These crystal stars made from pipe cleaners and a simple borax solution are SO COOL. And they’re really easy to make! Leave them overnight and crystals magically form!
Borax Crystal Star Ornaments
OK you guys, I think I’ve fallen in love with another kids activity. These borax ornaments are so easy to make, and they look SO COOL when they’re done!
It takes a few hours to grow the crystals, but the actual work involved with putting them together is really fast. We whipped up our crystal stars in about half an hour before we left to visit my inlaws for the day.
By the time we got back at bedtime, the crystals had fully formed!
Video Tutorial: How to Make Crystal Stars
*Note: Scroll down for the step-by-step photo tutorial and printable recipe.
Looking for even more kid-friendly experiments to try? Here’s some of our favourites:
How to Make a Crystal Star
The full printable directions are at the bottom of this post (Jump to Recipe), but here’s what you’ll need:
- Pipe Cleaners
- A Star Shaped Cookie Cutter
- Thin Ribbon or String
- Popsicle Sticks
- Mason Jars
We found our Borax at Walmart in the section with the Oxy Clean. You can also order it online from Amazon.
How to Make a Star
Using a cookie cutter is such a great way to bend perfect stars! Or you could make other shapes too, depending on the season. If you want to bend the stars free-handed, by all means, give it a try, but I loved how perfect they looked using the cookie cutter.
Snip off any extra pipe cleaner once you’re done making your shapes. (Or you know, leave it there, and you’ve just made a magic wand…)
Then tie a piece of thin ribbon or string from the star.
Hang the string over a popsicle stick, and dangle the stars inside 2 cup mason jars. We were able to fit three stars max in the jars, but two stars was more comfortable.
You need to make sure the stars dangle freely without touching the bottom of the jar, the sides of the jar or each other.
Mix together the borax and boiling water until the borax is completely dissolved.
And then pour it into the mason jars until the tops of the stars are covered. The crystals will grow on the ribbon as well, so I don’t recommend filling the jars completely.
If you spill anything, be sure to clean it up fairly quickly or you’ll grow crystals on your counter too. And you probably don’t want to do that. Remember, borax is abrasive, so be gentle as you wipe it up.
Repeat the recipe at the bottom of this post as needed, depending on how many jars you’re filling. We made three batches for 4 mason jars and 9 stars.
I guess you could mix the borax and water together all at once if you want to, but for us, it was way easier to pour from a 2 cup measuring cup, than a large bowl with a spout on it.
We left our crystals for about 20 hours and they looked like this:
We checked on the crystals when we got back from my in-laws house, about 6 or 7 hours after we made them – and they looked done. So you definitely don’t have to leave them overnight if you’re in a hurry.
Wide mouth mason jars would work the best if you have them. The stars really harden up after the crystals grow, so it was a bit of a challenge to squeeze them out of regular mason jars. Oops!
Seriously though, how cool are these!? The crystals looked like little ice cubes growing on the pipe cleaners.
Lay them out on a paper towel to dry.
We hung ours in the window for a cute little star display.
I’ve heard that you can add some food colouring to the water to enhance the colour. That would definitely be a fun thing to try next time!
They look delicate, but don’t be fooled, they are really strong! We dropped ours on the floor a few times, and they held up perfectly.
We have these hanging in the window for now, but I think I might save them for the Christmas tree next year. Wouldn’t they make pretty Christmas ornaments??
Printable Borax Crystal Ornaments Recipe:
How to Make Crystal Stars
- Star shaped cookie cutter
- Bend the pipe cleaner around a cookie cutter to make a star shape. Twist the pipe cleaner closed at the end of the shape. Cut off any extra pipe cleaner at the end. Repeat for the second pipe cleaner so you have 2 star shapes.
- Tie the thin ribbon or string around each star, then hang them from the popsicle stick.
- Lower the 2 stars into a mason jar and rest the popsicle stick over the opening of the jar. Make sure the pipe cleaner stars aren't touching each other or the sides/bottom of the jar.
- Pour 2 cups of boiling water into a glass measuring cup. Add the borax and stir until dissolved. If the borax won't dissolve, microwave the mixture for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until the water is completely clear.
- Carefully pour the hot borax mixture into the mason jar. Fill the jar until the top of the star, but no higher. (Crystals will form on the ribbon if it's below the liquid)
- Leave them for 6 to 24 hours and watch the borax crystals grow!
I wasn’t sure what my 5 year old and 3 year old were going to think, but they had a blast. I was sitting in the chair folding pipe cleaners around the cookie cutters and their little noses were right in there as they said “Oooooo! What are you making Mommy!?”. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on the pipe cleaner stars.
And then of course we had to make pipe cleaner magic wands too. (We didn’t grow crystals on the wands, but we really should have!).
These crystal stars are really easy to make, and they look beautiful! It’s pretty incredible that it’s only borax and water! You can make them in any shape and any colour. Hang them in the window or save them to use as Christmas ornaments. I definitely recommend trying this one!
This post was originally published on February 12, 2016.
Here’s even more fun experiments to try:
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