Borax Crystal Snowflakes


It’s January, so that means snow, right? Well, it does mean snow in lots of places, but not here in Northern California. So, we usually make our own snowflakes to brighten what inevitably becomes a month of fog and rain and mud. These snowflakes are made with Borax laundry booster (sodium borate) to add an ice crystal texture and shine. It takes a few days to make these.


  • white paper or coffee filters
  • scissors
  • Borax laundry booster
  • plates
  • boiling water
  • needle and thread


Start by cutting out your snowflakes. I tend to love very lacy snowflakes, but for this project I suggest you leave some nice solid areas. My son Lucas theorized that small cuts were better for these, and he may be right.

January upload

Boil a little water on the stove. Pour it into a glass mixing bowl and then add Borax until it will no longer dissolve into the water. When you see some borax sitting as a sediment in your bowl, you know your solution is right.

Place each snowflake on a dinner plate. Pour a little of the Borax solution onto the plate—just enough to cover the whole snowflake. Now you wait.


The Borax will start to crystallize on the paper and plate. As it dries, the water will become clearer. You can gently pour off the excess water to speed the drying process. Allow the snowflakes to dry completely, the very carefully pry them up off the plate with a butter knife.


Some of the Borax may fall off, but most of it will stick to the paper. With your needle and thread, sew a few stitches at the top of your crystal snowflakes and then hang them in the window where they sun can glint off their crystals.



Science and Beauty

I am not usually one to wax on about science. Don’t get me wrong. I love science and I think it’s perfectly marvelous. People who do science (wait, that’s everyone!) are amazing and clever and inspiring. But usually, I don’t consider myself a science geek …

Except sometimes, when science and beauty intersect. There! Right there is where my interest is captured fully and profoundly.

Enter my latest scientific fascination: W.A. (Wilson Alwyn) Bentley. Mr. Bentley was 17 years old in 1885 when he first paired his love of snowflakes with this newfangled gizmo called the photographic camera. He created on his Vermont family farm the very first photo-micrograph of a snow crystal and thus launched his career. In 1931, the year he died, he published Snow Crystals, in which he published 2,500 of his some 5,000 photographs of snow crystals.

I checked out Bentley’s book (Dover, 1962) from my local library.

And it is AWESOME.

Snow Crystal Photos by W.A. Bentely

Snow Crystal Photos by W.A. Bentely

Snow Crystal Photos by W.A. Bentely

That’s it. Page after page after page of white snow crystals on a black background. Perfect and fragile and exquisite. Fascinating and mind-blowing. Two hundred and one such pages, depicting unique crystals, including snowflakes, ice flowers, windowpane frost, rime, glaze, and graupel. There are only eight pages of text in this miracle of a book.

My dear Mr. Bentley, I think I love you.

Happy 15th!

Happy 15th Anniversary to the man who has filled my life with love, laughter, sensation, little boys, and most recently, rainbows.

My Birthday Present

  • About Sara

    Thanks for visiting! I’m Sara, editor and writer, wife to Ian, and mother of two precious boys. I am living each day to the fullest and with as much grace, creativity, and patience as I can muster. This is where I write about living, loving, and engaging fully in family life and the world around me. I let my hair down here. I learn new skills here. I strive to be a better human being here. And I tell the truth.

    Our children attend Waldorf school and we are enriching our home and family life with plenty of Waldorf-inspired festivals, crafts, and stories.

    © 2003–2018 Please do not use my photographs or text without my permission.

    “Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” —Ursula K. LeGuinn

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