I have seen ornaments and snowflakes made from Borax and pipe cleaners, but I didn't want to wait until Christmas to try this fun kids activity. So I decided we would make some Borax Crystal Letters. We started out with letter "A" and thought we would make all the letters of the alphabet. That was very ambitious. We have only made "A" so far, and since the whole process is a little time consuming, I think we will just be making our first initials. If your kids love letter activities, check out how we made these Glowing Letters.
Supplies you will need:
- Pipe cleaners
- Thread or string
- Boiling water
- Glass container, large enough for the letter to hang (mason jars work well)
Borax Crystal Letters
A mason jar would be perfect for this activity since it can withstand the heat of the boiling water without cracking. I don't have any mason jars so I tested some boiling water in a vase and it was fine. Make sure you are using something that can withstand the heat. At the end of the activity there were a layer of borax crystals stuck on the sides and bottom of the vase but with a little scraping, the vase was as good as new.
Before I began, I formed one blue pipe cleaner into a letter "A."
Mix 3 tablespoons of Borax into to 1 cup of boiling water. If you have a bigger container, simply double these amounts. You will want to make sure that when you dip the letter in, it would be totally submerged.
Tie a length of thread to your letter and then tie the other end to the middle of a pencil. Dip the letter into the Borax filled boiling water, being careful not to let it touch the bottom or sides. If it touches the bottom or sides of the container then it will get stuck there when the crystals form. I had trouble with my pencil rolling, so I added tape to both ends to secure it to the vase.
Nothing is going to happen for a while. My kids kept coming by every hour looking for crystals. After about 5 hours I noticed something going on. Crystals were starting to form!
I left it soaking over night and when we woke up the next morning we were treated to a crystallized letter "A." The kids were impressed! We hung it from a chandelier and it looks so pretty when it spins and catches the light.
For little ones, this activity doesn't require much explanation. It's a neat thing to observe. I wish the kids would have been more involved in the process, but between the Borax and the boiling water I thought it was best for them to just observe. Older kids can help more and you can get into more of the science behind the transformation which I discovered here. For more ways to have fun with borax and pipe cleaners, check out Unique Borax Crystal Science Ideas for Kids.
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