Borax Crystal Shamrock

Finding a real four-leaf clover can be tricky, so here's how to make your own lucky shamrock out of borax crystals! This borax crystal shamrock is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. No need to wait weeks for these crystals to form. Use borax to create a beautiful hanging ornament in just one day!

Step-by-step tutorial

  • Warning

    Borax (sodium tetraborate) is a naturally-occurring mineral salt commonly used as a laundry booster or cleaner. As with any other cleaning product, it should be kept away from children not under direct supervision of an adult. Do not allow children to ingest borax. If consumed, contact a poison control center immediately. Wash hands after play, as prolonged skin exposure may cause irritation.

  • Step 1

    Gather your materials.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 1

  • Step 2

    Fill a large jar with 3 cups of hot water. Then, add 3 tablespoons of borax. Mix well.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 2

  • Step 3

    Make a shamrock out of 2 pipe cleaners.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 3

  • Step 4

    Wrap another pipe cleaner around the center of the shamrock. Wrap the ends of the pipe cleaner around the middle of a pencil. Lower the shamrock into the jar of borax solution and lay the pencil across the top of the jar. Leave the jar somewhere it won’t be disturbed for at least 5 hours.

    Photo reference of how to complete step 4

  • Step 5

    After 5-7 hours, take the shamrock out of the jar and check out the crystals! Then, cut the hanging pipe cleaner off of the shamrock and use fishing wire to hang it up in a window!

    Photo reference of how to complete step 5

  • Tip

    Look up close at the borax crystals (you can even use a magnifying glass if you have one). Can you see the shape of an individual crystal? Borax grows prismatic crystals, which means they look like little prisms or long boxes. Other crystals grow in other shapes. Try doing this same project with salt, sugar, or Epsom salt, and check out the different crystal shapes!

  • Learn moreMagnifying graphic

    Crystals are beautiful rocks made out of different types of minerals. They can take years and years to form under the surface of the Earth, from pressure and water and different kinds of rocks coming together. With this project, you can make crystals in just a few hours!

    When you dissolve a mineral like borax in hot water, little parts of borax are going into suspension. That means they’re being held separate from each other by the water, kind of like a beach ball being kept in the air by a bunch of concert-goers. Because the water is hot, it can hold a lot of borax in suspension — these concert-goers are really energetic!

    But when the water cools down, it can’t hold that much borax anymore. Just like a beach ball that gets dropped by a bored crowd, the borax will settle out of suspension. The settled borax links up with other bits of borax, and grows to form a crystal!

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