You may have spotted my DIY icicle ornaments last week in my holiday home tour, and as promised, here is how I made them! There aren’t many steps to this tutorial, but you will practice your patience while waiting for the crystals to form.
These icicles were inspired by the version I spotted at Pottery Barn, but I knew spending $5 per ornament was out of my budget. I remembered my mom making Borax snowflakes when I was a kid, and thought I’d give the old trick a shot myself.
This is a classic experiment that’s been around for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve actually tried it! I don’t know who discovered laundry detergent forms crystals, but it’s kind of genius. Obviously someone much better at science than I am…
Christmas ornaments are expensive, but I’m happy to say I made 18 icicles from a $4 box of Borax and I still have a quarter of the box left.
When I first started I was leery, but sure enough, after a few hours you could see the crystals forming on the pipe cleaners!
Here’s how I made them.
- Borax, $4 at Target
- Pipe cleaners, $2 at Hobby Lobby
- Twine string, $4 Home Depot
- Hot glue gun
- Large pot and glass jar
Fill your pot with water and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, slowly stir in the Borax. For every 3 cups of water stir in 9 tbsp of Borax. Stir well until the Borax has completely dissolved, about a few minutes. Once it’s crystal clear you’re good to go.
While you’re waiting for the water to boil, you can start prep work.
Cut pipe cleaners to the length you want your icicles to be. The pipe cleaners will become the icicles. The pipe cleaners will go in a pot of water, so make sure when you’re cutting the pipe cleaners to allow a half inch from the bottom of the pot so they don’t touch.
Find a knife or cooking utensil that lays across your pot and/or jar. Then take some string and tie it around the top of the pipe cleaners and around the cooking utensil so the pipe cleaners sit in the pot without touching the bottom.
Once your mixture is dissolved, you can either leave it in the pot or pour it in a jar. I wanted to do multiple batches at a time, so I left some in the pot and poured some in the jar. Next, drop your pipe cleaners that are tied to a utensil in the water, making sure they aren’t touching each other or the sides of your container. For a large pot that is about 12 inches in diameter, I put in 8 pipe cleaners, and the glass jar I put in 3.
I found that the fewer pipe cleaners per container, the more crystalized they get.
Set aside your container in a safe place so it can cool.
Now you practice your patience and wait for the crystals to form. I let mine set for a good 12 hours overnight, but I think 8 is sufficient.
When you wake up, they will look like this!
To add twine string, I cut the top part of the pipe cleaner where the string was tied and super glued one end of the twine string and then super glued the other end to another top of an icicle. If you don’t want two icicles on a string, you can create a loop with the twine instead.
I took photos of this but when I went to edit them, I couldn’t find them on my SD card so I’m not sure what happened. I snapped some more pictures after they were all super glued, but you get the idea.
Fill the pot again and bring it to a boil and all the crystals will disappear. A bonus with using a glass jar is it forms crystals too! I thought it looked cool so I added some LED candles and set it out for display.
These icicles turned out great and are probably my favorite Christmas decoration! Nothing beats a good knock-off that costs a fraction of the original price.
Do you like to make your own decor? What’s your favorite project you’ve made? Share a link to your project in the comments so we can all check it out!
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