It's So Much More Than a Laundry Detergent - Borax Crystals Decor

9 Materials
While looking for inspirations online, I came across a picture of a beautiful decorative turquoise crystal made with Borax. I couldn't believe how pretty it looked! I've done the popular science experiment for making crystals with cub scouts years ago. But the results weren't elaborate like this. They were just plain crystals on a string. Fun and exciting for the boys but nothing like what was pictured. I had to see for myself if I could make something this amazing! So I googled borax crystals and you won't believe how easy it is to make.

Begin by forming a base of chenille stems for the crystals to form on.  I wanted a bowl shape so I first made a circle of chenille stems and then wrapped and connected the circle with more stems, leaving very little space in-between.  I shaped the sides upward and around like a bowl.  Next, I tied thin twine on one end and connected the other end to the middle of a dowel rod.

Next, pour 2 quarts of water into a heatproof container and bring to a boil.

     Add food coloring.  I used the chart on the box for mixing purple.  I wanted the deepest color I could get so I used most of the red dye and mixed it with blue.  I dipped folded paper towels in the mixture to see the shades of purple.
     Satisfied with the color, add two cups of Borax and stir to dissolve.  Continue adding Borax until it stops dissolving and no more can be saturated.  You will see undissolved bits floating.

Dip the chenille stem form into the solution to saturate  .  .  .

and then dip it in again, resting the rod on top of the container and making sure the bottom and sides of the form are not touching the glass.

Turn off the heat and cover with a piece of cardboard to prevent heat from escaping.  Allow to cool naturally and undisturbed overnight.

The next morning, lift the rod, pulling the crystal out, allowing the liquid to drain back into the container.

All I can say is, wow!

Allow to dry completely on a paper towel.

And finally, cut off attached twine.

To prevent moisture and heat deteriorating the crystals, apply a clear gloss sealant, and the piece should last for years.

I'm really impress and amazed how beautiful the crystals are!  Makes for a lovely accent piece!  Can't wait to make more!

Suggested materials:
  • Twenty Mule Team Borax   (Walmart)
  • Water
  • Food coloring
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Gail@Purple Hues and Me
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  • Marlene Marlene on Dec 26, 2019

    Now THAT is cool.! It came out great. I am tempted to try this myself. But the first step... chenille stems? what are those? The fuzzly stick looking things that bend from a craft store? We used to call them pipe cleaners.

  • Nancy Nancy on May 18, 2020

    Can you coat it with cement to resemble a geode? Would cement dissolve the crystals?

  • Lauren Lauren on Aug 16, 2020

    How durable is the crystal after you applied the sealant? Does it feel like parts could easily break off? And how heavy is it? quite light, or surprisingly heavy? Also you said use a heatproof container? A normal cooking pot will not work?

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  • JRMarlowe JRMarlowe on Feb 26, 2020

    Once this is made, can you reheat what is left and reuse? Trying to figure out the best way to do this in my class. 😊

    • Gail@Purple Hues and Me Gail@Purple Hues and Me on Feb 26, 2020

      Yes, you can reheat the solution to melt what's left - there's probably some solid pieces stuck to the glass. You will have to add more borax and water and start again to create something else.

  • Kat66493089 Kat66493089 on Jun 07, 2022

    what kind of heat resistant glass container did you use. I am trying to find one like this but have not had much luck. The brand name would be so helpful. Thank you. Kathy Rowles

    • Gail@Purple Hues and Me Gail@Purple Hues and Me on Jun 08, 2022

      I already had the glass container on hand when I did this project. The glass was quite thick so I check the bottom to see if it had a symbol on the bottom for tempered glass which it did. Sorry I don't have a brand, but check Amazon for glass pots or tempered glass containers and you should be ok.