How to Grow Crystals for Christmas Decorations

by Sarah - Craft Invaders

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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