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Make It : Borax Crystal Snowflakes

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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.)

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1

Begin with a 12-inch pipe cleaner, a craft stick, and 26- to 28-gauge wire.

2 Begin with a 12-inch pipe cleaner, a craft stick, and 26- to 28-gauge wire.

Cut the pipe cleaner into three 4-inch pieces.

3 Cut the pipe cleaner into three 4-inch pieces.

Layer the pieces over one another in a six-point, snowflake configuration.

4 Layer the pieces over one another in a six-point, snowflake configuration.

Twist the pipe cleaner pieces together and trim five of the points to about 1.5 inches.

5 Twist the pipe cleaner pieces together and trim five of the points to about 1.5 inches.

With small pliers, create a small loop at the top of the longest point of the snowflake.

6 With small pliers, create a small loop at the top of the longest point of the snowflake.

Through this small loop, thread an eight-inch piece of wire and secure by twisting the end around itself.

7 Through this small loop, thread an eight-inch piece of wire and secure by twisting the end around itself.

Wrap about six inches of the end of the wire around the craft stick. Set aside.

8 Wrap about six inches of the end of the wire around the craft stick. Set aside.

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.

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.

Put the borax powder in the container, and add the water.

10 Put the borax powder in the container, and add the water.

Stir the solution until the borax is completely dissolved.

11 Stir the solution until the borax is completely dissolved.

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.

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.

Submerge the pipe cleaner snowflake into the borax solution.

13 Submerge the pipe cleaner snowflake into the borax solution.

Put your snowflake apparatus in a safe place where it can grow undisturbed. A full-grown snowflake takes only eight to 12 hours.

14 Put your snowflake apparatus in a safe place where it can grow undisturbed. A full-grown snowflake takes only eight to 12 hours.

Once your snowflake has reached the desired size, take it out of the solution and let it dry completely.

15 Once your snowflake has reached the desired size, take it out of the solution and let it dry completely.

Display your snowflake proudly on your tree!

16 Display your snowflake proudly on your tree!

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.

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.

Comments (25)

  • Wow this is fabulous!

  • Just finished my first snowflake. Thanks for the easy tutorial! I'm showing my 3/4 grade classroom how to make these on Friday.

  • I can't wait to try this!

  • noooooooooooo..I visited the site and I can not buy it from italy :(

  • [...] Borax Crystal Snowflakes – The Crafts Dept. [...]

  • What a clever idea! And how easy... I love snow flakes so will have to try this method!

  • Will it be bad if I leave them in the solution for more than 12 hours?

  • Can you reuse the solution for more than one snowflake?

  • [...] crystal snowflakes at Craft Dept (via Not [...]

  • Crafter Comment:

    Sometimes if you leave the snowflake in for too long, it will grow and attach to the crystals that also form at the bottom of the container. When you try to remove it from the container, it could break.

  • Crafter Comment:

    YES! I suggest removing the grown snowflake from the container and then heating the remaining solution and any other crystals that have formed on the sides and bottom of the container directly in the microwave until everything re-dissolves. If your vessel is not microwave safe, pour off the remaining solution into a saucepan and scrape the formed crystals from the vessel also into the saucepan and heat until everything re-dissolves. Then insert another snowflake form and start growing. The second snowflake will take a bit longer to grow to full size.

  • Is Borax crystal harmful?
    How long can you keep these?
    After the holiday can you toss the Crystals into the cloth washer?
    Thanks!

  • sometimes mine don't work at all or only half work. Am I not using enough Borax?

  • Crafter Comment:

    Borax (like most laundry detergents), if injested, can be toxic. I recommend keeping the substance and the resulting snowflake away from small children who would be likely to put it in their mouths.

  • Crafter Comment:

    The ratio of borax to water is 3 tablespoons to one cup of hot water. Sometimes the best way to start the snowflake is to "seed" the crystals first. Once you create your solution, dip the snowflake form in it and take it out. Set this aside and allow to dry completely. As the snowflake dries, very small borax crystals will form. Then, once this is dry and the solution has cooled, re-submerge the snowflake form. You'll have a better base for the crystals to grow on.

  • [...] is a link for those who would like the complete instructions: Martha Snowflakes [...]

  • I made one in class like yesteday they are really cool. I have it wtih me when it drys it looks pretty and its fun to make anyway.

  • i made one in school yesterday.They are really cool.When it gets dry it looks so preety to top it all off it is really fun to make

  • I made these with a group of about 30 kids and they were definitely a hit and so easy to make! Even the kids who don't necessarily enjoy crafting liked the "science experiment" aspect of them and the more creative ones personalized the shapes of their snowflakes a bit more.

  • These are turning out great! My kids are having so much fun making them too! Has anyone tried making a dozen or so and then making a wreath out of them?

  • Will sealing them with gloss Mod Podge add to their durability?

  • Crafter Comment:

    Hi April,

    Not sure if the Mod Podge might dissolve the crystals a bit.
    But sealing them would definitely prevent them from dehydrating.
    A spray enamel might be a better idea.

    Happy Crafting!

  • [...] Grow a borax snowflake [...]

  • [...] Borax Crystal Snowflakes by Martha [...]

  • it's fun when it 'actually works'=)

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