Holiday Hoopla: Crystal Name Ornaments (with Borax!)

Some of you may have noticed my ornament rampage through Pinterest a couple weeks ago. I was looking to amp up my sad ornament collection with some new faces this year. I had a vision when I saw Martha’s borax crystal snowflake ornaments, and wanted to experiment with that technique.  I followed their instructions with a few tweaks: instead of the normal craft pipe cleaners, I used an extra thin variety (that my MIL had on hand, but they’re something like this), and I just twisted the ends together to make them long enough to bend into our names.  I also ditched the whole food coloring idea (it doesn’t work very well), and colored them post-crystalization with watercolor paint.  Worked like a charm.  Rather than hanging these, I think I’ll just set them in the branches (maybe wire them on?). I don’t wanna mess with trying finding the perfect balance-hanging point, and I don’t want to hang them on their sides. Aren’t they cool?

mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments

 

mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments

 

mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments mad mim christmas _borax crystal names ornaments

Tips I learned the hard way:

-It’s REALLY important to find a container big enough so that your name doesn’t touch the sides or bottom. When the crystals form, it’s hold FAST to what they’re attached to. My name is so long that I had to use my nalgene bottle to form it, and it still stuck to the bottom. When I pulled it out, I had to pull really hard, and it stretched my whole name out. I had to reform it, and it is now really bendy unlike the others. If you do happen to stick, then use a knife to chisel it off the bottom before you pull it out.

-If you use my watercolor painting technique, then make sure the color is really watered down. The more watery the better, unless you like the splotchy look.

-The amount of borax to water is pretty important. I measured wrong at first, and nothing happened. Then I overcompensated, and the crystals formed really fast  (like in 3-4 hours).  I learned that the more borax, the faster it will grow, as well as change the look of the crystals. I grew Twinkle, mine and Allan’s names fairly quickly, and the result is a smaller crystal. I myself like the chunky square looking crystals, so longer growing time was better. I actually think I may redo mine and Twinkle’s (eventually) because I’m a perfectionist like that.

-You can re-use the solution/jars by just heating them up and redesolving everything.

-You don’t have to use that thick of wire. Whatever will do. Just make sure the wire is pressed neatly around and against the name, because anything sticking out will become a permanent part of the design. I just clipped off the wire I used to hang it after it was formed.

-when shaping your names, make sure to leave some space in between letters.as in, make the cursive widely spaced. The crystals get fatter, and if the letters are too close together the name is more difficult to read.

As always friends, if you do this project, I would love to see how it turns out via the flickr group or an email. It’s kinda like watching your grandchildren’s dance recital or something.

10 Comments

Miranda @ One Little Minute

Weird how that is. I just pulled out my advent calendar to put up and stared at it in awe. I can’t believe I put so much detail into such a seasonal item! It would take 100 nap times these days!

ps love the reply email feature. Allan’s got to hook me up with that, too!

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marseille

my name is way too long…no way that will work for me…or Christopher…as he likes to remind me, his name has 11 letters.

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Emily Balling

Mim,

Those are super cool, I LOVE the snowflake especially. What a fun idea, and if I ever do my winter tree, those are the snowflakes we can make for it! 🙂
I think my kids would love it!

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Sarah Pachev

I LOVE the borax cyrstal idea…I don’t even care that I haven’t finished unpacking..we are so making these today!!! Thanks for the inspiration! You are the coolest!

Reply
Miriam

I heard your new place is pretty stellar!! Irina and I talked about coming down and visiting you sometime soon, that would be fun. Good luck with the borax names!

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