Making snowflakes, stars, reindeers, virtually any shape you like with borax is fun and easy to do. It is great for making your own decorations for christmas to hang on the christmas tree or around the house. Why not give to friends and family as presents. How about giving your best friend their name in borax crystals.
Please note: As borax is dangerous if swallowed and you will be working with hot water it is important that children are supervised at all times.
Ingredients needed to make your own borax crystals:
People have been using balls as toys for a long time, but the bouncy ball is a more recent innovation. Bouncy balls were originally made of natural rubber, though now bouncy balls can be made of plastics and other polymers or even treated leather. You can use chemistry to make your own bouncy ball. Once you understand the basic technique, you can alter the recipe for the ball to see how the chemical composition affects the bounciness of the ball, as well as other characteristics.
The bouncy ball in this activity is made from a polymer. Polymers are molecules made up of repeating chemical units. Glue contains the polymer polyvinyl acetate (PVA), which cross-links to itself when reacted with borax.
What You Will Need:
Spoon or craft stick to stir the mixture
2 small plastic cups or other containers for mixing
zip-lock plastic bag
Label one cup ‘Borax Solution’ and the other cup ‘Ball Mixture’.
Pour 2 tablespoons warm water and 1/2 teaspoon borax powder into the cup labelled ‘Borax Solution’. Stir the mixture to dissolve the borax. Add food colouring.
Pour 1 tablespoon of glue into the cup labelled ‘Ball Mixture’. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the borax solution you just made and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.
Allow the ingredients to interact on their own for 10-15 seconds and then stir them together to fully mix. Once the mixture becomes impossible to stir, take it out of the cup and start moulding the ball with your hands.
The ball will start out sticky and messy, but will solidify as you knead it.
Once the ball is less sticky, go ahead and bounce it.
You can store your plastic ball in a sealed zip lock bag when you are finished playing with it.
The foam is like silly putty with polystyrene beads in it, that children can mould into different shapes. You can sculpt with it or use it to coat other objects. You can store it to reuse it or allow it to dry, if you want permanent creations. It’s a lot of fun. As with silly putty, it’s very safe, though anything containing food colouring can stain surfaces. Don’t eat the Foam. Although the polystyrene beads are not toxic, they simply aren’t food.
Stir the Borax and 80ml of water together in a bowl until the Borax is dissolved. Add small amounts of Borax to the mixture to make it thicker or use up to 80ml of additional water to make it thinner.
Use PVA glue to hold the shape of the final product. Pour the glue and 80ml of water into a separate bowl and mix well. Split this mixture in half before you add the colouring. You should end up with two different colours. Stir in the food colouring one drop at a time until the desired colour is reached.
Open the two plastic bags and place half of the polystyrene beads in each bag. Use one bag for each colour. Pour half the Borax mixture in each bag. Next add half the colour glue mix to each bag. Add more beads or water if the final product is not the desired consistency.
Seal the bags, making sure the air has been removed. Knead the mixture in each bag until it is blended. Check the mixture in the bag after it has rested for 20 minutes and knead it again if necessary.
Refrigerate the bags that hold your homemade foamy science mixture. This will keep the foam soft and fresh. Sculpt or mould the foam into a shape and allow it to dry. The sculpture may be squashed and the foam put back into the bag to be used again.
Polystyrene beads are sold as fillers for bean bags, dolls, stuffed animals, milk bottles and may be called micro beads. Another option is to use a grater to break up Styrofoam cups into beads.
Experiment with the amounts in the recipe until you find the right consistency for your craft project.
Small Jars with Lids Propylene Glycol
Egg Shell and/or Glitter
Glue Gun or Sealant
1. Use a glue gun, aquarium sealant, or florist clay to adhere your ‘scene’ to the inside of the lid. Allow glue to ‘set’ the required time before adding liquid.
2. Fill the jar with propylene glycol, it will make the snow and/or glitter fall slower.
3. Add crushed egg shell for snow and glitter, if desired.
4. Carefully set the lid (with scene) onto the full jar and seal it tightly.
5. You may wish to apply more glue or sealant around the outside rim of the jar to ensure a good seal.
Adut supervision is required if you are using a glue gun or sealant. Sealants often give off toxic fumes, so be careful!
Crush egg shells by rolling over then with a rolling pin, with the shells inside a heavy duty plastic bag.
Use your creativity! You can add food colouring, bits of costume jewellery, make figures from plastic twist-ties, etc.
You can make a decorative cover for the lid with fabric and ribbon.
Head into the kitchen with a few basic ingredients and show kids how to make a homemade Silly Putty solution out of white glue and Borax. Not only is this an enjoyable activity, but children can also learn a lesson about polymer materials and how molecules work in polymers. When you are done making the Silly Putty and learning all about the chemical processes, kids can then have fun moulding and shaping their concoctions.
1. Pour 240ml of warm water into a medium-size jar, add 1 tbsp. of borax and gently shake it up until powder dissolves. Label the jar for storage identity and future use. Set aside until ready for use.
2. Put 1 tsp. of water into a quart size, zipper bag along with 1 tbsp. of glue. Add a drop of food colouring to the mix to make your homemade Silly Putty colourful
3. Add 1 tbsp. of borax mixture to the glue and water. Zip the bag shut and squeeze the ingredients between your fingers until it forms a putty-like substance.
4. Remove from the bag after two minutes, squeeze it with your hands to desired consistency and enjoy the new Silly Putty.
5. Place the homemade silly putty in a clean zipper bag and store in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. Make a new batch from the stored Borax and water mixture as often as you like.
Tips & Warnings
Substitute the jar with an empty plastic soda bottle with cap, if necessary.
Purchase good quality zipper bags to prevent leakage during the mixing and squeezing process.
Do not leave children unsupervised while making the homemade putty, and do not allow them to taste or eat the substance.
Do not leave the Silly Putty on clothing, carpeting, upholstery or wood as it may stain.
Do not pour any of the putty ingredients down the sink drain.
Store the labelled borax and water mixture in a safe place away from children.
Make the snowflake by cutting a pipe cleaner into three pieces. You can use a coloured pipe cleaner if you want a coloured crystal snowflake. Twist the pieces together at their centres and bend the ends outward to make a snowflake shape. Trim the snowflake so that it will fit inside your cup. I like to leave one arm long so that I can hang the snowflake in the cup.
Mix the Crystal Growing Solution
Stir 3 tablespoons of borax into 1 cup of very hot water. It’s fine if there is a little undissolved borax. Pour the crystal growing solution into the cup, hang the snowflake so that it doesn’t touch the sides or bottom of the container, and allow the crystals to grow undisturbed for several hours or overnight.
Use Your Borax Crystal Snowflake for Decoration
Remove the borax crystal snowflake and use it however you like. The snowflakes make pretty decorations.