How to Make Crystals at Home with Borax

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Learn how to make crystals with 2 basic household ingredients!

When it comes to simple science projects for kids, making crystals with borax and pipe cleaners never fails to impress. I’m not kidding, kids and adults alike find the process pretty fascinating. This is such a cool science experiment that we’ve actually done it three times in the past two weeks! Today, we’re crystallizing our initials, which we’ve made using chenille pipe cleaners.

How to make crystals with borax and pipe cleaners

You’ll love how easy this process is to set up! All you need are a few common, household ingredients and supplies, and a little bit of patience. This post includes affiliate links!

To make your crystals you’ll need:

supplies used to make crystals with borax and pipe cleaners

How to make crystals with a borax and water solution:

To make your solution, dissolve 9 tbsp of Borax in 3 cups of very hot water. We boiled our water in the kettle first, and poured it into a 2 qt bowl with a spout. Then we added our borax and we stirred and we stirred!

You need your solution to be perfectly clear with no visible traces of Borax, so you’ll need to stir for a few minutes.

You can have someone prepping the pipe cleaners while the borax is dissolving.

Prepping your pipe cleaners:

Bend your pipe cleaners into whatever shapes you want. You can make snowflakes, random shapes, crystal icicles, or like us, everyone can make their own initial.

purple O pipecleaner

Suspend your pipe cleaners in the borax solution:

When your pipe cleaners are bent into shape, tie a length of string to the top of each one.

Now, pour the solution into your jars, and suspend a pipe cleaner in each one. You can do this by tying the loose end of the string to the handle of the spoon (or a craft stick or pencil), and laying it across the top of the jar.

jars with pipe cleaners hanging in them

Make sure the pipe cleaner doesn’t touch bottom or sides of the jar.

Set the jar in a safe place, and leave it for a few hours.

When you check back in, you’ll be amazed to see how quickly the crystals start forming! I’m not sure what the actual recommended time is to leave your pipe cleaners in the borax-water, but we let ours sit over-night.

pipe cleaner in a jar of borax and hot water

The next day, our pipe cleaners were gorgeous! The crystal coating was rock hard! When two initials tap into each other, they make a tinkling sound as if they were made of china.

pipe cleaner initial covered in borax crystals

I love how the original color of the pipe cleaners looks soft and muted underneath the coating of borax crystals.

You can re-use your borax solution!

You’ll likely have lots of crystals that have formed on the sides and bottom of your jar. If you want to do the experiment all over again, just place your jar of left-over solution in the microwave for a minute or two. Stir to dissolve any crystals and yore good to go again!

If your kids are curious to know HOW the crystals from on your pipe cleaner, pop over and visit Steve Spangler!  He’ll tell you the “how and why” behind the borax crystal experiment!  

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