Add these crystal flowers to canvas or frame them to create a fabulous gift.
- 2 Wide Mouthed Containers
- Dowel or Kebab Sticks
- Food Coloring
- Pipe Cleaners
- Take 1 pipe cleaner and twist it to make 2 petal shapes. Repeat with another pipe cleaner. Now twist the 2 pipe cleaners together to make a flower shape.
- Cut another pipe cleaner in half and make a tightly coiled spiral with one of the pieces. This will form the center of the flower.
- Tie some thread tightly around one of the petals of the flower. Repeat with some more string around the end of the spiral. Tie the other end of each thread around a kebab stick (or pencil) so that when you place the kebab stick over the mouth of the container, the pipe cleaner(s) will be held inside the container without touching the sides or bottom.
- Put the pipecleaners to one side
- Fill the containers with boiling water, one cup at a time until they are nearly full, making a note of how many cups of water were used (ADULTS ONLY)
- Add 3 tablespoons of borax to each container for every cup of water that you added and stir until all the borax is dissolved
- Add food coloring to the borax mixes – the more color you add the stronger the color of your flower will be (optional)
- Hang the flower over the top of one container as described above, and the flower center over the top of the other container
- Leave the containers of borax undisturbed overnight. In the morning pretty crystals will have formed.
- Remove your crystals from the borax solution and place on paper towels to dry.
- Once dry, use a hot glue gun (or other adhesive) to attach the center of the flower to the petals. Then glue the flower to canvas or to card and mount in a frame.
- sciencebuddies.org have a very detailed description of this project together with information on the science behind the growing of crystals. It is worth a look: www.sciencebuddies.org
- Warning: Be sure to use caution when dealing with boiling water
- Warning: Borax is harmful if ingested: do not swallow
- Borax is a laundry detergent and can be found in most grocery stores.
- Sugar or Salt can be used in place of Borax – just add enough sugar / salt to saturate the water (i.e. keep adding until it no longer dissolves) and be prepared to wait longer for the crystals to grow
- The Science: Substances that can be dissolved in water are known as “soluble substances”. A given amount of water can only contain a certain amount of a soluble substance. Once this amount has been reached, no more of the solid can be dissolved. However, hot water can contain more than cold water. If you saturate a container of hot water with a salt such as borax, and allow it to cool, then as the solution cools the water can no longer hold as much of the salt, and so crystals begin to form on any available surface.