Can we really make crystals out of soap?  You bet!  These crystals grow really fast, provided your solution is properly saturated.  In only 12 hours, you should have sizable crystals sprouting up.

You can do this experiment with either skewers, string, or pipe cleaners.  The advantage of using pipe cleaners is that you can twist the pipe cleaners together into interesting shapes, such as a snowflake or other design.  Make sure the shape fits inside your jar.

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Here’s what you need:

  • pipe cleaners (or string or skewer)
  • cleaned out pickle, jam, or mayo jar
  • water
  • borax (AKA sodium tetraborate)
  • adult help, stove, pan, and stirring spoon

Here’s what you do:

1. Cut a length of string and tie it to your pipe cleaner shape; tie the other end around a pencil or wooden skewer. You want the shape suspended in the jar, not touching the bottom or sides.

2. Bring enough water to fill the jar (at least 2 cups) to a boil on the stove (food coloring is fun, but entirely optional).

3. Add 1 cup of borax (aka sodium tetraborate or sodium borate) to the solution, stirring to dissolve. If there are no bits settling to the bottom, add another spoonful and stir until you cannot dissolve any more borax into the solution. When you see bits of borax at the bottom, you’re ready.  (You’ll be adding in a lot of borax, which is why we asked you to get a full box). You have made a supersaturated solution.  Make sure your solution is saturated, or your crystals will not grow.

4. Wait until your solution has cooled to about 130oF (hot to the touch, but not so hot that you yank your hand away). Pour this solution (just the liquid, not the solid bits) into the jar with the shape.  Put the jar in a place where the crystals can grow undisturbed overnight, or even for a few days.  Warmer locations (such as upstairs or on top shelves) is best.

Download worksheet and exercises

DO  NOT EAT!!! Keep these crystals out of reach of small kids, as they look a lot like the Rock Candy Crystals.

Here are photos from kids ages 2, 7, 9 that made their own! Great job to the Fluker Family!!


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6 Responses to “Laundry Soap Crystals”

  1. A LOT. You’ll need a whole box to do this recipe a couple of times.

  2. How much borax dose it use, Zoya age 9 3/4.

  3. I am not sure of your question – please ask again? What specifically did you need help with?

  4. misty_slayton says:

    borax is used to make slime but i didnt know it can be used for a lot of things if i do make one with borax do i have to have my mom help me make it??

  5. There are lots of things you can use, like salt, sugar, epsom salts, charcoal… keep looking in Unit 3 for more ideas!

  6. Can you make it out of bathing soap?