How to Make a Borax Crystal Snowflake

Co-authored by wikiHow Staff | Video Team Tested

Updated: December 19, 2019 | Video Team Tested

Creating borax crystal snowflakes is a fun way to do science and make something beautiful at the same time! It only takes a few items to make borax crystal snowflakes, and they are easy to make. You will have to wait overnight for the snowflakes to form, so plan ahead if you will need the snowflake by a certain time. Try making a crystal snowflake to use as an ornament, sun catcher, or something pretty to display on a shelf.

Part 1 of 3:
Creating the Snowflake Base

  1. 1
    Cut a pipe cleaner into 3 even-sized pieces. If your pipe cleaners are 12?in (30?cm) long, then each piece will be 4?in (10?cm). You can measure if you want to be precise, but it’s also okay to eyeball it.[1]
    • Make sure to use a strong pair of scissors or wire cutters to cut through the pipe cleaner.[2]
    • You can use white pipe cleaners for white crystal snowflakes, or use colored pipe cleaners so that the color will be visible through the clear crystals.[3]
  2. 2
    Twist together 2 of the pipe cleaner pieces to form an X. Take 2 of the pieces you cut from the pipe cleaner and cross them to form an X. Then, twist the ends of the pipe cleaners in opposite directions 2 times to secure them together.[4]
    • Don’t twist the pipe cleaners too much or you will have a clump of wires in the center of the X.
  3. 3
    Wrap a third pipe cleaner around the center of the X. Next, take the remaining pipe cleaner piece and wrap it around the center of the X. Distribute the ends of the pipe cleaner evenly on both sides of the X. This will connect all 3 pipe cleaner pieces into a shape that looks similar to an asterisk (*).[5]
    • Make sure the third pipe cleaner is securely attached, but do not twist it too many times around the other 2 pipe cleaners. Once or twice is plenty!

    Tip: Keep in mind that you can add more pipe cleaners and make any shape you want. Crystals will grow on the pipe cleaners no matter what shape they are in.

  4. 4
    Cut another pipe cleaner into 6 equal-sized pieces. Each of these pieces will be about half the size of the first set of pipe cleaner pieces you made. If the first set was 4?in (10?cm) each, then this set will be 2?in (5.1?cm) each.[6]
    • You may want to use a ruler to ensure that the pieces are all the same size. Hold the pipe cleaner just above a ruler and use the markings on the ruler to guide you as you cut.
  5. 5
    Twist the short pieces around the spokes for a more intricate design. To complete your design, form V shapes around the spokes with the shorter pieces of pipe cleaner. Position the short pipe cleaner about 1?in (2.5?cm) from the end of a spoke with an equal amount of pipe cleaner on each side. Then, move the ends of the pipe cleaner to the opposite sides of the spoke to wrap the small piece around it. Pull the ends tight to ensure that the pipe cleaner piece is secured to the spoke.[7]
    • Repeat this for all of the other small pieces on the remaining 5 spokes.

Part 2 of 3:
Mixing the Borax Solution

  1. 1
    Fill a glass measuring cup with 4 cups (960 mL) of hot water. Bring the water to a boil by placing it in the microwave for about 3 minutes, or by boiling it in a pot or kettle on the stovetop. Ensure that the container can hold this amount of fluid and still have 2 to 3?in (5.1 to 7.6?cm) of space at the top.[8]
    • If you don’t have a glass measuring cup, you can also use a large, wide-mouth jar to create your snowflake.[9]
    • Use caution when handling the container of boiling hot water! Use a potholder to grasp the container and move it carefully. Ask for help if you do not know how to do this safely.

    Tip: You can only place 1 pipe cleaner snowflake base into each container. Fill another container with another batch of solution if you want to make more than 1 snowflake.[10]

  2. 2
    Stir in 12 tablespoons (36 g) of borax powder. Measure out the borax powder to add the correct amount to the water. Use a spoon to stir the borax into the water as you add it. Keep stirring until the powder is completely dissolved in the water.[11]
    • You can find borax powder in the laundry detergent aisle, but make sure that the product you buy only contains borax. Do not purchase the borax powder that is already mixed with laundry detergent![12]
  3. 3
    Add 3 drops of food coloring, if desired. Without adding food coloring, the crystals will be clear and take on the color of your pipe cleaners. If you want the crystals to be tinted with color, add 4 drops of food coloring to the solution and stir it in.[13]
    • Try adding 4 drops of blue food coloring for light blue snowflakes, or 2 drops of blue and 2 drops of red food coloring for purple snowflakes.

