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Weather Academy: Grow your own crystal snowflakes

Published: Dec. 20, 2021 at 5:57 AM CST
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - We typically don’t see a white Christmas here in Louisiana, but that’s not going to stop us from trying to make our own. Today on the Weather Academy, we’ll be making crystallized snowflakes that you can hang on your Christmas tree.

What you’ll need:

  • Borax* (you can find this in the laundry detergent aisle at the grocery store)
  • Boiling water
  • Jars
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Pencil
  • String or ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Spoon

Steps:

  1. Turn your pipe cleaner into a snowflake! Cut the pipe cleaner into thirds, place the pieces together, and twist in the center to hold the snowflake together. Remember, snowflakes always have six sides! You can add more details if you’d like, but you want your snowflake to be able to fit inside of the jar without touching the sides, so keep that in mind when constructing!
  2. Tie a long piece of string to the center of the pipe cleaner snowflake and wrap the other end around the pencil.
  3. Dissolve three tablespoons of borax powder for each cup of boiling water, stir until the borax is fully dissolved.
  4. Hang your snowflake down in the center of the jar, be sure that it isn’t touching the sides or the bottom of the jar.
  5. Let the snowflakes sit in the mixture overnight.
  6. After 24 hours, gently lift your crystal snowflake out of the mixture and let them dry on a paper towel for an hour or so. Once dry, they will be ready to go onto your Christmas tree!

There’s a reason we now have crystals. Borax is also known as sodium borate and is a naturally occurring mineral and salt which is usually mined from seasonal lakes. When we mix the borax and the boiling water, we can see the water becoming very cloudy as the borax powder dissolves into the boiling water to create a saturated solution. The borax molecules are becoming suspended in the water. As the water cools, the borax will separate from the water molecules, allowing some of the borax particles to slowly settle. They will sink to the bottom of the jar, but they will also land on the pipe cleaners. Borax crystals are generally well-formed and quite large, but they won’t last forever. Because they are made of salt, they will eventually dehydrate and crumble.

Don’t forget to submit photos and videos to our website if you try this at home, and we’ll feature you on Good Morning ArkLaMiss.

*IMPORTANT! Borax is not edible and will irritate if put directly into eyes. With this in mind, if you do hang your crystal snowflake on your tree, make sure to hang them out of reach of pets or toddlers

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