Thursday, December 12, 2013

Crystal Snowflakes & Tiny Knitted Polar Bear

This idea for Crystal Snowflakes comes from Martha Stewart's "Kids" magazine 2003.  I've been making them pretty much every year since I first saw them.  I love them!  I've made them with lots of kids, and even little guys can help in some way.  This is a fairly easy craft, and the results are really amazing.  Would you like to make one?


  *  white pipecleaners
  *  thin wire (or string)
  *  a large glass or metal bowl or jar (large enough to hold about 8 cups water)
  *  skewer (or stick wide enough to fit across bowl)
  *  Borax (found with laundry detergents)
  *  about 8 cups boiling water
  *  blue food colouring

Twist three 5-inch pieces of white pipecleaner together to form a star.  Then twist a 2-inch piece of pipecleaner on each end (bend them upwards a little bit) to complete a snowflake.

Remember!  No two snowflakes are alike.
Boil about 8 cups of water.  You will suspend the snowflake into a bowl of water so that it is completely submersed.  But you don't want the snowflake to touch the sides or bottom of the bowl.  Martha used a huge jar.  I use an 8-cup batter bowl.  Test that your snowflake will fit with room to spare around it before you mix up the solution. 
Wrap a thin wire around the middle of the snowflake, wrap the other end around a skewer (or whatever you have) to hold the snowflake suspended over your bowl.   Check that the wire holds the snowflake up off the bottom of the bowl.
Measure out 1-1/2 cups Borax for every 8 cups of boiling water and pour it into the bowl.  Do not let a child do this part please ... the Borax has warnings that it is an eye irritant, and the powder does sift up through the air when it is handled.  For safety reasons keep kids away while you do the mixing with Borax and boiling water.
Add the boiling water and stir it around until all the Borax has dissolved.  Add about 8 drops of liquid food colouring to the water and stir.  Now lower your snowflake into the bowl.  It might float for a second or two, but once the pipe cleaners absorb the water, it will sink down.  Lay the skewer holding the wire across the top of the bowl.
Now set the bowl in an out-of-the-way spot.  As the water cools down, crystals will start to form and they'll cling to your pipe cleaner snowflake.  Try not to bump the bowl ... you don't want to disturb the forming crystals.  If you make this in the morning, the kids will have a chance to watch the crystals form throughout the day.  It's a slow process.  Leave this overnight, and by the next morning, the snowflake should have lots of thick chunky crystals on it.  Just pull it out of the water and hang to drip dry. 
These snowflakes will keep over time, but the crystals turn white as they age.  They make great little gifts for a child to give someone special.  I once made up some for my kids' teachers because it was a warm year with no snow.  I added a snowflake-shaped tag (cut from a cookie cutter) with the recipe printed on it, and a notation "since there's no snow this Christmas, we're just going to have to make it ourselves".  It went over very well :) 
 WARNING:  Do not pour the Borax solution down your drains!  I pour the water outside in a spot where I'm not worried about killing any plants, and scrape the remaining crystals that form on the side of the bowl into the garbage.
Now Cody would like to show you how his one blue eye matches the blue snowflake ...
"Did you get my good side?"
 Good boy Cody ... you can go now ... Cody and I had a frigid walk this morning (-12C) with a sharp wind.  My face is burning now that we're back insde, and he must be feeling a bit tingly all over too ;)
Thanks for stopping by today!
PS  Finished up the tiny knitted polar bear last week ...



  1. this is way cool-thanks for sharing the tutorial-love the photo with Copy.
    Your little knitted animals are just fabulous-this one is just too sweet.
    the sunshine it out today here-yeah

  2. This is lovely, thank you for sharing. I love your little knitted polar bear too, so very cute.
    Marianne x

  3. The snowflakes are pretty! I had no idea borax did that. I think I'd be scared to use it though. That's such a cute photo of your dog and his pretty blue eyes. He looks so sweet!

