How to Grow Crystals for Christmas Decorations

by Sarah - Craft Invaders
58 comments

I recall having varying success trying to grow 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 from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

You can grow crystals from pretty much any salt (Table, Epsom and Borax) as well as sugar. The science behind it, put simply, is that water can only hold a certain amount of crystalline substance in solution. In other words, you can only dissolve so much in it before it becomes saturated. By heating the water it has the capacity to hold more, as  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.

 

What you need to grow crystals as Christmas decorations.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

GGrowing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

Start by cutting the pipe cleaner into 3 equal lengths. Then twist it in the middle so it holds it shape. You can use any shape and object to grow the crystals on. Generally, having a rough surface for the crystal to attach to works best.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

Bend a little loop on one of the arms, and twist an extra piece of wire onto it to hold it firm. Once you suspend your object in the solution it will try to float up if it is not held securely.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

Use your jar as a guide to work out how long to leave the suspension wire so it holds the pipe cleaner star in the centre of the jar. Wrap the other end of the wire around the pencil to support it. You don’t want the star to touch the bottom or sides of the jar.

 

How to Make the Borax Crystal Growing Solution.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

Heat up 1 litre of water until it is very hot (but not boiling) and stir in the borax a tablespoon at a time until no more will dissolve. In our case it was 10 tablespoons. Then pour into the jar and pop in the pipe cleaner star. The photo above shows our crystals after about 2 hours.

Growing Crystals from Borax is a really fun activity to try at home. Here we show you how to grow crystal stars to hang on your Christmas Tree.

And here are our finished crystal Christmas decorations. 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 absolutely loved growing crystals, and can’t wait to take them in for show and tell at school!

For more DIY Christmas Craft inspiration check out our stunning Twig Chandelier and our 10 Top Tips for Making a Gingerbread House.

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

 

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58 comments

Kellie Simmons December 17, 2017 - 9:54 pm

I so love this! I would have never thought of it. I love your creativity.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders January 15, 2018 - 6:17 pm

Thanks Kellie, I’m sure your girls would love making them!

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Mary-the boondocks blog November 18, 2016 - 11:02 am

Wow this is so impressive. I love coming to your blog. You always come up with such innovative ideas. This is really original! And it will look fabulous on the tree.

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 23, 2016 - 9:04 am

Thanks Mary, that’s such a lovely thing to hear 🙂 We do try and come up with ideas that are a bit different and that everyone can have a go at, without having to spend a fortune first.

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Michelle November 17, 2016 - 3:37 pm

That’s such a brilliant Science experiment for the kids Sarah, I would love to be a fly on the wall when the kids explain to their friends how it grew so quickly 😉 They sell borax all over here in South Africa and I’m going to wowing a few little people this weekend with this experiment. Yay, I’ll be their hero and maybe they’ll develop a passion for science too. Thank you so much, pinned

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 23, 2016 - 9:01 am

It’s great isn’t it Michelle. I keep meaning to try it with sugar, because I know you can make home-made rock candy in a similar way which I have no doubt the kids would love too!

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Kelly Robinson December 21, 2015 - 1:39 pm

This looks brilliant! I will definitely be giving this a go over the festive period. Thank you #Trash2Treasure

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 21, 2015 - 6:06 pm

It’s a perfect activity for Christmas – really fun to make, let me know how you get on 🙂

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Silly Mummy December 17, 2015 - 1:55 am

This looks like a really fun idea to do with slightly older kids – will have to try to remember it! #MMWBH

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 17, 2015 - 11:30 pm

It’s a great way to show kids a bit of science while making it fun 🙂

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John Adams December 16, 2015 - 5:04 am

This is just brilliant. It is so simple. I’m going to make some of these with my eldest tonight. I shall also start following your blog. Looks like you have some great ideas. #MMWBH

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 16, 2015 - 1:43 pm

They are great fun to make, and we’d be delighted to have you following us – we’ve got some great craft projects planned for the next few months 🙂

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A Patchwork Life December 8, 2015 - 7:31 pm

These are brilliant Sarah! Loved those crystal growing kits when I was a kid. Happy memories – something magical about it. The overnight star is amazing! Really covered in crystals (great idea using pipe cleaners). Don’t remember anything I did working quite so well!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 8, 2015 - 10:06 pm

These work much better than I remembered from childhood too, and much quicker – sure we waited for total evaporation back then which doesn’t really hold many kid’s interest 🙂

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sarah December 7, 2015 - 10:52 pm

These are awesome! Thanks for your detailed explanation, it now feels like something we could do….though still have to work out what borax is!! My son really likes sciencey experimenty things….these seems like the results are relatively quick. Different colours would be fab too. I need to pin this!! Thanks Sarah #trash2treasure

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 8, 2015 - 9:11 am

Apparently borax used to be used as a washing product among other things so sometimes you can get it next to washing powder at the supermarket, but I ordered ours off ebay. They would be great in different colours and its a perfect activity for a rainy day 🙂

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Coombe Mill December 7, 2015 - 10:12 pm

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

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 8, 2015 - 9:16 am

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

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Me, You and Magoo December 7, 2015 - 12:28 pm

I love these! Such a clever idea & really pretty. My daughter would love to watch the crystals appear. #Trash2Treasure

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Sarah - Craft Invaders December 7, 2015 - 12:32 pm

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

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How to Sunday Linky #10 - Monkey and Mouse November 28, 2015 - 10:22 pm

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

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 29, 2015 - 9:59 am

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

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Verily Victoria Vocalises November 28, 2015 - 9:12 pm

This looks like a fantastic craft – my daughter would definitely love this one. Thank you for linking to #PoCoLo x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 29, 2015 - 9:59 am

She’ll love making them – you can make any shape you fancy!

