STEM Lab: How to Make Ice Crystals in Your Kitchen

You probably already have all the ingredients you need for this easy science experiment!

By Lacie Dooley, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Athens, GA March 18, 2020

Growing your own ice crystal at home is super easy — and is sure to wow your kids, no matter how old they are. Plus, you're sneaking in a science lesson! 

My Frozen-obsessed daughter was especially thrilled by this project. You need just a few common household ingredients in order to go all Elsa and grow your own ice crystals:

What You Need:

  • 6 Tbsp borax powder
  • 2 cups water
  • A pot (to boil water)
  • Glass jar 
  • Pipe cleaners (AKA chenille stems)
  • Clothespin

What You Do:

  1. Put the water on to boil. While you're waiting, make a snowflake by cutting two pieces of pipe cleaners approximately two inches long and then twisting them together. Then twist the rest of the pipe cleaners on in any kind of shape you'd like. Make sure to leave one piece of the pipe cleaner longer than the rest.
  2. Attach the clothespin to the longest piece of pipe cleaner and trim the edges of the remaining pipe cleaner, if needed, to make them even.
  3. Add the borax powder to the jar. Pour the boiling water into the jar (This is a job for the adult!).
  4. Lower the snowflake into the solution, using the clothespin across the top of the jar to keep it from falling in. (You don't want the water to cool down before the pipe cleaner is added to the solution.) The water should cover the snowflake.
  5. Have your kids observe the crystal every few hours to see how it is changing, or even consider making a time-lapse video!
  6. Your crystal will be "done" in about six hours. (The longer you let the snowflake sit in the solution, the more crystals will form.)

Kids excited and want to do it again? Try taking your experiment a step further by using objects other than a pipe cleaner to compare how the crystals grow on different kinds of surfaces!

Check out a video of the process to see how simple it really is!