How To Make Heart-shaped Borax Crystals

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I love crafty experiments! And when I saw this cool crafty experiment of making borax crystal snowflakes from Delia Creates, I knew I had to put a sweet spin on it for Valentines Day. With just a few simple ingredients, it is actually quite easy and satisfying to make lovely crystal ornaments. The first ingredient you will need is something called borax.

 

But what is Borax?

Borax is a common household chemical or substance. A box of Borax can be found in your local grocery store in the cleaning aisle and is most commonly used as a laundry booster or household cleaner.

What happens when you combine boiling water and Borax?

When mixed together and left overnight, or for a number of hours as the water cools, it creates crystals.

But how does Borax and water create crystals?

Borax is actually naturally in crystal form, and dissolves in boiling water. Hot water can hold more borax than cold water, so the hot water actually becomes saturated with Borax. So when the water cools, the Borax returns to its natural state leaving large crystal shapes.

 

All you need to make your own crystals are borax, empty mason or recycled jars, boiling water, pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, yarn, and food coloring (optional).

How to Make Borax crystals tutorial

First create shapes with pipe cleaners. I started with white pipe cleaners and my tween and I made a couple hearts, a snowflake, and a corkscrew shape.

Next, attach each pipe cleaner shape onto a popsicle stick with some yarn. This is how your shapes will hang into the borax solution.

Then you will want to fill your jars with hot boiling water and add about 1/3 cup of borax into it. Stir to dissolve. Add food coloring if desired to create colored crystals.

Finally, place your hanging shapes in the jar solutions and let set overnight. In the morning, crystals will have formed all around your pipe cleaners, and on the bottom of the jar. Remove and place on paper towels to dry.

 

I really loved how they turned out. The pastel colored crystal shapes were beautiful, but I knew I wanted to try and get a deeper red heart for Valentines Day. I created second batch using red pipe cleaners.

Making Borax Crystals DIY

I think I like both? The purity of the white crystals is so pretty paired with a pretty pink ribbon, and the boldness of the red screams Valentines Day.

To finalize the Borax crystal decorations, I cut each shape off of the popsicle stick, and attached thin ribbon and bakers twine onto the top of each shape on the yarn. I trimmed off the excess yarn that wasn’t needed, and added a pretty ribbon bow at the top of each heart or shape. LOVELY!

borax crystal decorations

Borax crystal heart decoration

Red Borax Crystal heart craft

These were so simple to make, my daughter and I couldn’t stop making more shapes to try.

These look really pretty hanging on a window as a window decoration, with the sun shining through the crystals.

borax crystal window decorations clubchicacircle

making borax crystal hearts

We also found that the longer we left them in the jars, the more crystals formed as the water evaporated. And the more food dye we used, the deeper the color of the crystal. We changed over our puffy paint snowflakes to sparkly crystal hearts. = )

And, you will get crystallization on the bottom of the jars, but just add some hot water back into them, and I used a knife to just break them up a little bit, and they came right out.

Try this fun craft with your kids. After the homework is done, grab some pipe cleaners, jars, and borax and make your own homemade borax crystal ornaments.

Speaking of pretty hearts, here in another great Valentine’s craft idea from Crafts by Amanda. I love these Polka Dot Heart Buckets. I think they turned out so cute!

Dotted-Heart-Valentine-Buckets

Happy crafting!

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Pauline Molinari

I'm the crafty maven, and I'm on a mission to spread craftiness. With a fine arts degree, over 15 years experience in children's publishing, and a savvy, stylish, sassy tween daughter, I come armed with perspective and passion to inspire tween girls and their mothers to be crafty together. 

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  54 comments for “How To Make Heart-shaped Borax Crystals

  1. Tonya Dirksen
    January 15, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    These hearts are so pretty! We definitely need to try this. Thanks for sharing the idea!

  2. Mary Neiderlander
    January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

    I remember these Candycanes that we always put on our Christmas tree growing up but I never have seen them again. I am going to try doing this and make the candy canes. They always looked so pretty with the Christmas lights on the tree. By any chance do you know what the life span of the crystals are and how should they be stored? Thank you Mary

  3. January 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

    Any guidelines for safe handling of borax, especially with kids? I always thought it was pretty nasty stuff, am I mistaken?

  4. January 20, 2013 at 11:26 am
    • January 21, 2013 at 6:37 pm

      Thanks for looking up the research, and finding that borax is safe to craft with.

