Candy Cane Crystals

Merry Christmas to all of you! Tis the season for candy canes! In an earlier workshop I taught you how to make crystals with pipe cleaners but now we will take it a step further and make them candy cane crystal ornaments! Raise your hand if you are in the holiday spirit? I am too! Let’s do this!


What You Need:

  • Borax

  • Pipe Cleaners

  • Thread or string

  • Boiling Water

  • Pencil

  • Heat safe glass vessels like this or mason jars (clear glass is best so you can watch the crystals form!)

  • Scissors

  • Paper Towels
  • Ribbons (for the ornament) 

How it Works:

It is fairly simple. Borax is a crystal-shaped naturally occurring mineral. It gets ground up and sold as a laundry booster and cleaning agent. When you dissolve it in water, you help it re-form back into its natural state (a crystal). If you heat the water, you can dissolve even more borax into the water. Then, when the water cools, not as much borax can remain in solution. So it crystallizes onto whatever surfaces are available.


Step one: Start to form the pipe cleaners into a candy cane. Fold one end over the other in a layered form to get the striped look.

Step two: Plan an appropriate heat safe vessel to grow your crystals in (the Pyrex or the mason jars).

Step three: Attach your pipe cleaner candy canes to a small dowel, skewer or wooden pencil.

Step four: Boil a few cups of water and pour into your glass you set aside. Dissolve approximately 3 tablespoons of Borax per cup of water. You’ll want to super saturate the water by making it take on as much borax as possible. A super saturated mixture means lots of crystal growth rather than a few measly ones.

Step five: Lay your pencil or skewer on top of the measuring cup and be sure the pipe cleaner candy canes are not touching the sides, bottom of the cup or each other. They need room to grow crystals.

Step six: Step back and observe! It will take a few hours (I suggest leaving them in the water overnight).

More directions and examples of this project can be found here and here.

Make sure you tag @themodernteacher when you post your crystal candy canes!