Crystals are fascinating, and I absolutely remember a science project I did years ago where we grew some awesome crystals. But they took FOREVER to grow! Want to know how to grow crystals with borax fast? Follow our borax crystal recipe below to grow borax crystals overnight for a cool science experiment any rockhound or science enthusiast will love!
HOW TO MAKE BORAX CRYSTALS!
Set up a borax crystal growing science project is filled with awesome chemistry for kids and it’s so easy to do! Grow crystals on pipe cleaners overnight, in your kitchen or in the classroom!
Learning how to grow crystals using borax is a simple way to introduce to kids how a crystal is formed. You can also throw in some information on the recrystallization process, saturated solutions, as well as solubility! You can read more about the science behind our borax crystal science project at the bottom of this page.
Luckily you don’t need expensive or special supplies to learn how to grow crystals with borax. However, if you want to learn how to grow crystals without borax, check out growing salt crystals or growing sugar crystals instead!
You can also use that borax powder for awesome borax slime too! Check the laundry detergent aisle of your supermarket or big box store to pick up a box of borax powder.
CHEMISTRY FOR KIDS
Let’s keep it basic for our younger or junior scientists! Chemistry is all about the way different materials are put together, and how they are made up including atoms and molecules. It’s also how these materials act under different conditions. Chemistry is often a base for physics so you will see an overlap.
What might you experiment with in chemistry? Classically we think of a mad scientist and lots of bubbling beakers! Yes there are reactions between bases and acids to enjoy, but also crystal growing. Chemistry involves matter, changes, solutions, and the list goes on and on. Here we explore simple chemistry you can do at home or in the classroom that isn’t too crazy but is still lots of fun for kids!
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Cool Chemistry Experiments for Kids
BORAX CRYSTALS RECIPE
- 8-10 Pipe Cleaners, assorted colors
- 1 ¾ cup Borax
- 5 Plastic cups
- Food Coloring (optional)
- Fishing Line
- 5 Wooden Skewers
- 4 Cups Boiling Water
TIPS FOR HOW TO MAKE LARGE BORAX CRYSTALS
Here are a few notes to get you started growing large borax crystals…
- You will want to set up your 5 cups in a location where they won’t be disturbed. It is important to keep the kiddos from shaking, moving, or stirring the mixture once you have filled the cups.
- The slow cooling of the liquid is a huge part of the process, generally we have found that glass works better over plastic. However, the plastic cups worked well this time.
- You can absolutely turn this into a science experiment by growing borax crystals in different temperatures.
- If your solution cools too quickly, impurities will not have a chance to fall out of the mixture and crystals may look disorganized and irregular. Generally crystals are quite uniform in shape.
MAKING BORAX CRYSTALS
STEP 1. Take a pipe cleaner and wind it tightly into a nest shape. To make it bigger, cut another pipe cleaner in half and wind it into the nest. Make at least 5 of these.
STEP 2. Tie a short piece of fishing line to the pipe cleaner nest, and then tie the other end of the line to a skewer. The pipe cleaner nest should hang down about an inch.
STEP 3. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil and stir in the Borax until it is dissolved. There should be a little bit of Borax on the bottom of the pan or container that does not dissolve. This lets you know you have added enough borax to the water, and it has become a supersaturated solution.
STEP 4. Pour ¾ cup of the mixture into each cup and add food coloring to the cups if desired. You do not have to add food coloring to the cups since the pipe cleaners are colored, but it can make crystals look a little bolder.
STEP 5. Put one of the pipe cleaner nests into each cup and lay the skewer across the top of the cups so they hang freely. Try to make sure the pipe cleaners don’t touch the sides or bottom of the cups. If they do end up touching, the crystals will attach the pipe cleaner to the cup. They may break off when you try to pull it free.
STEP 6. Leave your geode shaped pipe cleaners in the borax solution overnight (or even two nights) until lots of crystals have grown on them!
STEP 7. Remove your borax crystals from the water and let dry on a layer of paper towels. Once dry, you can cut the fishing line off and you have a gorgeous crystal for your rockhound to observe!
Learning how to grow crystals with borax is a fun experiment for kids to make their own crystal geodes at home or even in the classroom.
HOW LONG DO BORAX CRYSTALS TAKE TO GROW?
Let the pipe cleaners sit in the cups overnight for plenty of crystals to grow on them! You don’t want to agitate the cups by moving them or stirring them, but make sure to check on them with your eyes to observe the process. You will start to see the recrystallization process begin to happen within a few hours!
When you see good crystal growth, remove the objects from the cups, and let them dry on paper towels overnight. Although the crystals are quite strong, handle your crystal geodes carefully.
Encourage your kids to get out magnifying glasses and check out the shape of the crystals!
THE SCIENCE OF BORAX CRYSTALS
Crystal growing is a neat chemistry project that is a quick set up involving liquids, solids, and soluble solutions. Here you are making a saturated solution with more powder than the liquid can hold. The hotter the liquid, the more saturated the solution can become. This is because the molecules in the water move farther apart as the temperature increases allowing more of the powder to be dissolved.
As the solution cools down there is all of a sudden going to be more particles in the water as the molecules move back together. Some of these particles will start to fall out of the suspended state they were once in. The particles will start to settle on the pipe cleaners and form crystals. This is called recrystallization. Once a tiny seed crystal is started, more of the falling material bonds with it to form bigger crystals.
Crystals are solid with flat sides and symmetrical shape and will always be that way (unless impurities get in the way). They are made up of molecules and have a perfectly arranged and repeating pattern. Some might be bigger or smaller though.
MORE FUN WITH BORAX CRYSTALS
GROWING BORAX CRYSTALS FOR KIDS
Click on the image below or on the link to discover tons more fun and easy STEM activities right here.