Any child can be a scientist with this fun and interactive "crystal" snowflake project from "The Martha Stewart Show" crafter Jim "Figgy" Noonan.
Tools and Materials
- Wire cutters or scissors
- 12-inch pipe cleaner
- Small pliers
- 28-gauge wire
- Craft stick
- 1-quart container
- Hot water
- Measuring cup
- Food coloring (optional)
- Coffee filter
1. Using wire cutters or scissors, cut 12-inch pipe cleaner into three 4-inch pieces and twist together to form a six-pointed snowflake pattern.
2. Trim 5 points of pipe cleaner snowflake to about 1.5 inches each. With small pliers, make a loop at the end of the longer, sixth point of snowflake.
3. To create ornament hanger, cut an 8-inch piece of wire, thread through small loop, and twist to secure. Wrap about 6 inches of the wire around the craft stick.
4. Add 9 tablespoons of borax to 1-quart container and dissolve completely in 3 cups of very hot water. To add color to the crystals, add 15 to 20 drops of food coloring to the growing solution.
5. Submerge pipe cleaner snowflake in the borax solution, resting the craft stick across the mouth of the container. Adjust length of wire so snowflake is completely covered in solution but not touching sides or bottom of container.
6. Cover setup with the coffee filter to keep dust out and place in a location where it will not be disturbed.
7. After 8 to 12 hours, when the snowflake has reached desired size, remove it from the solution and let it air-dry overnight. Once dry, hang the ornament using the attached wire.
8. To grow a second snowflake from this same solution, simply reheat the solution (and any other crystals that formed in the container) directly in the container in the microwave for five to six minutes or until all of the borax has redissolved. Then, repeat the steps above.
Professor Figgy's Fabulous Science Kit for borax crystal snowflakes available at professorfiggy.com. Borax available from 20muleteamlaundry.com. See behind-the-scenes photos of "Figgy" preparing the snowflakes on The Crafts Dept. blog.