Valentine's Day Project

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They aren't yet complete, but I thought I would go ahead and post some photos so there's still time for you to make a few before the big day.

Borax Crystal Ornaments

pipe cleaners
string (we used embroidery floss)
Borax laundry booster
water
large spoon or spatula for stirring
container large enough for your ornaments (either singly or in a group)
pencils or some other method for suspending the ornament



Gather your supplies!

  • Twist your pipe cleaners into your desired shape.
  • Attach a length of string to the shape. I ended up using 12 inch lengths of embroidery floss doubled over and knotted on the open ends.
  • Measure the amount of water you need in your container(s). I used a bucket that held about 4 quarts of water. Place this water into a pot and bring it to boiling.
  • While the water is heating, measure your Borax. I found that a ratio of 1 and 1/4 cups Borax to 1 quart of water worked well. Three cups Borax to four quarts water was too little (see photo).


The one on the left was made with 3 cups Borax to 4 quarts water in a big bucket.

The heart on the right was made with 5 to 6 cups Borax to 4 quarts of water in a big bucket.
  • When the water comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and stir in the Borax, being careful to break apart any large clumps. There should be some undissolved powder at the bottom of the pot. This is one way to know that the water is fully saturated.
  • Pour your solution into your containers. Careful now, it's hot!
  • Suspend your ornaments in your container. Try to keep the ornaments floating freely. If they are too close together or too close to the bottom or sides of the container, they might get a little stuck. (Crystals will form on the bottom and sides of the container as well.) I used a cooling rack and pencils to suspend our hearts over the bucket.
  • Allow the process to set until the water is room temperature. (Perhaps about 6 hours if you are using a large bucket like I am. Less time would be needed if your container is smaller.)
  • When cool, remove the ornaments and allow them to drip dry. Go ahead and remove crystals from the strings if necessary.
  • When giving these away be certain to note that these are NOT EDIBLE.

We decided to make enough of these for Peter's classmates and teachers and Lucy's teachers. I worried that some of the teeny kids in Lucy's class might put these hearts in their mouth, so we will simply make plain pipe cleaner hearts for her classmates.

Science and love, what better combination is there, really?

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