Whether it’s for jewelry, decoration or play, crystals are a lot of fun for kids who are just starting to dip their toes into science. Borax makes it easy to experiment and grow crystals! These activities are designed to do with your adult and it will be fun to see how your crystals grow. Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry hands before and after. You may want to wear gloves to avoid any mess.
How Does It Work?
This experiment allows you to become real-life scientists!
Chemists are constantly creating reactions in compounds to try to change their makeup. One of these is the formation of crystals from a solution, called recrystallization. This is where a saturated solution cools to form crystals from a mixture.
In the case of Borax, the compound is dissolved in hot water. As with most minerals and solids, Borax becomes less soluble the lower the temperature of the water. So, when the mixture with Borax and water is cooled, the water holds less of the Borax and it falls out of the solution. This causes crystals to form at the bottom of the solution and makes your beautiful creations!
What You’ll Need
This experiment requires several items, but luckily they are generally pretty easy to find around the house or at the supermarket. If using anything from your kitchen, be sure to thoroughly wash and dry before next use.
- Warm water
- 2 pencils
- Pipe cleaners
- Large bowl
- 2 identical jars
- Cooking pot
How to Create Crystals from Borax
- Create shapesAt this stage, we’ll use the pipe cleaners to create the foundation of our crystals for the experiment. Take the pipe cleaners and mold them into whatever shape you want the crystals to turn out as, these will form the basis for your creation.
Be sure to select the color of your pipe cleaners purposefully. Because Borax is white, the crystals will form clear, so the pipe cleaners underneath will give them their color. To make your own colorful creations, be sure to pick the brightest colors for your pipe cleaners!
- Boil waterTake your pot and bring the water back up to boiling point. This is where you’ll dissolve your Borax mixture.
It’s up to you how much water to use, but 3 cups should contain enough Borax to complete the experiment. Feel free to add more if need be.
- Mix solutionAdd about 3-4 Tbsp of Borax for every cup of water in your solution.
Stir until the Borax dissolves in the water. You want the water to be clear because if the water gets cloudy then your crystals will be cloudy.
- Pour into jarsOnce your solution is mixed, pour into the mason jars about three quarters of the way to the top.
- Suspend pipe cleanersUse the string to tie your pipe cleaners to the pencils. Then place these pencils over the rim of each jar so that the pipe cleaners are suspended in the water.
Be sure to thoroughly wash and dry hands.
- Leave overnightThe submerged pipe cleaners should form crystals over the next 12-24 hours.
The longer that you leave them then the bigger they will grow. Be sure that none of the pipe cleaners are touching each other or the sides of the jars so that they can grow as large as possible.
- Remove and dry crystalsThe crystals should have grown around the colored pipe cleaner. Now, simply take them out of the jars and let them dry and marvel in your crystal creations!
Now that you know how to make your own crystals, you can take your experiment to the next level! There are so many shapes and crafts to try with Borax!