This week I outdid myself. I did a science craft that is adorable and perfect for winter. Dear Reader, please meet Erwin, my beautiful borax crystal snowman. Please take special notice of his acorn hat.
Last month we made a whole bunch of borax crystal Christmas tree ornaments and gave some of them away as Christmas gifts. I love crystallizing stuff. It’s gotten to the point now where everyone knows the signs. I pick up some random object. I get a goofy look on my face. I start boiling water and searching for the yarn. I’m officially addicted. I need a twelve-step program to end the pattern. “Hi, I’m Crystal. You probably guessed from my name that I like to make crystals. Please help me before I crystallize my neighbor’s cat!” (That’s right, Bernie, I’m comin’ for ya.)
I’m just kidding, I’m not actually going to crystallize Bernie. But, for the record, he would look UH-mazing.
I am thrilled with how this project worked out. I’m not usually very crafty. I can count on one hand the number of times I have used a hot glue gun in my entire life. But one day I had an idea, nay, even a vision, of this cute little snowman I wanted to build. I imagined how the crystals would give him a glittery snow-dusted look. Guys, I have fallen in love all over again. With Erwin. He’s adorable.
Total Time: About 20-30 minutes to assemble your snowman and get the borax solution set up. Then several hours to wait for the crystals to grow.
Safety Concerns: You will need to use a hot glue gun and boil water for this. Just watch the kiddos!
Materials You Need:
To Assemble the Snowman:
Pom poms of various sizes
Pipe cleaners (aka chenille stems)
Various beads and yarn pieces, depending on how you want to adorn your snowman
An acorn top to use as a hat
Hot glue gun
Mug, vase, or jar
Assemble the Snowman:
- Paint the acorn top with acrylic paint. When dry, seal with Mod Podge. Set aside and let dry.
- Use hot glue to assemble your snowman. Be creative! Stick the pom poms together first. Then glue on the eyes, nose, mouth, etc. I cut a pipe cleaner into smaller pieces and glued them to the sides for arms.
- Lastly, glue on the acorn hat. Be generous on the glue on this one.
- Tie a string to the top of the acorn top and hot glue it so it’s good and secure.
- Attach the string to a pencil, pen, spoon, or other long object.
- Fill your jar or vase with boiling water. Add 3 TBSP borax per cup of water and stir. It’s okay if some borax settles on the bottom of your container.
- Lower your snowman into the hot water/borax mixture. Make sure it is not touching the sides or the bottom of your container, and that you can get it through the mouth of your container easily. Feel free to trim or bend your snowman accordingly.
- Make sure your jar is in a quiet place where it won’t be disturbed. You don’t want it to get jostled or bumped at all while the crystals are growing.
- After a couple of hours you will start to see crystals growing! Leave your mixture overnight for best results, or remove your snowman after just a few hours if you just want a light dusting of crystals.
- Let your snowman dry on a paper towel for an hour or so. Then pick it up and admire it in the sunlight. Grab your magnifying glass to get a closer look at your crystals!
- Name your snowman. Display him proudly. Take a picture and post it on the Science Kiddo Facebook page for us all to enjoy!
The word crystal actually refers to any material that is arranged in an ordered form. Some crystals (like borax) are arranged into little cubes. Other crystals (like snowflakes) have six different arms. You can make crystals from many substances including salt, sugar, baking soda, borax, and epsom salt.
More borax dissolves in hot water than in cooler water, which creates a supersaturated solution. This is unstable. As the solution cools down the little borax particles come out of solution and crystallize easily.
I can’t wait to see your snowy snowman and to hear what you name him! Be sure to post a picture on my Facebook page so we can all enjoy your creation 🙂
So now you have a big box of borax. What else can you do with it? How about making some slime? Or crystallizing more stuff like I’ve been doing all week? Let me know what you are up to in the comments!
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powered by TinyLetterThis post is part of the A-Z STEM Series. Every day during the month of January we will be bringing you tons of awesome science, technology, engineering, and math activities to do with your kids! By the end of the month you’ll have over 50 STEM activities to keep your kids busy learning.