Borax Crystal Ornaments

Is it Christmas time already?

The decorations are out, and the carols are playing.

It’s time to deck the halls, and what better way to do so than with beautiful, homemade borax crystal ornaments?

These intricate crafts add a special touch to your Christmas tree and provide a fantastic opportunity for a fun science experiment that the entire family can enjoy.

This is not just an ordinary crafting session – it’s an educational adventure, blending art and science in a unique way that excites the mind and kindles creativity.

Kids will learn some science while decorating the Christmas tree with the ornaments they create.

The experiment will use a saturated solution made out of Borax powder.

The magic of this experiment lies in its main ingredient- borax powder, a versatile compound commonly found in laundry detergents.

In this experiment, we will transform the unassuming borax powder into delicate, shimmering crystals, which serve as the core component of our beautiful ornaments.

Despite what you might have heard, this compound is not toxic.

This is a perfectly safe experiment for kids under adult supervision. You can easily find Borax powder in the washing machine detergent aisles.

Indeed, it shouldn’t be ingested, much like many household substances, but it’s safe to handle, especially under adult supervision.

Are you worried about the Borax compound being toxic?

For further reassurance, you can find many resources debunking the misconception that borax powder is as harmful as boric acid, its toxic cousin.

Check out this article that explains how people confuse Borax for toxic boric acid.

crystal ornament science experiment

Borax Christmas Ornaments

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Active Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 30 minutes

Here is an easy Christmas ornament craft by growing borax crystals. It's super simple and fast. It can be done within hours.


  • Borax (found in laundry section)
  • colorful pipe cleaners
  • water
  • twine


  • wide-mouth jar or glass
  • a pencil or stick that is longer than the glass/jar's opening
  • imagination :)
  • adult supervision


  1. Bend a pipe cleaner into the shape you want to make a crystal out of. This is the step you can use your imagination.
  2. Fill the glass with water to around three quarters full. Then use a measuring cup to measure the amount of water used.
  3. Boil the water in a pan under adult supervision.
  4. Carefully pour the boiling water into the glass.
  5. Dissolve plenty of Borax into the hot water. For each cup of water, I used 3 tablespoons of Borax.
  6. Stir the water until all the powder has dissolved or the powder left at the bottom cannot dissolve further. This phenomenon is called saturation.
  7. Tie the shape you've made onto a twine. Hang it using the pencil or stick and put it into the Borax solution. Make sure the pipe cleaner is fully submerged and not touching the side of the glass.
  8. Put the glass in an area where it won't be disturbed for the next few hours.
  9. Crystals should start forming immediately and a layer of crystals will cover the pipe cleaner completely within 3-4 hours.
    Unlike growing crystals using sugar or salt, crystallization using Borax is relatively fast. Crystals can be seen forming as early as two hours after the glass is set aside.


One of the most salient properties of water is its ability to dissolve other materials. In this experiment, Borax powder was dissolved into the water until the solution is saturated, meaning no more powder can be absorbed by the water.

Water can dissolve more powder when it is hot. As the water cools, the powder starts to solidify, i.e. turning from a liquid form into a solid form. The precipitated solid sticks together and form crystals

What will borax crystals stick to?

The borax crystals can stick to pipe cleaners very well. They can also stick to other materials such as twines, eggshells, and glasses.

christmas tree shape ornament made of borax crystals

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The Functioning Mechanism

Let’s delve into the nitty-gritty of the science behind our borax crystal ornaments.

We will grow crystals from a basic borax solution. It’s a captivating scientific process that you can observe firsthand.

This craft is not only a chance for children to make something beautiful but an opportunity to learn about saturation, solubility, and crystallization – fundamental scientific principles.

You begin with metal pipe cleaners, which can be molded into various shapes according to your creativity.

These pipe cleaner shapes are then suspended in a borax solution. It is a mixture of borax powder and hot water, prepared by dissolving tablespoons of the compound in boiling water.

The glass jar or mason container should have a wide enough mouth to accommodate the pipe cleaner shape.

When the hot borax mixture is ready, a piece of string, perhaps a kite string or any random string hanging around, is used to suspend the pipe cleaner shape in the solution.

A craft stick is perfect for this job, as it easily rests on the jar or glass. It’s then left undisturbed for a couple of hours.

The compound (Borax) undergoes dissolution when exposed to hot water. Similar to other minerals and solids, the solubility of it diminishes as the water temperature decreases.

The hot water molecules interact with the borax molecules, causing them to disperse uniformly throughout the water, creating a saturated solution.

When the Borax-water mixture is cooled, the water’s capacity to retain it decreases, resulting in precipitation from the solution.

Thus, it can no longer hold the same amount of it, and the excess borax molecules gather around the pipe cleaner, forming a solid structure – a crystal.

The precipitation phenomenon leads to the formation of crystals that manifest as aesthetically pleasing creations situated at the solution’s base.

With each passing moment, these borax crystals grow larger and larger, eventually covering the pipe cleaner shape to form dazzling borax crystal ornaments.

While borax crystal experiments like these are classic science class experiments, they got a bit of an extra charm when carried out during the winter months, making them a perfect weekend or holiday science experiment.

Also, they can be an impressive addition to a craft fair or tree ornaments. The experiment can be presented as simple ideas for a STEM craft project.

In terms of flexibility, borax crystal ornaments have it in spades. Want to create a ‘pipe cleaner icicle’? Go for it.

Do you want to experiment with different kinds of pipe cleaners, perhaps the white ones resulting in a wintry effect?

That’s entirely possible. You can even add food coloring to the hot borax mixture, giving your ornaments a splash of vibrant color.

Remember, science doesn’t have to be all about molecules and atoms – sometimes, it’s about creating something beautiful while learning along the way. So, pull out those pipe cleaners,

For more scientific explanations on crystallization, see Nucleation and Crystal Growth.

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