Why grow DIY borax crystals you ask? My son is big into treasures because of a school project that had his class defining and collecting treasures. Since then he has been collecting rocks, crystals, sticks, and anything shiny to keep in his treasure jar. The jar is almost full, and I decided growing some crystals would be an awesome project to add to his shiny collection. The crystals turned out to be beautiful, fun, and educational. Both of my kids brought their crystals to school for show and tell and the best parts are that they were easy to make, affordable, and we made them together! You can easily make DIY borax crystals too with materials you likely already have at home.
- You could use sugar or alum powder as well and the rest of the needed materials and steps would be the same. I chose borax because it was readily available and sugar seemed like a magnet for the ants that I’m already trying to eradicate from my home. Both alum powder and borax may be available cheaper through Amazon if you’re willing to wait for shipping.
- Borax is NOT edible, so if your kids will be unable to keep the crystals out of their mouths then I recommend using sugar or Alum powder instead.
- Pipe Cleaners
- AliExpress.com Product – 100pcs Montessori Materials Plush Toy Children Early Educational Toy Kids Pipe Cleaner Toy Gift Colorful DIY Art Crafts
- Definitely cheaper if you buy online, Amazon has faster shipping than AliExpress, but AliExpress is much cheaper. The crystals will take on the color of the pipe cleaner.
- Fishing line or string
- Stick or pencil
- I used wooden coffee stirrers, but anything longer and straight; even straws will do for hanging the crystals.
- Microwaveable Mixing bowl
- I used a pyrex measuring cup for easier pouring
- Boiling water
I had all the materials, including some left-over pipe cleaners, already at home except for the borax, which I purchased for $8.49 at Safeway.
- Boil 4 Cups of Water
- Add 1 cup of borax and stir
- Shape and hang pipe cleaners
- Let Crystals Form Overnight
- Let dry and cut string
1. Boil 4 Cups of Water
I’m a minimalist, so to save on the amount of dishes I used (and thus would’ve had to clean) I boiled my 4 cups water by microwaving it in the same glass measuring cup that I mixed and hung the crystals in. I microwaved the water for 4 minutes on high to ensure it was really hot. An adult should do the boiling of the water. The water can also be boiled on the stove.
2. Add 1 Cup of Borax and Stir
1 cup of borax for 4 cups of boiling water was perfect. The kids stirred the mixture until the borax was completely dissolved. If some of the borax does not dissolve and you used a microwave safe container like me, then you can just place the mixture back into the microwave for another minute and stir again until all the borax is dissolved.
3. Shape and Hang Pipe Cleaners
The pipe cleaners were cut down to 4 inches each and then rolled into coils or balls. Basically the pipe cleaners can be formed into any shape or design desired. The pipe cleaner serves as a framework for the borax crystals to adhere to. Other shape and design ideas include stars, spirals, and letters.
4. Let Crystals Form Overnight
Hang the pipe cleaner shapes suspended within the borax solution overnight. Try to prevent the pipe cleaners from touching each other and from touching the container.
5. Let Dry and Cut String
When enough crystals have formed, pull the crystal out of the solution and let dry on a paper towel. Then cut off the string or fishing line. Viola! The crystals are now ready and look great just as they are. The crystals are solid enough to be made into jewelry as well.
DIY Borax Crystal Master Tips
- Another way to color the crystals would be to use white pipe cleaners and color the solution with food coloring or dye.
- Cloudy solution makes cloudy crystals, so be careful about adding too much borax, which I definitely did on the first set of crystals we made
- The solution can be re-heated and re-used, just dissolve more borax in the solution as needed.
DIY Borax Crystals Video
DIY Borax Crystal Geodes
We also made DIY borax crystal geodes with the same solution and egg shells. Simply make the saturated borax solution as above and submerge cleaned egg shells. To add a tint of color add food coloring. You then have the option of cracking the eggshell off of the crystal or leaving it intact.
The product links above are for your convenience and ease in finding supplies. I am an Amazon and AliExpress affiliate and as always any opinions and recommendations are 100% my own.