We’ve made crystals using Borax so many times and it never fails to work. This time we decided to make them for Valentine’s Day. These are a great gift to make for friends and family and especially teachers! They are so pretty and super easy too!
Here’s what you need to get started:
- Borax (Found in the laundry detergent aisle)
- Hot water (Obviously an adult will be needed to do this part)
- pyrex measuring cup (one that can withstand hot water)
- measuring spoons
- wide mouth glass jar
- stick or pencil (we used craft sticks)
Give each superhero a pipecleaner (we used red, pink and white for Valentine’s day) and have them shape it into a heart.
Be sure the string is the right length so that the pipe cleaner shape can be fully immersed in the jar’s liquid and will not touch the bottom. (We just rolled our string on the craft stick until we got the right height. As the crystals form, there will be a layer of crystals at the bottom of the jar and you do not want your candy cane to get stuck to it or else it will break when you try to remove it from the jar.
Add 3 tablespoons of Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle) to the jar.
Measure 1 cup of hot water. Add to the jar with borax (An adult should do this part)
Stir until the borax dissolves completely. Each one of our jars held 1 cup of water.
Place the heart into the jar with the hot borax mixture so that the craft stick rests on top. Make sure the pipe cleaner shapes do not touch the sides of the jar or the bottom of the jar. Once the crystals form, they will be hard, stiff and brittle.
Within a few hours we saw the crystals forming but the next morning the superheroes saw their sparkly hearts!
Take them out carefully from the jars and let them dry.
The crystals are strong and heavy. What a pretty gift to make!
*Note of Caution: Borax is toxic if ingested and can irritate eyes. If you have young children or pets who might ingest a broken particle, you might want to think twice about making these.
For more Valentine’s Science Activities, try:
- Love Potions
- Dancing Candy Hearts
The Science behind the Activity:
When dissolving the borax in hot water, you are creating a supersaturated solution which means you are using heat to get more borax to dissolve than you would with water at room temperature. As the water cools, the borax “falls out of solution” and solidifies (recrystallizes) on the pipecleaner and on the bottom of the jar.
To clean the crystals off the bottom of the jar, just add more hot water and redissolve the borax and then you can pour it out easily.