One of my favorite ever projects was these Borax Snowflake Christmas Ornaments that I made a few years ago with my chemistry students with coffee filters.
The ornaments are super glittery and sparkly in person. The pictures I took of my students’ finished ornaments really didn’t do them justice.
It may be too late to do this project with your students this year, but you could still make them with your own children at home if you wanted to.
Supplies for Borax Snowflake Christmas Ornaments
- Coffee Filters
- Scissors for Cutting Snowflakes Out of Coffee Filters
- Container to Hold Water/Borax Solution
- Ribbon or Yarn for Hanging
- Styrofoam Plate Slightly Larger than Coffee Filter
Steps for Building Ornaments
I followed this Handmade Crystal Snowflake Ornaments tutorial.
I passed out coffee filters to each my students and showed them how to flatten the coffee filter so it can be folded and cut to form a snowflake.
Somehow, I managed to take absolutely zero pictures of this step in the process.
Once the snowflakes are made, it’s time to make a supersaturated borax/water solution to dip our coffee filters in.
Some of my students learned the hard way that it is super important to follow instructions.
The instructions say to add just enough borax so that it stops dissolving.
Some of my students must have thought that more was better… These students found that their snowflake ornaments easily crumbled and fell apart. More is definitely NOT better.
We put our coffee filter snowflakes in a Styrofoam plate and poured our borax and water solution over the snowflake.
Students wrote their names on the edges of the plates to make it easier to tell our snowflakes apart later.
We left our plates with our snowflakes soaking in the solution overnight to let the crystals form on our coffee filters.
The next school day, we poured off the excess borax solution. I didn’t have a sink in my chemistry classroom (it was not meant to be a science classroom whatsoever!), so we used a plastic tub to let everyone empty their plates into.
Then, we carefully shifted our snowflake ornaments to a new plate to live on while they dried.
My Algebra 1 students were soooo jealous that my Chemistry students got to do a lab and they didn’t.
Check out those sparkly crystals!
Once the ornaments were dry, it was time to actually make them into ornaments. I didn’t have any red ribbon, so I improvised with red yarn for students to tie on their ornaments.
These ornaments are quite fragile, so I recommended students transfer them home on the paper plate in order to try and keep the ornament from getting broken.
Overall, my students LOVED this project!
More Labs and Activities
- Borax Snowflake Christmas Ornaments
- Mix and Match Mass Mini Lab
- Lab Report Requirements for Interactive Notebooks
- Ice Cream in a Bag Lab
- Conversation Hearts Lab for Valentine’s Day
- Film Canister Density Challenge
- Chromatography Butterflies Bulletin Board
- Mysterious Water Suspension
- Marble Roller Coasters
- Egg Drop Gallery Walk Activity
- Effect of Concentration on Reaction Rate Lab
- Rust Lab
- Effervescent Tablet Lab
- Glow Sticks Reaction Rate Lab
- How Many Molecules? Stoichiometry Lab
- Chalk Messages Measurement Lab
- Mini Metric Olympics Activity
- Hit the Target Lab
- Mini-Labs for Calculating Error and Percent Error