Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Large Decorative Borax Crystals



Many years ago when I was a cub scout leader, I had the boys try a popular science experiment of growing crystals using Borax.  We just used a string dangling in a Borax/water mixture to form crystals.  There was nothing elaborate about it - no dyes or chenille stems. And I really don't remember even boiling the water.  The crystals formed and the boys were surprised by the results. I wasn't into crafts back then.  Things have certainly changed.  While skimming through Pinterest a few days ago, I came across a picture of a beautiful handmade turquoise crystal made with Borax. I couldn't believe how pretty it looked!  So I had to see for myself and try it out. Just google Borax crystals and you'll find lots of info on how to make.  Here's what I did.

Materials needed:
Twenty Mule Team Borax
Water
Food coloring
3qt heatproof glass container
Measuring cup
Chenille stems/pipe cleaners
Twine/string
Dowel Rod
Cardboard

Begin by forming a base of chenille stems for the crystals to form on. I wanted a bowl shape so I first made a circle of fuzzy (what I had) chenille stems and then wrapped the circle with more stems, leaving very little space in-between. Finally, I shaped the sides upward and around like a bowl. Then I tied thin twine on one end and connected the other end to the middle of a dowel rod.

Next, pour 2 quarts of water into container and bring to a boil. 
Then add food coloring. I used the chart on the box for mixing purple.  I wanted the deepest color I could get so I used most of the red and mixed it with blue. I dipped folded paper towels in the mixture to see the shades of purple. 

Satisfied with the color, add two cups of Borax and stir to dissolve. Continue adding Borax until it stops dissolving and no more can be saturated. You will see undissolved bits floating.


Dip the chenille stem form into the solution to saturate .  .  .


and then dip it in again, resting the rod on top of the container and making sure the bottom and sides of the form are not touching the glass.



Turn off the heat and cover with a piece of cardboard to prevent heat from escaping.  Allow to cool naturally and undisturbed overnight.




Pull the crystal form out the next morning, draining off excess liquid back into the container.
All I can say is, WOW!


Allow to dry completely on a paper towel. 

Cut off attached twine.
To prevent moisture and heat deteriorating the crystals, apply a clear gloss sealant, and it should last for years. 


I'm really impressed and amazed how beautiful the crystals are! Can't wait to make more! 





Thanks for stopping by
and take a little time to enjoy -
Happy Crafting!

31 comments:

  1. I see these crystals everywhere these days. I am glad I stopped to read your instructions. This is something I can do with my granddaughter. Thanks.

    Barbara
    https://fairmeadowplace.blogspot.com

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  2. You're welcome, Barbara! Great project to do with your granddaughter! She will be amazed!

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  3. Gail, this is beautiful! What a wonderful project. Thanks for sharing your tutorial with us at Snickerdoodle. Pinning.

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  4. What a neat project! I'd love if you'd come share with Awesome Life Friday. :) http://rchreviews.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks, Lynda! I'd love to share this with Awesome Life Friday!

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    2. I don't want to sound dumb but what is Chenille Stems. I think stems are pipe cleaners, can't figure out Chenille thought.

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  5. This is a pretty cool idea; I've pinned it to try with my PracticeGrandBaby when she's a little older.
    I found you through the Happiness is Homemade bloghop; please feel welcome to come over & visit the 4Shoes when you have time!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mrs. Shoes! I'm going pop on over for a visit!

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  6. This is really beautiful and the fact I can do with my grandkids is neato!

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    1. Thanks, Kim! Yes, the grandkids will love making these!

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  7. Where can I find a heatproof container like the one you used?

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    1. I got it in the glass (craft) section of Hobby Lobby! It doesn't say it's heatproof - I started on a cool burner and slowly increased the heat until boiling. Check out thrift stores too for thick large glass containers

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  8. This is so cool! I'm with the woman above, my granddaughter would love doing this! Thanks for sharing!

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    Replies
    1. You're welcome! It's a fun project to do with kids!

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  9. Would the crystals burn if used on an oil lamp or candle?

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't use around real heat or moisture. It would melt.

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  10. Awesome! Adding to my Pinterest board. The kids will love this.

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  11. Wow, I'm just amazed. This is definitely something to try. Visiting from The Scoop.

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  12. This is way awesome! I want to do this with my son. Thanks for sharing with us at Snickerdoodle. Pinning and Stumbling. Hope you have a fabulous week Gail!
    ~Laurie

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  13. Does it have to be a glass container - can it not be done in a stockpot?

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    1. Everything I've read about making these say use a glass container, but I don't see why any type of pot wouldn't work. Just make sure the stem form isn't touching the sides or bottom.

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  14. This is beautiful and you have definitely piqued my interest. Thank you for sharing with us this week at Celebrate Your Story, have a great weekend.

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  15. Hi Gail ... this is beautiful. I thought it was the "real thing". I am very impressed. I will pass this on to my daughter for a project with her grand children. I need to visit your blog more often. I signed up to get your emails so I won't miss all the fun stuff you are doing.

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  16. Que trabajo tan interesante y que bonito ha quedado.
    Gracias por enseñarnos tantas técnicas. Me encanta¡¡
    Besos

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  17. Wow! That's so neat that you can make cool crystals from borax. Thanks for sharing this.

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  18. I didn't know about making crystals from borax. My grandson is going to love it.

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  19. That is amazing! We have made borax crystal ornaments before but we never tried adding food coloring or making such large crystals.

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