This project was a fun one! I had all of the items I needed at home with the exception of some inexpensive pipe cleaners. I got mine from Wal-Mart for a couple of dollars. Even though all of the instructions I read for DIY Borax Gems said to use white pipe cleaners, I was a rebel and also tried green. I think the white looks better, but that is personal preference.
I experimented with different amounts of water, borax, and food coloring. The truth is, gemstones are uneven, asymmetrical, & are beautiful anyways. I did not need a perfect formula for an undemanding final product. I made three “gemstones” in three different sized containers: a large glass beverage dispenser, a medium sized glass jar used previously as a vase, and an empty food jar.
What I used:
- Boiling Water
- Food Coloring *20-30 drops provided a pastel coloring*
- Glass Jar
- Pipe Cleaners *I think white worked better than green*
- String *Sewing thread worked best for me*
- A pencil-like object to attach the string to (for suspending the pipe cleaners in the colored water/borax solution)
- For the largest container I used: 8 cups boiling water (I let it cool for 10-ish minutes after it reached a boil before adding it to the jar,) and 3 cups of borax
- Medium container: 4 cups boiling water, 1 1/2 cups borax
- Food Jar: 3 cups boiling water, 3/4 cup borax
***Be careful to leave space between the pipe cleaner ball you create and the bottom of the glass container you use (when suspending) or your gem will attach to the bottom of the jar, firmly, like one of mine did***
How to make a GEM:
- Combine several pipe cleaners together, twisting the ends together
- Wrap one end of the pipe cleaner around a finger and begin shaping a tight spiral, interweaving the end of the pipe cleaner through the ball you are forming (it makes more sense when you see it in the video)
- Boil your water
- Attach string to the pipe cleaner ball
- Attach that string to a stick/pencil-like object
- Add your boiling water to your container
- Add in the food coloring & stir well
- Add in the borax & stir well
- Place your pipe cleaner ball in the water mixture
- Let sit 12+ hours
- Remove your “gem” from the water
- Set it on paper towel or napkins to dry off a little
- Empty your colored water & soak your glass container with hot water & dish soap. It will get rid of any hardened borax left on the sides/bottom of the jar. It might take a few attempts–be gentle on your container.
- Snip off your string
- Let gem sit a couple of hours before handling (it will harden in that time but not completely)
- Admire the crystal gem you have just created 🙂
This is an easy, pretty project. It requires patience & safety due to the hot water but it is worth taking your time. The “gems” look more crystal like after drying completely. They have taken on a more transparent, gem-like appearance. All three turned out differently but all three are beautiful! This would be a great overnight project to do with kids!