Christmas Chemistry Project; 5 Days of Christmas Science

We love simple chemistry projects, and this Christmas chemistry project is a fun way to learn and create homemade crystal ornaments! Join us as we countdown 5 Days of Christmas Science Projects and Facts! The holidays are great time to explore science and STEM, and we make it fun and easy for you to share simple science activities, experiments, projects, and ideas with your kids.

CHRISTMAS CHEMISTRY PROJECT

CHEMISTRY AND CHRISTMAS

Christmas can be a magical time, and I think Christmas chemistry is pretty magical too!

Take a classic crystal growing chemistry activity and turn it into a  Christmas chemistry ornament complete with a science-y theme. Overnight Borax crystals are a real hit with the kids. You can also make candy canes or snowflakes!

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Let’s make Christmas ornaments shaped like a beaker, a light bulb, and an atom perfect for any science enthusiast.  

After as many times as we have done this activity, I am still amazed over how gorgeous these crystals are, especially since they are made with laundry detergent! Not to mention they are very sturdy.

Christmas science crystal ornaments

CHRISTMAS CHEMISTRY ORNAMENTS

You can make three different versions of crystal ornaments each with a slightly different method. Turn it into a science experiment to compare the results of the three. Read over the items needed and the instructions below and determine which of the three methods you want to try out first!

Below you will find a printable pack to help you with this Christmas chemistry project!

You can even find more Christmas chemistry activities here.

Crystal Ornament Version 1: Coffee Filter in a Bowl

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Glass bowl
  • Coffee filter
  • Food coloring
  • Clear coat spray

You will also need to print out the templates to use as a guide when making your ornaments. Print each one as large as you plan to make your ornament. The ornament I made using this method is the light bulb.

  1. Boil a pot of water.
  2. Mix about 3 T of Borax to every 1 cup of water. Some Borax powder will end up settling on the bottom. This is fine.
  3. Pour the hot water into a glass bowl.
  4. Add food coloring if desired.
  5. Trace your ornament template onto a coffee filter and cut out the shape.
  6. Poke a hole near the top of the shape. This will enable you to thread a string or hook through it later.
  7. Place the cutout coffee filter into the Borax solution and set the bowl in a safe place.
  8. Wait 24 hours.
  9. Remove your crystallized ornament from the mixture and spray both back and front with clear coat spray.
  10. After drying, thread a hook or strong through the hole and hang your new ornament on your Christmas tree!

Crystal Ornament Version 2: Pipe Cleaner in a Bowl

  • Everything above, except pipe cleaners instead of a coffee filter.

The ornament I made using this method is the atom.

  1. Complete steps 1-4, same as above.
  2. Using the template you printed, mold the pipe cleaners into the shape of the silhouette. For the atom, I created loops using 3 pipe cleaners and then attached them together using two very small snips of another pipe cleaner.
  3. Place the pipe cleaners into the Borax solution and set the bowl in a safe place.
  4. Wait 24 hours.
  5. Remove your crystallized ornament from the mixture and spray both back and front with clear coat spray.
  6. After drying, thread a hook or string through one of the openings and hang your new ornament on your Christmas tree!

Christmas Chemistry Project Atom Crystal Ornament

Crystal Ornament Version 3: Pipe Cleaner in a Jar

  • Borax
  • Water
  • Wide mouthed glass jar
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Food coloring
  • String
  • Wooden craft stick or pencil
  • Clear coat spray

The ornament I made using this method is the beaker.

  1. Complete steps 1-4, same as above, pouring into a glass jar instead of a bowl.
  2. Using the template you printed, mold the pipe cleaners into the shape of the silhouette. For the beaker, I left a long portion of pipe cleaner sticking up from the top.
  3. Wrap the extra pipe cleaner around the craft stick or pencil and lower the shape down into Borax solution. The stick/pencil should rest on top of the jar.
  4. Set the jar in a safe place and wait 24 hours.
  5. Remove your crystallized ornament from the mixture and spray both back and front with clear coat spray.
  6. After drying, you can bend the extra portion of pipe cleaner into a hook and hang your new ornament on your Christmas tree!

pipe cleaner beaker for Christmas chemistry

Crystal science ornament

CRYSTAL ORNAMENT CHEMISTRY

How does this work? Borax occurs naturally in dry lake deposits and is found in crystal form.

When you dissolve the commercial powder in boiling water, the water becomes saturated with the Borax and the powder becomes suspended. You have just made a saturated solution.

You want the water to cool slowly, so that the impurities have a chance to fall out fo the solution leaving beautiful crystals behind. The powder deposits itself on the pipe cleaners, and when the water cools, the Borax returns to its natural state leaving large crystals behind.

If cooled slowly, these crystals are quite strong and uniform in shape. If cooled too quickly, you will see more unstable crystals in various shapes.

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FUN CHRISTMAS CHEMISTRY PROJECT FOR KIDS!

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