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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.

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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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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!

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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!

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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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58 Comments

  • Reply Kellie Simmons

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

    December 17, 2017 at 9:54 pm
  • Reply Mary-the boondocks blog

    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.
    Mary-the boondocks blog recently posted…Easy Green Christmas Centerpieces – Wrapping Up the HolidaysMy Profile

    November 18, 2016 at 11:02 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      Thanks Mary, that’s such a lovely thing to hear πŸ™‚ 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.

      November 23, 2016 at 9:04 am
  • Reply Michelle

    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 πŸ˜‰ 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
    Michelle recently posted…Re-purpose a Lunch Box and Make a Gypsy CaravanMy Profile

    November 17, 2016 at 3:37 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      November 23, 2016 at 9:01 am
  • Reply Kelly Robinson

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

    December 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      December 21, 2015 at 6:06 pm
  • Reply Silly Mummy

    This looks like a really fun idea to do with slightly older kids – will have to try to remember it! #MMWBH
    Silly Mummy recently posted…How to (Not) Make Christmas Cards With a Toddler and a Baby*My Profile

    December 17, 2015 at 1:55 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      December 17, 2015 at 11:30 pm
  • Reply John Adams

    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
    John Adams recently posted…How many clothes do you own?My Profile

    December 16, 2015 at 5:04 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      December 16, 2015 at 1:43 pm
  • Reply A Patchwork Life

    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!
    A Patchwork Life recently posted…We Three Kings…. #makeanativityMy Profile

    December 8, 2015 at 7:31 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      December 8, 2015 at 10:06 pm
  • Reply sarah

    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

    December 7, 2015 at 10:52 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      December 8, 2015 at 9:11 am
  • 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 πŸ™‚

      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
  • Reply Jenny Eaves

    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 πŸ™‚ x
    Jenny Eaves recently posted…Winter has ArrivedMy Profile

    November 25, 2015 at 5:51 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      November 29, 2015 at 10:04 am
  • Reply Pili

    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
    Pili recently posted…The Picture That Wanted To See JoyMy Profile

    November 25, 2015 at 10:25 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      November 25, 2015 at 11:51 am
  • Reply Coombe Mill

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

    November 24, 2015 at 12:26 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      November 24, 2015 at 2:31 pm
  • Reply Frances Thompson

    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
    Frances Thompson recently posted…Is it possible to have glamour in maternity & nursing lingerie?My Profile

    November 24, 2015 at 8:31 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      November 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm
  • Reply Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar

    I really want to try this with our kids. I think they would have such fun making their own crystal ornaments. #Busydoinglife
    Erin @ Nourishing My Scholar recently posted…Our A-Book-A-Day Advent CalendarMy Profile

    November 24, 2015 at 2:58 am
  • Reply Laura @ Dot Makes 4

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

    Laura xx
    #HowtoSunday
    Laura @ Dot Makes 4 recently posted…Gluten, Egg and Dairy Free CornbreadMy Profile

    November 23, 2015 at 5:37 pm
  • Reply Katie (Growing Up KaterTot)

    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

    November 22, 2015 at 12:44 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      November 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm
  • Reply New Mummy Blog

    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
    New Mummy Blog recently posted…ThrowbackThursdays – Toy cassette playerMy Profile

    November 21, 2015 at 10:53 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      November 22, 2015 at 2:55 pm
  • Reply Nikki Frank-Hamilton

    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!!!
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Sunday Photo- 11/22/2015My Profile

    November 21, 2015 at 8:32 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      November 22, 2015 at 3:04 pm
  • Reply Sean

    Wow! I have never even thought of getting the kids to craft in this way! Might have to give this a go this weekend!
    Sean recently posted…Winter interiors with Betta Living #BettaWinterMy Profile

    November 21, 2015 at 7:33 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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 πŸ™‚

      November 22, 2015 at 3:08 pm
  • Reply Licia

    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
    Licia recently posted…Calendario dell’avventoMy Profile

    November 21, 2015 at 12:29 am
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      November 22, 2015 at 3:09 pm
  • Reply Lori

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

    November 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

      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!

      November 22, 2015 at 3:11 pm
  • Reply Louisa

    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

    November 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Baby Isabella

    I’ve never seen this before wow! That’s so cool, I must try this when I’m a bit older πŸ™‚ #LetKidsBeKids Very educational x
    Baby Isabella recently posted…In the deep dark woods…My Profile

    November 17, 2015 at 4:37 pm
  • Reply Let kids be kids

    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
    Let kids be kids recently posted…Let kids be kids linky 17/11/15My Profile

    November 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm
    • Reply Sarah - Craft Invaders

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

      November 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

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