Make a Borax Crystal Snowflake
Use common household items—and common chemistry principles—to grow a Borax crystal snowflake ornament. This sparkly Borax crystal snowflake makes a simple winter STEAM project. Once complete, loop string through your Borax crystal snowflake for a one-of-kind ornament. A few other ideas for using your Borax snowflakes include displaying them in a shadow box frame, hanging from a window, and gluing to a card. How will you use your crystal snowflakes?
> > Click here for a project printable for Borax crystal snowflakes.
- filter paper (or coffee filters)
- Borax (sodium tetraborate)
- microwave oven (or other heat source)
- glass measuring cup (or a 600 ml beaker)
- spoon or skewer
- petri dish or deep plate
- butter knife
- paper towels
- fishing line or ribbon
- project printable (optional)
What You Do:
- Make a supersaturated solution of Borax and water by heating about 200 ml of water until boiling. Use caution when removing the glass from the microwave, because it will be hot! Mix in spoonfuls of Borax until no more will dissolve. Allow the solution to cool.
- If you’re using a petri dish, use it as a template to cut your filter paper (or coffee filter) down to size so your snowflakes will fit inside. Then fold the paper in half 2-3 times and snip the edges thinking about where the cuts will appear when you unfold it. You may want to practice on scratch paper first to figure out where to cut to create your snowflake designs.
- Unfold your snowflakes and place them in the petri dish (or on the plate). Carefully pour the supersaturated Borax solution over the snowflakes, making sure they’re completely immersed.
- Let the snowflakes sit in the solution for an hour or longer until they’re covered in crystals. Pour off the extra solution (rinse it down the sink drain with hot water) and use a butter knife to carefully remove the snowflakes.
- You may need to use a toothpick to knock crystals out of the snowflakes’ holes.
- Place your Borax crystal snowflakes on paper towels to dry. Once they’re dry, feed fishing line or ribbon through the snowflakes, tie the ends, and hang them on your tree or in a window. Or if you’re making crystal snowflakes for gifts, gently wrap them up for Christmas!
Note: Borax can be irritating to skin, so make sure you wash your hands after doing this project.
What You Do:
Making Borax crystals is easy! First, you make a super-saturated solution. A solution is a liquid (solvent) with a solid (solute) mixed into it. Our solution is super-saturated because no more of the solid (solute) can be mixed in even when heated; it’s reached saturation. Borax crystals form as it cools. By submerging the paper snowflake you made into the solution, the Borax crystals grow on its surface.