  4. I've never seen these before, creative and give the kids a science lesson too....fab! :) x

  5. What a sweet little polar bear and a fun project to share! And yes...that's the good side! How beautiful he is, too!

  6. wow thats a real magic trick !! what fun!
    Gail x

  7. ooh, I wonder if the kids at preschool would like this... and if we could keep their fingers out of the solution... ; }

  8. WOW! I love those crystals but I've never seen this done with them before. How cool! My kids would love making these. Thank you for sharing!

  9. Such a clever idea Wendy, aren't you a crafty lady making things like these. I would say that you could do hearts for Valentines, but mentioning that before Christmas might not be a good idea!! xx

  10. What a lovely snowflake Wendy! You sure have been very creative it!!!
    Is Cody a Australian Sheperd....I think they are soooooo beautiful!!!
    xoxo Shari

  11. I love the polar bear friend!! He is so sweet!! And Oh my GOODNESS!!! Are these just the coolest ornaments ever!!!!!! My kids would so flip to see these and make them! Thank you Thank you! I am pinning them right now!!! A very wonderful weekend to you! We are getting blasted with cold as well! Stay warm!!!

  12. What a brilliant idea :) And I'm loving the polar bear there :)

  13. How cool is that snowflake! and the polar bear is totally adorable ♥

  14. You are so crafty and creative and I just love that you are sharing with us!! This is a keeper of a craft and I am also pinning it!
    You are such a sweetie~

  15. I think I have seen the borax snowflakes before but have not tried it out yet. They are really pretty!

    And how cute is your polar bear?? What a talent you have. And your dog is a cutie too!

  16. Oh my gosh! My grandma used to make these when I was young! I can't wait until my grandson is old enough to enjoy this process! Just found you blog! I am enjoying looking through older posts!

  17. That's very clever Wendy, I'm going to pin this you never know I may have some grandchildren one day and I would love to make these with them, love your little polar bear so cute. You must be very brave gong out in those temperatures, you can tell Cody from me I think he has beautiful blue eyes. :)

  18. Hi Wendy, I love your snowflake ornaments, so pretty and thanks for sharing the tutorial to make them. Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by my blog yesterday and leave that kind and sweet comment on my Christmas decorations! Stay warm and have a nice weekend. Julie

  19. Hi Wendy, First time stopping by and newest follower on google:) LOVE these snowflakes! What a great idea. So easy and I know they will look lovely in a centerpiece or on the tree. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Hello Wendy,
    These crystal snowflakes are so pretty. I wish I knew about them earlier. We had a craft night around Thanksgiving time, and it would have been nice to make these. You have such a lovely blog with many creative ideas. Thank you for visiting us today. We would love for you to follow us - it's so nice to meet new friends.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  21. Hi Wendy,

    It's always so extra sweet to meet another Canadian blogger, and from Ontario, to boot! Your crystal snowflakes and knitted polar bear are absolutely adorable! Such attention to detail, too! Thanks for sharing and hope you didn't get hit too hard in Whitby with that snowstorm coming in from the eastern U.S.! Stay warm!


  22. What a fun little project! My husband who is a bit of a mad-scientist-type would just love this. I will have to show him tonight and maybe we will give it a go.

  23. Wonderful, such a magical thing to make, thank you for sharing

  24. Hi Wendy! Those snowflakes are so cool! I love how Cody got into the dogs do that all the time, lol! The polar bears are adorable too!

  25. Dec. 18

    So confusing.... -sighhhhh- I lost all ability to access my blogs. Had to make a new blog.

    Hope this will bring you to it....

    'Here there be musing' blog


  26. Hi Wendy, these are beautiful!!! Thank you so much for popping over to my blog....I shall enjoy visiting yours!! Sarah xo

  27. Gosh how clever - I must try it!

  28. Cool! Don't think we can buy Borax here. The polar bear is so cute. Best wishes, Tammy

  29. You have a wonderful and creative blog... I am enjoying a browse. So many wonderful ideas!!

  30. That's cool how the crystals form on the pipe cleaners. Pipe cleaners...I made a bird cage out of them back in the 70's.


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