Grow Your Own Crystal Snow Flake

Use borax solution to easily grow a delicate crystal snowflake

Grow a crystal snowflake as a pretty Christmas decoration... A great hands-on chemistry project for the festive season.

Suitable for kids aged 4+

You Need:
  • A Wide Mouth Jar
  • Pipe Cleaner (white, silver or blue are good choices)
  • Borax (available from the supermarket laundry aisle)
  • Boiling Water
  • Tablespoon
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Food Colouring (optional)
What to do:
  1. Using scissors, cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.
  2. Twist the pipe cleaner sections together at their centers to form a six-sided snowflake shape. Don't worry if an end isn't exactly even, little imperfections add to its beauty.
  3. Ensure the snowflake can fit through the mouth of the jar without squishing. Trim if necessary.
  4. Cut a length of string, tie one end to the snowflake and the other to a pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the snowflake into the jar. Make sure the snowflake hands freely without touching the sides or bottom.
  5. Fill the empty jar with boiling water.
  6. Add 3 tablespoons of borax per each cup pf water and stir well. It's alright if some borax settles and remains undissolved at the bottom.
  7. For a coloured snowflake effect, stir in some food colouring.
  8. Hang the pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil rests on the top and the snowflake hangs freely in the jar. It's important the the snowflake is completely covered with the boiling borax solution.
  9. Leave the jar to sit overnight in a safe spot, where it won't be disturbed. Bumps and knock are no good!
  10. The next day, check out the lovely crystals! Your crystal snowflake makes a wonderful Christmas decoration, or hang it in a window to catch the sunlight.

Why is it so?

When borax is mixed with water, a super saturated solution is created. As the borax begins to settle out, or sediment, it begins to crystallize. You'll see this crystallization on both the bottom of the jar, and you got it, on your snowflake. The borax continues to sediment on top of the snowflake and on top of other borax crystals until you pull it out of the water the next morning.
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