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Tracey Abrahams November 26, 2015 - 8:56 pm

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

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 29, 2015 - 10:02 am

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

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Jenny Eaves November 25, 2015 - 5:51 pm

I looooove this! Going to buy some Borax tonight so we can have a go too! I wonder what effect different coloured pipe cleaners would have, will have to have a try.
Thanks so much for linking up to #howtoSunday 🙂 x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 29, 2015 - 10:04 am

The pipe cleaners do show through so different colours would be lovely – apparently you can use food colouring too which would be fun 🙂

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Pili November 25, 2015 - 10:25 am

I’m sure my girls would love these! I have some borax home so I think we’ll try!
I would love you to share it with us at the party here: http://sweethings.net/two-uses-tuesday-56/
Hugs,
Pili

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 25, 2015 - 11:51 am

They are such fun to make, I am sure your girls would love making them. Thank you for the invite – I have linked up, and found loads of wonderful ideas at the same time, what a lovely linky 🙂

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Pili November 25, 2015 - 12:16 pm

Great to hear it! That’s what the party is for, inspire and get inspired 🙂
Happy Thanksgiving!

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Coombe Mill November 24, 2015 - 12:26 pm

Yet another of your wonderful crafts made into something really special!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 24, 2015 - 2:31 pm

Thanks Fiona, they are lovely. We tried pine-cones too, but when the pine-cones opened the crystals started falling off so still trying to work out how to make that one work!

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Frances Thompson November 24, 2015 - 8:31 am

This is brilliant!! I remember doing things like this as a child and absolutely loving it but had completely forgotten about it! Will definitely be following your tutorial when my little one is a bit older #twinklytuesday

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 24, 2015 - 2:33 pm

We are going to try coloured ones next – love that that you get results with this method so quickly 🙂

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Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar November 24, 2015 - 2:58 am

I really want to try this with our kids. I think they would have such fun making their own crystal ornaments. #Busydoinglife

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 24, 2015 - 2:33 pm

My kids loved making them – we keep thinking of new objects to try!

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Laura @ Dot Makes 4 November 23, 2015 - 5:37 pm

How cool!
They look so pretty, and it looks easy to do. We’re definitely going to have to try this!

Laura xx
#HowtoSunday

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 24, 2015 - 2:34 pm

They really are easy to make, let me know how you get on!

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Katie (Growing Up KaterTot) November 22, 2015 - 12:44 am

This looks like so much fun!!! I’m going to try this with my daughter this year. Will these last for years, or do they become brittle with age? Also, are they heavy? #busydoinglife

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 2:54 pm

I’ve heard that people bring them out year after year so they must stay pretty robust as long as they’re stored carefully. They will whiten with age though so I’d advise painting them with clear mail polish if you plan to save them, and that should keep them sparkly 🙂

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Katie (Growing Up KaterTot) November 22, 2015 - 3:58 pm

Thank you!! 🙂

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New Mummy Blog November 21, 2015 - 10:53 pm

These look brilliant, great science-y fun craft! I love it, we only every did this with strings when we were little, snow flakes are a really great idea #busydoinglife

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 2:55 pm

Kids are so pleased with how these turned out – they are taking them in for show and tell next week which will hopefully inspire a few of their friends too 🙂

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Nikki Frank-Hamilton November 21, 2015 - 8:32 pm

Sarah, this is so cool. They look like snowflakes! I bet they would be gorgeous on the Christmas Tree with the lights shining through them! I’ve seen these before and the kids had a kit when they were little, but I had no idea how they were made or the chemistry behind it! This is so cool. I bet the kids loved it!!!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 3:04 pm

They did Nikki, particularly as it happened so quickly. I remember as a child waiting for water to evaporate and leave crystals behind, which was a pretty dull process. You make rock candy in a similar way apparently so might try that next, be cool to do little sticks that you could use to stir coffee with!

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Sean November 21, 2015 - 7:33 am

Wow! I have never even thought of getting the kids to craft in this way! Might have to give this a go this weekend!

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 3:08 pm

It’s great fun, we’re going to try and grow a crystal around an LED light next, and see if we can get that to work 🙂

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Licia November 21, 2015 - 12:29 am

Great idea, I love it and want to try it too. Thanks for visiting my blog. See you soon (and I apologize for my english)
Licia

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 3:09 pm

Your English is perfect Licia, I love your blog and will definitely be visiting again 🙂

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Lori November 20, 2015 - 9:57 pm

Very cool crafting idea! I loved seeing the results. Nice explanation…

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 3:11 pm

There’s lots of different ways you could adapt this once you know the process, and such a fun introduction to the science of solutions without feeling like you are having a lesson!

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Louisa November 20, 2015 - 8:46 pm

This is brilliant. Junior had a crystal growing kit last year but it got knocked over. I had no idea you could grow them from household supplies. Thank you! #pocolo

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 22, 2015 - 3:13 pm

Going to try sugar next – that’d be fun for the kids 🙂

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Baby Isabella November 17, 2015 - 4:37 pm

I’ve never seen this before wow! That’s so cool, I must try this when I’m a bit older 🙂 #LetKidsBeKids Very educational x

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 19, 2015 - 11:53 pm

It’s great fun to do – your Mummy and Daddy will love it too!

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Let kids be kids November 17, 2015 - 2:53 pm

What a great activity. I have not thought about growing crystals, but I must give it a go some time, they look fab decorations!
Thanks for sharing #LetKidsbeKids

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Sarah - Craft Invaders November 17, 2015 - 4:06 pm

The Kids really loved this activity – and it was much quicker than I remembered – you can virtually watch it happen x

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