Make Your Own DIY Borax Crystals With This Easy Tutorial

7 Materials
30 Minutes

Have you ever seen a stunning crystal that you really wanted for decoration? If you’re like me, that desire to own it quickly dissipated as soon as you took a look at the price tag. So I set out to make my own version using nothing much other than just borax cleaner and pipe cleaners. If you watch the video you’ll see that I experimented with different colors and techniques to really get the best results. So follow this tutorial to make your very own crystals!

Tools and Materials:

  • Borax
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Boiling water
  • Measuring cup
  • Cups
  • Mixing tool
  • Food coloring
DIY borax crystal solution
Create your solution

The first thing you need to do is create your borax saturated solution. You’re going to do this by mixing 4 tablespoons of borax per cup of boiling water. I used a measuring cup to mix it and made 2 cups’ worth of the solution. 

DIY crystals with borax
Add more borax

As you mix your solution you’ll see that the borax dissolves into the water. For this project you’re going to need some of the borax solution to remain undissolved at the bottom of your cup, so as you feel it dissolve, keep adding more so that you’re left with some at the bottom.

Now I’m going to show you two different ways to go about creating the crystals. 

Prepare your borax crystal

Wind two pipe cleaners together
Wind together your pipe cleaner

The first way is to use colored pipe cleaners. So take two colored pipe cleaners (same color) and wind them together in no particular order. You just want to make sure there’s no big gaps in between them. Once you’re done, you’re just going to wind a bit of thread or string to the end.

Make DIY borax crystals
Insert your pipe cleaner into the solution

Pour some of the solution into a glass. Then wind the other side of the string around a paint brush, pen, or anything else that can lie flat across the cup, and rest your pipe cleaner in the solution. Measure the necessary length first, though, because you don’t want the pipe cleaner to touch the bottom or edges of the glass. You can put multiple ones in the same glass. 

Solution with coloring
Add coloring

The next option is to add coloring to the solution itself and use white pipe cleaners. You’re gonna wind them together the same way as the first option, and rest them on top of the glass, again making sure not to touch the bottom or sides of the glass. If you watch the video you’ll see that I first tried this with acrylic paint and it actually didn’t turn out so well. I next tried it with alcoholic ink, and that worked much better. I think food coloring would work just as well. 

Different DIY crystals with borax
Compare differences

Before we continue onto the next steps, I just want to show you some differences. Here you can see three different colors. The lightest one is the result of white pipe cleaner in colored solution, the middle one is the result of purple pipe cleaner in clear solution, and the darkest one is purple pipe cleaner in purple solution. 

Failed DIY borax crystals
Learn from my mistakes

Here you can see some failed attempts that I wanted to share with you so you can learn from my mistakes. With these I didn’t use enough borax in the solution, they didn’t crystalize as well, and you can see the pipe cleaner very clearly. My other tip would be that when you have your crystal resting in the solution, cover up the top with a piece of paper or cardboard or anything just to keep it hot. 

Add finishing touches
Paint the edges

Just to finish it off, I added a gold rim to the crystals. I tried with both a paint marker and gold paint, and they created very different effects. I liked the paint much better, but feel free to experiment and see which you like better yourself. 

Beautiful DIY borax crystal centerpiece

And that’s it! I really enjoyed this project and am very happy with the results. I think they turned out beautifully and really look just as stunning as the real thing, which, in these sizes, can run you upwards of $50. The other cool thing about this project is how you can really get creative with it and experiment with different shapes, sizes and styles. You can see that I made a starfish one, as well as some that were just the crystals that remained at the bottom of the glass. I love the way they come together as a centerpiece and am just so happy I did this. I would absolutely love to see the ones that you make, so please show me in the comments below! 

Resources for this project:
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Fiona Debell
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 8 questions
  • Maude  LaFountain Maude LaFountain on Mar 27, 2021

    How long do you leave it in the borax solution?

  • Lindy Lindy on Mar 27, 2021

    If I tightly wrapped pipe cleaners around a fake egg do you think this would work? Of course, it would need to be weighted down or in a small jar filled to the top with the solution to keep the eqq submerged.

  • Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz Kim 'Kiewatt' Waknitz on Mar 27, 2021

    My kids made tree ornaments with this technique, how do you keep them from fading. After a while they turned white and looked sad.

Join the conversation
2 of 22 comments
  • Patty Patty on Mar 28, 2022

    I've always wanted to try this.

  • Chuck Chuck on Mar 28, 2022

    Please beware! Borax is mildly caustic and is allergenic - do not do this around young children and please wear gloves when using borax for any length of time.

    Borax is caustic and allergenic - but don't confuse it with Boric Acid - which is moderately hazardous! Yes you can get away with breathing the fumes of borax and I admit it reminds me of my grandmother's laundry day smell - but I've treated the rashes and discussed children's nausea problems with mothers who don't consider the risk of an alkali cleanser around their youngsters.

    Next time put a warning into the video!

    Borax is safe to use carefully or infrequently for moments only - not safe for long term usage when hot or oversaturated solution that is outgasing (steaming). You only have the lungs you are using!