Snowflakes are a traditional decoration in many parts of the country during the winter months. Instead of making paper snowflakes that last for a season, young children and adults alike can create snowflake decorations that will last for years to come. Whether you're teaching science concepts or enjoying a holiday craft, making snowflakes with borax is an entertaining and educational activity. Borax, which is often used for laundry and cleaning, makes the snowflakes durable and lifelike.
Things You'll Need
1 white pipe cleaner
Wide-mouthed pint jar
3 tbsp. borax
Fold a white pipe cleaner into thirds. Cut on the folds to create three equal-sized pieces of pipe cleaner.
Place the pipe cleaner sections on your work surface and assemble them to resemble bicycle tire spokes. Twist the pipe cleaners around each other in the middle so they stay in place.
Wrap one end of a piece of white string around one of the pipe cleaner pieces about 1/4 inch from the top of the spoke. Wrap the string around the next pipe cleaner and continue all the way around the six-spoke figure. Knot the string around the first spoke, then tie the free end of the string around the middle of a pencil.
Boil 1 cup water in a saucepan. Pour the boiling water into a wide-mouthed, 1-pint jar. Add the borax, one tablespoon at a time, and mix thoroughly with a spoon.
Suspend the pipe cleaner snowflake in the borax solution. Keep the snowflake in place by resting the pencil across the mouth of the jar. Allow the snowflake to sit in the borax mixture overnight as crystals form on the pipe cleaners.
Remove the borax snowflake from the glass jar and hang the snowflake to dry for a few hours. Cut the string below the pencil to free the snowflake, then form a loop in the end of the remaining string so you can suspend the snowflake during the drying process. Replace the string with clear fishing line once the snowflake is dry so the snowflake appears to float midair when it's hung.
Add one or two drops of blue food coloring to the borax if you want blue-tinted snowflakes.
Borax is nontoxic but can cause illness if ingested. Supervise children and pets with this project.