  5. Katie
    January 21, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Popped over from Pinterest. I love this idea as cute Valentines gifts for classes. Do you know the life span? Do the crystals fall off if they are bumped? Just curious if they would be “sturdy” enough to take them to school to give out in a 1st grade class? We always do homemade valentines and this one looks fun and cute!

    • January 21, 2013 at 6:35 pm

      This would be a super cute classroom project. The crystals actually hold up pretty well. My hearts still look fabulous in our family room window. A couple of crystals will fall off, but for the most part they still very much intact and beautifully sparkly. = )

      • January 25, 2013 at 7:38 am

        I believe you can also do this with sugar & water to make rock candy! I’m just not sure of the sugar to water ratio but I’m sure you can find that with a little research!

  6. Julie
    January 22, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    These make great shamrocks,green 3leaf covers for St Patties Day. I like all of yours well done.

  7. leanne
    January 23, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I’m making these tonight! If all goes well, I’m going to make a bunch for my son’s class valentines! Thanks for sharing!

  8. January 23, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    This is so great! I know that my daughter will really enjoy creating this with me after school. We’d love for you to share on our After School LInk UP. Here’s the link. http://www.theeducatorsspinonit.blogspot.com/search/label/Afterschool%20Express

  9. Danielle
    January 25, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Hey what a fabulous idea!!I live in the UK and we don’t have access to this borax detergent.is there any other substitute you could use instead of using borax? Really want to make these!
    Thanks xx

    • February 13, 2013 at 8:49 am

      Hi Danielle,
      I don’t know of an exact replacement for Borax. Has anyone else tried a different compound and successfully gotten crystals? Comment if you have.

      • Chrissie
        February 5, 2014 at 7:01 am

        I have heated water and added sugar stirring it up until it the sugar starts building up on the bottom of the jar. It will take a few days, but crystals will grow on whatever you have left in the jar. This is how rock candy is made, on a stick or string. You can color it or leave it plain. As some children may have eaten rock candy in the past, I would forego the borax and use sugar in case some little ones want to lick things. (as they are prone to do. :) Blessings!

  10. Natalie
    January 30, 2013 at 10:02 am

    How long do these take to form? If I did this project this weekend, would they be ready for Valentines Day?

    • January 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Hi Natalie,
      The crystals will form overnight. My daughter and I made them before she went to bed one night, and the next morning they were beautiful crystals. = )

  11. January 31, 2013 at 5:41 am

    Wow! I’ve never seen this before! What a neat idea, with great results…I can’t wait to give it a try!

  12. Beth
    February 1, 2013 at 3:18 am

    We put these together last night and when I got up this morning nothing had happened. So disappointed. What did I do wrong?!?! How do you mess up boiling water and borax?! :-(

    • February 1, 2013 at 10:53 am

      Hi Beth, thanks for commenting. The one thing I can think of that might have prevented the crystals from forming is the ratio to water and borax. I know the crystals occur when there is an oversaturation of borax to water. I’m not sure what size jar you used, but I would maybe try adding more borax to the mixture ans seeing if that works. Sorry to hear it didn’t work for you the first time.

  13. mary
    February 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

    I am going to make these tomorrow for my great granddaughter to take to school for Vlentines day. Thank you

  14. Chris
    February 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    These look like fun! My question is, can I use clear plastic disposable cups? We dont have any mason jars around, but we have plenty of clear cups!
    Thank you!

    • February 11, 2013 at 5:56 pm

      I haven’t tried a plastic cup, but I am assuming it should work, as long as when you pour in the hot water it doesn’t melt the plastic cup. Have fun!

  15. Erica
    February 12, 2013 at 9:57 am

    Just tried these in our Preschool classrooms and they out great-definitely need to make sure you have enough Borax. My question is can the mixture be used over again (reheat the water/Borax mixture) or do you have start fresh? We have lots of kids here so it seemed wasteful to dump out the mixture once the heart was made.

    • February 12, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Fabulous! Sounds like a great classroom activity. I have never tried to reuse the liquid, but I bet you are right, I’m thinking it would work. The whole principle of why it works has to do the oversaturation of the borax to water. The hot water dissolves it and when it cools, the crystals form. Let me know if you try it!

  16. Fran
    February 12, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Do you know approximately the ratio of hot boiling water to Borax knowing that saturation plays a major role to the success of these crystals.

    • February 13, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Hi Fran,
      The general guideline is 3 tablespoons to 1 cup of water, but I have noticed that for some people this ratio wasn’t high enough and the crystals did not form. But when they used more Borax, it worked beautifully. Hope that helps.

