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Grow your own Christmas Decorations

I recall having varying success growing crystals as a child, and it's a project I've been meaning to do with my kids for quite some time now.

 

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

 

I believe you can grow crystals from pretty much any salt (Table, Epson and Borax are the most commonly available), as well as sugar. The science behind it, put very simply, is that the water can only hold a certain amount of your crystalline substance in solution, in other words, you can only dissolve so much in it until it becomes saturated. By heating the water it has the capacity to hold more, as essentially it's molecules have moved further apart. As your solution cools, the molecules move closer together again, causing your solid to crystallise out of the solution once more. The crystals are attracted to solid surfaces to reform, so you can encourage them to grow where you want them to by providing a foreign object within the solution. For our crystals we chose to use Borax, as the crystals are reputed to be fairly sturdy once they have formed, and we plan to use ours as decorations.

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

We used a pipe cleaner, an extra piece of wire, borax (which we sourced through ebay), a glass jar and a pencil to suspend our creation from.

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

We started by cutting our pipe cleaner into 3 equal lengths, and twisted it in the middle so it would hold its shape. You could use any shape or object, although I think having a rough surface for the crystal to attach to works best.

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

We bent a little loop on one of our arms, and twisted our extra piece of wire onto it so it held firm (remembering once you suspend your object in the solution it may try to float up if not held securely)

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

Using our jar as a guide we then worked out how long to leave the suspension wire so it would hold our start in the centre of the jar (you don't want it touching the sides or bottom)

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

We heated up 1 litre of water until it was very hot but not boiling and stirred in the borax a tablespoon at a time until no more would dissolve (in our case it was 10 spoons). We then simply poured into our jar and popped in our star. This photo shows our crystals after about 2 hours.

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

 

The star on the right was left overnight, whereas the one of the left was only in the solution for 3 or 4 hours. The crystals are fairly robust, over time they can become less sparkly, and it is suggested that you paint them with a clear nail polish to prevent this happening. I believe that by adding food colouring to your solution you can grow crystals of different colours, although we haven't tried this yet. The kids are absolutely delighted with their crystals, and can't wait to take them in for show and tell at school!

 

Growing Crystals is a really fun project to do at home, here we show you how we made our own Christmas snowflakes to hang on our Christmas tree - the crystals form so quickly you only have to leave them overnight!

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56 Comments

  • Reply Coombe Mill

    So pleased you added this one to #Trash2Treasure, it is such an original idea and educational too

    December 7, 2015 at 10:12 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      It is such a great way to introduce some science into your craft, we loved this one!

      December 8, 2015 at 9:16 am
  • Reply Me, You and Magoo

    I love these! Such a clever idea & really pretty. My daughter would love to watch the crystals appear. #Trash2Treasure
    Me, You and Magoo recently posted…Children’s Craft Project: Autumn Leaves Jar LanternMy Profile

    December 7, 2015 at 12:28 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      My kids really loved making them – and they haven’t broken them yet so they are pretty robust 🙂

      December 7, 2015 at 12:32 pm
  • Reply How to Sunday Linky #10 - Monkey and Mouse

    […] Craft Invader’s grew these fantastic crystal stars, they will make excellent Christmas decorations and we’re […]

    November 28, 2015 at 10:22 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks so much for featuring us this week – let us know how you get on making them x

      November 29, 2015 at 9:59 am
  • Reply Verily Victoria Vocalises

    This looks like a fantastic craft – my daughter would definitely love this one. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x
    Verily Victoria Vocalises recently posted…Are You a Dangerous Driver Because of Your Vision?My Profile

    November 28, 2015 at 9:12 pm
  • Reply Tracey Abrahams

    This is a fantastic idea. I wish I had a little person at home still that I could do this with. I am going to share it on facebook for my mummy friends. Thanks for linking up, Tracey xx #abitofeverything
    Tracey Abrahams recently posted…I love You But…My Husbands Annoying HabitsMy Profile

    November 26, 2015 at 8:56 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      You could always make them for yourself Tracey – Thanks so much for sharing x

      November 29, 2015 at 10:02 am
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