Borax crystals 30.9.2014

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Hang real, home-grown borax crystal formations on a window or yule tree this coming December and experiment with craft pipe shapes that can be gifted to friends and family!

Picture of borax crystal formations + larger crystal tree decorations

Growing borax crystals and making yule tree decorations

To grow your own borax crystals you'll need

 An empty glass jar

 A jug & spoon

 Boiling water

 Borax powder
 NB borax substitute won't work

 A pencil / stick & piece of string/cord

 Chenile or cotton craft pipes / stems

Sharpie marker pens if colouring the crafts stems

Santa charm decoration set -

about borax safety guide from

How to make

1. Prepare your craft pipes by shaping them as desired. We made loops in the top and bottom of each pipe and then wound it around a pencil to create the spiral.

2. Colour with sharpie markers if wanted.

3. Attach a length of string to one end and hook onto a pencil, twig, or other strut that will suspend the stems above and within the borax solution.

Making the borax solution

1. Firstly please check if your glass jar/container is tempered and can withstand very hot water without shattering.

2. mix up a solution of of 1 pint boiling water with 3  full tablespoons of borax powder approx 100g and stir until dissolved. As with many laundry detergents please take care not to inhale, ingest or taste test this solution

3. Position the shaped stem/s in the cloudy mix so that they aren't touching the bottom, sides or another stem.

4. Wait and watch!      

Mix a borax hot water solution, shape craft stems and suspend from a pencil with string

5. Crystals can begin to form within the hour. Check frequently so you can remove the stem when you're most happy with the grown formations.

6. Once removed leave to dry.
Keep out of children's and pet's reach

 More crystal explanations on the science club website

7. If wanted, regenerate the solution by emptying out the majority of clear water, adding 1 spoonful of borax and topping up slowly with boiling water. This will dissolve the settled borax/crystals in your jar and enable you to make more stem decorations.

The crystal formations of borax

Turning spirals into yule tree decorations
Use bails, beads, charms, cages and ribbons to transform your crystals into uniquely pretty tree hangings.

Crush a pathways to attach bails and rings using long nose pliers
Once dry the crystals are quite sturdy. If you find the looped areas have disappeared use long nose pliers to clear/crush a path for your bails and rings to be attached.

Use stones and cones from your own garden to personalise your creations.

Gift a jar filled with all the necessary bits 'n' pieces to an interested friend or family member and invite them to join you in growing crystals. Please include a borax safety sheet to ensure the powder and resulting crystals are kept & displayed well out of children's reach.

Gift set to grow and decorate borax crystal formations
purchase a santa charm set on ebay
limited number sorry

Print a guide to include in your jar and
a jar shaped gift tag label to address your present.  

Jar guide to growing own borax crystal decorations
Jar shaped gift tag label

For safety
Concerns about the use of borax in homes and around children & pets are ongoing. With sensible precautions these crystal decorations can be thoroughly enjoyed and truly admired as they adorn thought-out branches of well positioned yule trees.

Quote from Intralabs' borax listing on  and their website

Is Borax Safe?
The short answer is Yes, Borax can be handled like table salt and short term exposure presents very little risk. Before the year 2010 you could enter your local chemist or pharmacy and pick up some borax easily. It was used for many things and hailed by some as a “wonder powder”. Then in June 2010 the ECHA (European Chemicals Agency) submitted a supporting document to the Member State Committee to request reclassification of Disodium TetraBorate, Anhydrous (Borax) and it hydrated forms because of its repro-toxic properties. Borax is now listed in the ‘Substances of Very High Concern’ list and it has been reclassified as Hazard class – Re-protoxic, Category – 1B. Any product that contains above a particular % concentration of borax (about 4-8%) should display the warning “May damage fertility” and “May cause harm to the unborn child”.

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