  17. Megan
    February 13, 2013 at 5:38 pm

    1/3 cup of borax to what size jar?

  18. Fran
    February 16, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Thanks Pauline,
    I’m going to try this with a grade three class.. They are going to love it as a Science experiment.
    Fran

  19. March 2, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Hi! I loved this idea so much that I have decided to use it at my wedding! I actually figured out a way to do a bunch of them in one container and also cake toppers. I sited your blog as the source for all info. Thanks for the great idea! I can’t wait to show you how they turn out for my wedding!

    http://www.kakiewedding.com/2013/03/adorable-affordable-wedding-cake-topper.html#

  20. March 9, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your project! You can see it here:

    http://funfamilycrafts.com/borax-crystal-hearts/

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

  21. Laura Mende
    March 23, 2013 at 7:30 am

    I love this craft idea. So pretty and easy. I like that you can do many different shapes, one for every holiday.

  22. catherine
    April 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    can you make jewelry with these crystals?

    • May 14, 2013 at 8:56 am

      Hi Catherine,
      I would suggest these crystals more for room decoration rather than jewelry. After time (about a month) the crystals don’t keep there same shine and luster.

  23. lorena santa maria ruiz
    April 16, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    que es borax vivo en Mexico, tu idea me parece fabulosa

  24. Holly
    May 14, 2013 at 6:06 am

    Hi, we used vases instead. One exploded because of the boiling water so we will definitely use a mason jar next time. In the morning, ours didn’t have any crystals. Have you ever had it not work? Do you think it is because it wasn’t a jar specifically?

    • May 14, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Sorry you had to learn the hard way with the hot water in a thin glass vase. I’m sure it wasn’t so much the magic of a mason jar, but just that the mason jar glass is so thick, it is used to hot liquids since they are normally used for canning purposes.
      About the crystals, it sounds like the concentration of water to borax wasn’t enough. Try it again with more borax this time.
      Hope that helps!

  25. Joy Robinson
    December 28, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    Do you know if borax crystals can be grown on just the string? O ris the pipe cleaner definitely needed?

    • December 30, 2013 at 10:12 am

      Yep, it will definitely work on string too. I just liked the pipe cleaners because I liked shaping them into hearts.

  26. January 4, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    Hi,
    We made snowflakes this way at Christmas time and my kids loved it. What a great idea to make them for Valentine’s Day.
    Thanks for sharing

  27. Kelly
    January 9, 2014 at 5:53 pm

    Can you use anything other than pipe cleaners ? For example…. How about a plastic icicle or snowflake shaped Christmas ornament instead of pipe cleaners?

    Thank you!

    • January 9, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      You can definitely use something else, but I’m thinking it has to be something that has something that the borax can sink into and make crystals, something with some sort of of cloth substance. I know strings work too, but I have never tried something that is pure plastic. Also something to consider, you don’t want something that is going to melt when you pour the boiling water over it.

  28. Mary
    February 4, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Did the crystals fully form overnight or does it take several days? I’m hoping to make these in my first grade classroom for Valentines, and want to make sure I leave enough time for them to take them home on the 14th!

    • February 4, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      yep, they should form overnight. Actually, if you start at the start of your class, they may even be ready by the end of the school day. I did them overnight and the next morning they were crystally fun!

  29. Susan
    February 10, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Has anyone tried making “ice crystal” on tree branches using a large oven safe pan?

  30. February 12, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Since Facebook is notorious for not letting page owners know when I tag them, I thought I would stop by myself and let you know I featured this post and my readers loved it! https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153811898920217&set=a.353593675216.349539.323548680216&type=1&stream_ref=10

    • February 12, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      I love it! Thanks so much for sharing Amanda! You rock!

  31. Mary
    March 16, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    I am making these possibly to hang on empty wine bottles I’m making into table center pieces. Do you think these would hold up during transportation of taking these to a reception hall building? Allowing my guests to then take them home & hate to see them break apart.
    Also, long term, how long do the crystals last? Since you posted this quite some time ago, do they still look nice?

  32. August 5, 2014 at 5:24 pm

    Great DIY! Loved the idea! I don’t know if we have that stuff here but I want to try this!

    http://carinasaysbradshaw.blogspot.com

  33. Rachel
    November 23, 2014 at 3:40 pm

    Do you put 1/3 cup of borax in each jar?

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