How to Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake

A borax crystal snowflake won't melt when it's warm.

Cyndi Monaghan / Getty Images

Do real snowflakes melt too quickly? Grow a borax crystal snowflake, color it blue if you like, and enjoy the sparkle all year long! This can be made overnight.

Borax Crystal Snowflake Project

  • Experience Level: Beginner
  • Time Required: Overnight
  • Materials: Borax, water, pipe cleaner, clear jar
  • Key Concepts: Crystallization, dissolving

Borax Crystal Snowflake Materials

You only need a few simple materials to grow borax snowflakes:

  • String
  • Wide mouth jar (pint)
  • White pipe cleaners
  • Borax
  • Pencil
  • Boiling water
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
  • Scissors

Let's Make Borax Crystal Snowflakes!

  1. The first step of making borax crystal snowflakes is to make the snowflake shape. Cut a pipe cleaner into three equal sections.
  2. Twist the sections together at their centers to form a six-sided snowflake shape. Don't worry if an end isn't even, just trim to get the desired shape. The snowflake should fit inside the jar.
  3. Tie the string to the end of one of the snowflake arms. Tie the other end of the string to the pencil. You want the length to be such that the pencil hangs the snowflake into the jar.
  4. Fill the wide mouth pint jar with boiling water.
  5. Add borax one tablespoon at a time to the boiling water, stirring to dissolve after each addition. The amount used is 3 tablespoons borax per cup of water. It is okay if some undissolved borax settles to the bottom of the jar.
  6. If desired, you may tint the mixture with food color.
  7. Hang the pipe cleaner snowflake into the jar so that the pencil rests on top of the jar and the snowflake is completely covered with liquid and hangs freely (not touching the bottom of the jar).
  8. Allow the jar to sit in an undisturbed location overnight.
  9. You can hang your snowflake as a decoration or in a window to catch the sunlight.

Tips for Success

  1. Borax is available at grocery stores in the laundry soap section, such as 20 Mule Team Borax Laundry Booster. Do not use Boraxo soap.
  2. Since boiling water is used and because borax isn't intended for eating, adult supervision is recommended for this project.
  3. If you can't find borax, you can use sugar or salt (may take longer to grow the crystals, so be patient). Add sugar or salt to the boiling water until it stops dissolving. Ideally, you want no crystals at the bottom of the jar.

Keeping a Borax Crystal Snowflake

Crystal snowflakes make nice decorations or Christmas tree ornaments. It's possible to save the snowflakes to use from one year to the next, providing they are stored properly. Borax will react with water in the air to form a white layer. If this is undesirable, the best way to prevent it to store the snowflakes in a sealed container with a desiccant.

  1. Gently wrap each snowflake in tissue paper or a paper towel.
  2. Place the wrapped snowflake in a zipper-top plastic bag.
  3. Add a small packet of silica gel. These are included in many products, like shoes and electronics, so most people have them. Otherwise, silica gel beads may be purchased at craft stores.
  4. Seal the bag.
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). How to Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How to Grow a Borax Crystal Snowflake." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 4, 2023).