After a holiday hiatus, we are back! And, we’re starting the year off with some Mad Kitchen Science…one of our favorite topics. We’ve actually got a few posts we’ll be sharing over the next few weeks that are all science-y (can you guess what we did a lot of over Christmas break?)
We start off with and experiment that Sophia made the first time in school. She couldn’t wait to show Alex and me, plus she wanted to share it with ‘the website’ 😀 It is a pretty cool and simple experiment. You can also find instructions for it in the book Geek Mom, which I recently got for my birthday from my boyfriend–he likes to encourage our crazy kitchen antics.
The best part about this experiment is that the results happen pretty quick; no waiting for days for crystals to appear. If you want to try it, we share our experience below, and again, you can find details in the Geek Mom book (NOTE: we did this experiment the first time BEFORE we had the book, so we’re describing what we did, not what what the book says). Now for some SCIENCE!
Step 1: Prepare your Pipe Cleaners
You can use either fuzzy or metallic pipe cleaners. Sophia wanted me to make sure and tell you that the metallic ones do work and are awesome. When we first did the experiment at home, she wasn’t sure they’d work cuz they used the fuzzy ones at school. The gold one in the pic above is metallic and you can see it did work.
So, take your pipe cleaner and make it into any shape you want. Sophia likes making ’em curly by wrapping them around a pencil. Use your imagination to come up with your own fancy shapes.
Step 2: Cut Your String
Ultimately we’re going to be dangling the pipe cleaner into the glass and to do this we need string. Cut a piece that is longer than you’ll need to account for tying. Don’t worry too much about the length quite yet.
Step 4: Tie String to Pencil
This is when the length adjusting portion of the experiment comes in. Set the pencil across the top rim of the glass and then dangle your string with the pipe cleaner tied to one end into your glass so that the pipe cleaner does not touch the bottom. Where the Pencil and the string meet is where you’ll want to tie your string to the pencil. You can also use tape if you’d like. We tie it and then adjust with tape if needed at the end. Once you’ve got the string tied to the pencil, set it aside to prepare the solution.
Sophia also wanted me to mention here, that if the pipe cleaner does touch the bottom, it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, it’s kind of cool because then a large chunk of crystal will attach to the crystal from the bottom–try it if your curious 😀
Step 5: Prepare your Borax Solution
We do not have an exact measurement for this portion of the experiment. Sophia basically eye-balled it. I will say it was about 1/2 an inch of borax powder on the bottom of the glass. Look at our pics, you can see how much we added. Geek Mom has a recommended solution, but eye-balling works, too! Once you’ve got the borax in the glass, top it off with water and stir the solution together.
Step 6: Drop in your Pipe Cleaner on the String
Sink your pipe cleaner into the solution. You can adjust length at this point, twisting the pencil and using tape to adjust so it doesn’t hit the bottom. Again, if it does, no biggy, just extra crystals in the end.
Step 7: Wait for Crystals to Form
After a few hours crystals will start forming so check back, but for super awesome results, leave your crystals in the solution for a few days.
Step 8: Remove and Dry Crystals
Once your crystals are the size you want, remove them and set them on a paper towel to dry. Once they’re dry, you can hang ’em where ever you want to add a little sparkle!
There you have it, super easy and super fun–If you try it out, let us know, we’d love to see your crystals!