
Step 3. Mix up a batch of Borax solution: 1/3 cup of Borax to 2 cups of boiling water. Stir the mixture until the Borax is dissolved, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Step 4. Submerge your pipe cleaner snowflakes in the Borax solution, making sure they don’t touch the sides or bottom of your container, or each other if you’re doing multiple snowflakes in one pot.
Step 5. Now make like Ron Popiel and “Set it and forget it!” Carry on about your merry way, go to sleep, and when you wake up the next morning check out your awesome crystal snowflakes!
These are a fun little science project, and kids will love that they’re not too fragile to touch and they’ll never melt away. If you’re doing an activity advent calendar, this is a perfect afterschool project. Older kids might want to experiment with different concentrations of Borax solution, leaving the pipe cleaners in the solution for different amounts of time, putting different materials in the solution and seeing what will crystallize (this is my current obsession), and seeing what happens if they try adding food coloring or glitter to the mix.
When you’re done, these look brilliant on a Christmas tree or hanging along a window, and they also add an extra little something to gift wrapping.
These are my favorite things right now. Well…these or the craft coming up for next week. I can’t wait to show you.
If you like this, you might also like my other winter/holiday/Christmas crafts. Click for the list!