Making Crystals

Once upon I time, I tried making rock candy (sugar crystals) with a couple of my fourth grade classes. It was a tricky experiment with mixed results. I will say that the kids had a blast. I’ve thought about making sugar crystals with my own kids lately, but just not sure they are ready and patient enough to wait the entire week or two that would take. That being said, crystals are still so fun. I set out to find an alternate….one they can admire but not eat and it has to be a quick one for the little impatient (did I say that?) I meant, inquiring:) minds!  Here are a few pictures from about 8 years ago when making rock candy crystals in my classroom!




I found this experiment for borax crystals probably a year ago. The kids loved it, and it was super fast.  At the request of my oldest, we decided to make borax crystals today! Want to make some too?

You will need:

  • water
  • borax
  • pipe cleaners
  • food coloring (optional)
  • Popsicle sticks or a pencil
  • mason jars


  1. Have kids make a design with the pipe cleaners. Make sure it will fit into the jar without touching the bottom or sides.
  2. Attach the design to a Popsicle stick. Original directions say to tie a string to the stick and the pipe cleaner. I tried this but it was too tedious for me…Just wrap the pipe cleaner around the stick. Make sure the design will hang far enough into the jar…center is good!
  3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  4. Pour water into your jars. For each cup of water, mix in three tablespoons of borax. Add food coloring if desired.


        5. Gently lower designs into the jars and lay the popsicle stick on top so the design is suspended in the jar.


       6. Crystals will start forming pretty quickly.  Be sure to set jars in a place where they won’t be disturbed.

          Check out our crystals  after only an hour!

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In about 24 hours you can pull out the designs and see what you have. These make great sun catchers!

DSC_0052     Tomorrow I will update with the finished product!

Our finished crystals after 24 hours!

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*Original idea came from Steve Spangler’s science experiment website!

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2 thoughts on “Making Crystals

  1. Fun activity! One tip (learned the hard way), don’t make your pipe cleaner design too wide. If it is, once the crystals form you can’t get it out of the narrow neck of the jar without breaking it. Another way to solve this would be to use a wide mouthed jar.

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