This Christmas Science Experiment: Borax Crystal Ornaments article is one of our most popular holiday articles, and we understand why! It’s a way to add some hands-on fun to your holiday homeschool and, at the same time, to create holiday memories and do a science experiment!
We usually share hands-on ideas for elementary ages on Only Passionate Curiosity and for middle and high schoolers (along with homeschool humor!) on Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. But this holiday science experiment is one we published years ago, and because folks love it so much, we want to share it with you again this year.
Why? Because, even if you take a break from formal homeschooling during the holidays, it’s still easy to help your kids keep learning!
Have you ever heard of making Borax crystal ornaments from Borax and pipe cleaners? If not (or even if you have!), keep reading to find out how. It’s lots of fun, super easy, and it’s a great way to spend some time being creative with your kiddos and learning something fun at the same time!
Christmas Science Experiment: Borax Crystal Ornaments
This Christmas science experiment takes a little while (a few hours or overnight), but it’s worth it to wow your kids with how Borax makes crystals out of pipe cleaner ornaments. It’s a little like how the Word of God makes us more sparkly—if we stick with it!
- box of Borax detergent (found in the cleaning items aisle in most grocery stores)
- hot water
- wide mouth jars such as Mason Jars (or you can use clean glass pickle jars, etc.)
- pipe cleaners (whatever color you like)
- Shape various Christmas ornaments using pipe cleaners. For example, shape pipe cleaners into a stocking, star, or cross. Note: The shapes must fit into the jars.
- Tie a string to the top of the ornament.
- Fill jars with hot water.
- Add three tablespoons of Borax per cup of water that you added to each jar. Mix it well. (For example, if you use 3 cups of hot water in your jar, you’ll need 9 tablespoons of Borax for that jar.)
- Lower the string so that the ornament is completely covered. Then tie the string around the top of the open jar to keep it in place. Note: You’ll want to be sure the ornament isn’t touching the edges of the jar.
- Leave the ornaments in the water for at least several hours or overnight.
- The next day, the Borax will have crystallized in the water and become attached to the pipe cleaner ornaments.
Explanation for the Science Behind Borax Crystal Ornaments
Borax is an example of a crystal. Salt, sugar, and Epsom salts are other examples. Hot water molecules move away from each other. When you add Borax, the molecules make room for borax crystals to dissolve. But a point of saturation can be reached, meaning there will be some remaining crystals. As this water cools, the water molecules move closer together again. Crystals begin to form and build around another item in the water, such as the pipe cleaner. This is especially true as the water evaporates.
The Borax crystals are a little like God’s Word. We can read the Bible, and it doesn’t seem to make much difference in our lives—not right away. But the Word of God sinks in slowly. We have to have patience. Our walk with the Lord is life-long. Philippians 1:6 says you should be “confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Someday we can be assured of being complete–like beautiful ornaments–if we read God’s Word regularly even though we might look like plain old pipe cleaners while we’re reading at first!
Take a look at this video showing how to make borax crystal ornaments!
This video by yoyomax12 demonstrates how to make borax crystal ornaments. It really is easy!
Want to give it a try without borax?
Or, if you don’t have borax and want to go ahead and make your crystal ornaments right away, you can take a look at this article by Steamsational.com to find out How to Make Pipe Cleaner Crystals Without Borax! If you choose to make ornaments without borax, keep in mind that there won’t be as many crystals, and they won’t look quite as fancy and sparkly, but it’s definitely an option if you don’t have borax and don’t want to wait to make your ornaments.
How about making some borax crystal flowers for Mother’s Day or another occasion?
You can make borax crystal ornaments or flowers (or whatever!! Use your imagination!) any time for any occasion (or no occasion at all). Just keep in mind that, if you decide to make borax crystal flowers, you’ll need to use artificial flowers since real flowers will be ruined by the hot/boiling water that’s necessary for this project. Take a look at this article explaining How to Make Crystal Flowers if you’d like to give it a try.
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