November 30, 2010
Make It : Borax Crystal Snowflakes
Posted by Jim Noonan
In preparation for this Saturday's Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale, I've been working on a new kit in the Professor Figgy's Fabulous Science Kits line—this one helps you grow your very own Borax Crystal Snowflake!
To make the snowflake yourself, check out the process below. It requires a few basic (and readily available) tools and materials including the simple laundry additive Borax (20 Mule Team Brand), available in the laundry-detergent aisle at your local grocery store. The whole process takes only eight to 12 hours and is fun, easy, and even educational! And the result is a gorgeous ornament to hang on a tree or in a window during the holiday season.
(For more information on this or any other of Professor Figgy's kits, visit his website.)
2 Begin with a 12-inch pipe cleaner, a craft stick, and 26- to 28-gauge wire.
3 Cut the pipe cleaner into three 4-inch pieces.
4 Layer the pieces over one another in a six-point, snowflake configuration.
5 Twist the pipe cleaner pieces together and trim five of the points to about 1.5 inches.
6 With small pliers, create a small loop at the top of the longest point of the snowflake.
7 Through this small loop, thread an eight-inch piece of wire and secure by twisting the end around itself.
8 Wrap about six inches of the end of the wire around the craft stick. Set aside.
9 To create the crystal-growing solution, you will need three cups of very hot water (heat on the stove or in microwave), nine tablespoons of borax, and a quart container.
10 Put the borax powder in the container, and add the water.
11 Stir the solution until the borax is completely dissolved.
12 Measure the length of your snowflake against the container to make sure it will be submerged but not touching the bottom or sides of the container.
13 Submerge the pipe cleaner snowflake into the borax solution.
14 Put your snowflake apparatus in a safe place where it can grow undisturbed. A full-grown snowflake takes only eight to 12 hours.
15 Once your snowflake has reached the desired size, take it out of the solution and let it dry completely.
16 Display your snowflake proudly on your tree!
17 For different textures and colors, try different pipe cleaners (metallic tinsel shown here) or dying the solution (20 drops food coloring) or try shorter growing times.
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