Part 3 of 3:
Forming the Crystals

  1. 1
    Tie a piece of fishing line around 1 pipe cleaner and the middle of a pen. Cut the fishing line so that it is about 12?in (30?cm) long. Then, tie the end of the fishing line around the center of 1 of the snowflake spokes. Tie the other end of the fishing line around the center of a pen.[14]
    • A durable thread will also work in place of fishing line.
    • A pencil also works fine. Just ensure that the pen or pencil is long enough to go all the way across your container and that it can rest on the edges without falling in.
  2. 2
    Dip the snowflake base into the solution. Make sure that the snowflake base is fully submerged in the borax solution. Position the pen on the top of the container to suspend the pipe cleaner base in the solution.[15]
    • You may need to wrap the fishing line around the pen several times to make the fishing line taut and keep the snowflake upright in the solution.
  3. 3
    Wait 8 to 24 hours for crystals to form on the pipe cleaners. Place the container somewhere out of the reach of small children and pets. Then, do not disturb the container for the next 8 to 24 hours. The crystals will grow on the pipe cleaner base during this time, and the longer you wait, the more crystals there will be on the pipe cleaners.[16]
    • Let the pipe cleaner base sit in the solution for at least 8 hours or overnight.[17]
  4. 4
    Remove the snowflake from the solution and transfer it to a plate to dry. When you are happy with the amount of crystals that have formed on the pipe cleaners, grasp the pen and lift it up to remove the pipe cleaner base from the solution. Place the snowflake onto a plate and allow it to dry fully before handling it. This will take about 1 hour.[18]
    • If the bottom of the pipe cleaner base is stuck to the bottom of the container, use a fork to gently loosen it.
  5. 5
    Use the finished snowflake as an ornament or sun catcher. Once your snowflake is ready, you can display it and enjoy looking at the crystals. Use the fishing line to hang it in front of a window so it catches the sunlight, or add an ornament hook to the fishing line and hang it from your Christmas tree as a decoration.[19]

    Tip: To inspect the crystals up close, use a magnifying glass! This will allow you to see intricate patterns in the crystals.


Community Q&A

Add New Question
  • Question
    How long will the crystals last?
    Community Answer
    The crystals can last for years. I did this project with my son when he was in second grade. He is a freshman in college and still has his crystal.
  • Question
    Can I add food coloring to make them different colors?
    Community Answer
    Yes. You can also use different colors of pipe cleaners.
  • Question
    Does the color or shape of a snowflake affect the experiment?
    Community Answer
  • Question
    What can I do if I do not have enough borax?
    Community Answer
    You can decrease the amount of water to create the same ratio of water to borax.
  • Question
    Where do I get borax?
    Abigail Cosby
    Community Answer
    You can get it at stores like Walmart or any craft store. Amazon has everything you need too.
  • Question
    Do I have to use pipe cleaners?
    Community Answer
    Yes, you do, but you can find them almost anywhere, including your grocery store's crafting aisle.
  • Question
    Can I use something other than a pipe cleaner to make borax crystal snowflakes?
    Kevin Kyei
    Community Answer
    Yes. You can use cotton balls, or other things with a fuzzy texture.
  • Question
    How much water do I need?
    Community Answer
    The water and borax mixture needs to cover the entire pipe cleaner from top to bottom.
  • Question
    Can I use big Styrofoam cups?
    Kevin Kyei
    Community Answer
    You can use big Styrofoam cups as long as they can hold your hot water.
  • Question
    Should I let the snowflake sit overnight in the solution, or dip it and let it dry overnight?
    Community Answer
    The best way to make sure the crystals stay on the pipe cleaner is to let the pipe cleaner sit in the solution overnight.
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      Things You’ll Need

      • 2 pipe cleaners in the color of your choice
      • Strong scissors or wire cutters
      • Ruler
      • Fishing line or durable thread
      • Pen or pencil
      • Glass measuring cup or a large wide-mouthed jar
      • Boiling hot water
      • Borax powder
      • Food coloring (optional)
      • Glass plate

      About This Article

      Co-Authored By:
      wikiHow Staff Editor
      This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. Together, they cited information from 20 references. wikiHow's Content Management Team carefully monitors the work from our editorial staff to ensure that each article meets our high standards.
      20 votes - 76%
      Co-authors: 22
      Updated: December 19, 2019
      Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 80,541 times.

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