Shamrock Crystals

How to make Borax Crystals

This is something you HAVE to try!  The end result is amazing and they sparkle beautifully in the sun.  I have seen a number of blogs around Christmas time that use borax crystals as ornaments, but we are now March and I am just getting around to making them so we made Shamrocks.  I am tempted to make shapes for every season!

Borax Shamrock Crystals ~ Easy St Patrick's Day science experiment

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How to make Shamrock Crystals

Borax can be found in the laundry isle.  It is natural, but that does not mean it is safe.  Borax should not me inhaled or ingested, so be careful.

Borax Crystals ~ Easy science experiment

Instructions for making the crystals

First, twist  your pipe cleaner into the desired shape.  I set out a few templates of shamrocks (printed off the internet) for the kids to look at.

You will need 3 cups of boiling water per mason jar, 1/2 cup of Borax for each jar.  The more saturated your solution is, the larger your crystals will be.  Stir until all the borax is dissolved and the solution is clear, add food coloring if you desire.

Borax Crystals ~ Easy Saint Patrick's Day science experiment

Tie a string around the tail of the shamrock and tie the other end to a pencil.   Gently lower the shamrock into the solution making sure that it is not touching any sides or the bottom.  Set the jar in a safe spot that will not be disturbed.  We let ours sit overnight and the kids were amazed to find the pipe cleaners were transformed into crystal-encrusted decorations.  Gently cut off the string and display in your window.

Borax Shamrock Crystals ~ Easy Saint Patrick's Day science experiment

Shamrock Crystal Sun Catcher

These crystals are so simple to make.  Kaleb loves to experiment so this was the perfect project for him.  I loved that he added his twist on the experiment by coloring one pipe cleaner with markers to see what would happen.  Next time I will encourage him to use sharpies instead of washable markers.

Borax Shamrock Crystals ~ Easy Saint Patrick's Day science experiment

St. Patrick’s Day Craft

These shamrock crystals were so easy to make.  I am not convinced that the food coloring changed the crystal color by much.  The color that you see is the pipe cleaner showing through.  I love them and the sparkle beautifully in the sun.  These would be fun to make with the kids and give as gifts for grandparents, teachers, neighbors and anyone special.  Just change the shape of the pipe cleaner to suit the occasion.

Borax Shamrock Crystals ~ Easy Saint Patrick's Day science experiment

Looking for more St Patrick’s Day Crafts?  Check out our

Stained Glass Shamrocks

Glitter Shamrocks

Rainbow Q-tip Painting

Shamrock Cookie Cutter Stamping

Racing Balloon Leprechauns

Shamrock Sprouts

Credit Card Art

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49 thoughts on “Shamrock Crystals

  1. We’ve made these twice this week now, and the kids are loving it!!! So much faster that using sugar, as we’ve done in the past.

    Thanks again for linking up!

  2. My boys love Borax crystals (and Borax slime…have you tried that out yet? Super fun!). We made some really cute ‘crystal’ Christmas ornaments in December — truly an all-season craft!

  3. I’ve featured you this week at the Sun Scholars For the Kids Friday Link Party! Make sure to stop by and grab a button. Love to have you link up again this week!! :)

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  5. Thank you for this activity! We did it and made a heart and a frog head. My daughter loved it and I will definately be doing this again. She has already made little beach balls, chicks like yours and much more!

  6. Hi! Thanks for sharing. I made these with my 5 year old yesterday! turned out perfectly. We did a shamrock, a heart, and a snowman. =) Thanks for sharing!

  7. Aloha! I love your idea of crystallized shamrocks, and I was wondering if I could have permission to use your pictures in an article I’m writing for my school paper, The Ke Alakai’i. Please let me know, Thank you!
    – Abby

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  9. Thank you for a wonderful activity!!! Tried these last night…worked great! However, I had some crystals left in the bottom of jar and not sure how to get them out.

    • Glad you enjoyed making the shamrock crystals. We always have crystals in the bottom of our jars too once the pipe cleaners are crystallized. To clean the jar, simply run it under hot water and the crystals will dissolve.

  10. I’m doing a little “pre-experiment” experiment with this before I try it with my students. I am using the widest jars I could find, but I’m a little anxious because the shamrocks still touch the sides of the jar. Hopefully that won’t cause too much of a problem! Once I see how my experiments turn out, I’ll modify it if I need to and try it out with my class. They’ll love it!

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  12. My gifted and advanced fifth grade class made these for St. Paddy’s Day and they thought it was the coolest thing ever. Teachers in my school have requested the “recipe”, and I want to thank you for inspiring me and other teachers in my school to go above and beyond.

  13. This project looks so fun! I’m the room mom for my daughter’s class & I would love to do this with them for Easter! There are 19 of them and I was wondering if this could be done in large plastic cups? Or should I stick with glass? Trying to keep this low budget! I don’t know what we would do with all those extra jars! Thanks!!

    • My sister-in-law did it with her preschool class in an ice cream bucket and it worked great. She was able to do about 3-4 pipe cleaner creations per bucket, you will need to at least triple the solution. hope this helps.

  14. I have tried this 3 times, following the instructions to the tee and they have not worked out at all. Could you please try to tell me what I might be doing wrong. Do they have to sit in the sun? Does it matter what color the pipe cleaners are? Help!!!!!

    • I had similar trouble once. Only a few crystals appeared no matter how long I left the pipe cleaners in the solution. This is what I did, I poured the solution into a pot and reheated it to boiling again. Added it back to the same jar. I had crystals on the bottom of the jar, but don’t worry they will dissolve. Then I added more Borax to the solution. I can’t remember how much, but I just kept adding until it was a super saturated solution and no more borax would dissolve. I used the same pipe cleaner creations they were too cute to throw away. The crystals on the pipe cleaners will dissolve as well. Type of pipe cleaner you are using should not matter. Let me know if this works.

  15. What a great idea. I bought the borax and am ready to give it a try with my 4 year old son, but I do not have any mason jars. Do I have to use glass containers or anything that can hold hot liquid and is wide mouthed? I was considering using some of the many glass vases that I have that never get flowers put in them. Thanks fo your help!

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  21. What a lovely idea .I can’t wait to do this did with my daughter . We will buy material tomorrow. I hope she can bring back to school by thursday

  22. hola! quería saber con que otro material se puede hacer este experimento,ademas de con limpiadores de pipa,(como por ejemplo lana,alambre, tela,etc.)ya que en donde yo vivo no se consiguen limpiadores de pipa.muchas gracias

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