Monday, January 11, 2016

Borax Snowflakes

Last week I thought I would try making borax snowflakes with the kids for a fun project. This is something I have wanted to try for quite awhile. The directions made it all look very easy and quick, so I decided this would be my contribution to our 12th Night fun

This is how we did it:

  • We cut a white pipe cleaner into three equal sections.
  • We twisted the sections together to form a snowflake. 
  • We tied one end of a piece of string to the middle of a pencil and the other end to the snowflake. 
  • We trimmed both the string and the snowflake so that when the pencil was laid across the top of a wide-mouth pint jar, the snowflake would float freely (without touching the bottom or sides). 
  • We set the snowflake and pencil aside. 
  • We put about a cup and a half of boiling water into the jar. Grace added blue food coloring to her jar (we made a total of six snowflake jars).
  • We slowly stirred 5 tablespoons of borax into the jar. I wasn't sure what borax was exactly. Turns out it is a laundry booster; I had no trouble finding it at the store.
  • We put the snowflake back in the jar, with the pencil across the opening. 

We were supposed to have beautifully crystallized snowflakes the  next morning, according to the directions, so I was pretty excited to get up and take a peek. But what did happen was...pretty much nothing. In fact, it was only this morning - five days later - that crystals are beginning to form on our snowflakes.

 I did a little internet sleuthing and found this site, which says it can take two weeks to form good crystals. The same site recommends making a super-saturated solution by mixing in borax until no more will dissolve. We did not do that, and if we try it again (which we will, if this doesn't work!), we will do it that way.

I'll let you know how this little experiment works out and post a photo once we have something going on.

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