Crystalline Snowflakes Tutorial

7 Dec

Thoreau, in all his wisdom, once said:

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”

Borax Crystal Snowflake

But Nature isn’t responsible for these gorgeous snowflakes – not directly anyhow.

Borax Crystal Snowflake

Nope, these pretty creations are made out of just a few simple things:

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Twine or wire
  • Stick or dowel

That’s it!

Now here’s how you make it all work:

  1. Cut 3 equal lengths of pipe cleaner and 6 smaller lengths. (My long pieces were about 5 inches before folding.)
  2. Twist the three long pieces together just enough to hold a star shape. Add one little piece to the end of each one to form that peace-sign shape you see.
  3. Tie your twine – I used white floral wire in mine – around the end of one spoke. This is your hanger, both in the crystal solution and on the tree (or wherever you choose to use them).
  4. Make the solution. 3 tbs. of Borax to every cup of boiling water is the ratio I used. Pour the mixture into a container big enough to hold the snowflake forms.
  5. Tie your snowflakes to the dowel and lower them into the hot solution. Let sit overnight and in the morning, you’ll have stunning crystallized snowflakes! The just take them out and hang to dry.

Twists: I made mine with white pipe cleaners and clear solution. But you could always experiment with a couple drops of blue food coloring or even blue or silver pipe cleaners. In fact, I may just do that!

If you don’t have Borax on hand, regular old table salt and even sugar will work. And if you feel like shopping, pick up some alum – it makes way cool crystals.

I’ve decided to use my little flakes as toppers for Christmas gifts, along with fancy poms (more on that to come).

Borax Crystal Snowflakes

How are you topping your gifts this year? Share a link, especially if you’ve made the snowflakes described here!

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8 Responses to “Crystalline Snowflakes Tutorial”

  1. peggy December 8, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

    I did these with my boys probably 12 or 13 years ago (they are now 21 and 18) and they are still intact. Every year when I take them out I remember how much fun we had making them.

    • Megan December 8, 2010 at 8:07 pm #

      Oh, I’m so glad to know that they’ve held up over the years! My next project is to try them with food coloring and colored pipe cleaners.

  2. LeAnn December 10, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Can you lay the snowflakes in the solution?

    • Megan December 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

      Hi LeAnn! You can lay them down, but you won’t have the all over result of these here. If the solution can’t reach the pipe cleaners, it won’t have room to grow the crystals, if that makes sense. I used a big canister and a piece of scrap wood to suspend my snowflakes, so you can really use anything you have around the house! Good luck!

  3. Paola December 12, 2010 at 3:46 am #

    Thanks for sharing the how to, my eldest son loves doing experiments so this will be right up his ally for a fun holiday activity.

    • Megan December 12, 2010 at 5:47 am #

      Very cool! One of my science fair experiments as a child was growing crystals – it was so much fun!

  4. Alexandra December 12, 2010 at 11:05 pm #

    We did make these snowflakes, but we tied twigs from the backyard together instead. And we mixed in silver glitter to the Borax solution.

    We hung them from the kitchen chandelier…they are beautiful!!!!!!!!

    • Megan December 14, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

      I love the idea to mix glitter in! I’ve been experimenting with metallic pipe cleaners, but i think your idea is much better!

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