I know it’s basically just an elementary school project level that you can actually found like, a lot in pinterest or any other blogs. But I do notice that most of them use pipe cleaners, which is not that easy to get here. Since I’m now a crocheter, why not try making it with a simple doily?
Okay, first of all this project is technically still in the run. I have yet to try it with a complicated doily design, its not even a proper doily yet – but I know at this stage it will work out eventually. I was already in the stage to test forms, see if the crystal can actually grow on yarn, which yarn is actually firmer than the other, and so on. However, I do know if I harden a bigger or more complicated doily design with a simple sugar solution or white glue before I dip it in the borax solution, the crystals willl grow on it without problem.
Now, even though I am not experienced in science projects, but this project is basically a simple chemistry – which I have learned a bit from baking. So one thing I do know is the smallest detail matters. I’m trying to break down the process into smaller parts, why each detail matters.
So there are two options to pick yarn for this project. First is if you would pick a white yarn like I did. It’s a bit of a challenge to describe it, but not just any white yarn would work. The only white yarn that would work is the one that looks like it achieved its color by bleaching. The key is actually the bleach, where the bleach essentially half way removed the softness and flimsiness of the yarn so when it reacts with the borax solution, it actually became quite firm while on the other hand still good enough for the crystal to grow just fine. So if you are looking for the right yarn, the simplest way is to touch it. If it’s the one less softer than the lot with that weird, powdery mat feeling, then that’s it 🙂
The second option would be just using any yarn to make the doily, but hardening it either with a sugar solution or white glue. Both ways work just fine, so in the end it will depend on what kind of result you’d like to achieve.
The regular mix you would find anywhere would be generally 250 ml ofhot water to 3 tbsp of borax. However, I do notice that a difference could occur depending on the borax and what kind of medium you would use. 3 tbsp is the general suggestion if you would use pipe cleaners and not yarn as a medium. This amount of mixture would work just fine for yarn, however instead of fully covered with crystals like if you would use pipe cleaner, if you use yarn what you will get is just a bare amount of crystals covering just th edges of the yarn (which in another way will allow you to see the texture better while keeping the yarn still firm).
On the other hand, if you would like the yarn to be more fully covered with crystals instead (like the white one pictured), I would suggest to add a half to one tablespoon of borax. The other thing I noticed is, any DIYs available on the internet would most probably come from the US. When involving any types of chemicals, living in Germany would probably always makes a difference because any chemical here have a whole different standard so its very probable that the borax available here has a weaker effect than those from the US.
with food coloring without anything with other pigment
Now this also counts for food coloring. There is no proper food coloring available in Germany. Doesn’t matter which store you look, just forget it. If you don’t live in Germany and you want to make a colored borax crystal, rejoice! You can make any color possible, even maybe that pretty galaxy tone.
I have tried several types of food coloring available in here, but none works. It will only taint the yarn and it barely turn the color of the crystal. But if you live in Germany and actually like the effect, of course you can still try it.
Oh, by the way the only pigment that probably would work is food coloring, because others will not mix with the water but instead sink to the bottom. While the object is being hang in the middle, yeah it’s quite easy to imagine why it won’t work. Oh by the way the one that looks like an alien stone was made with a painting pigment, which is why some got stuck in the yarn and turned it blue looking all weird :’)))
Hanging the Object on a String
I have tried to just dip in the doily without hanging it on a string, and the crystals did grow, but very very slowly and I am not even sure if they would ended up growing properly. I read somewhere that the crystallization process needs to be uninterrupted, therefore it’s important to let the doily hang on a string in the middle of the jar full of borax solution while not touching any surface.
As I have mentioned before, if you don’t plan to harden them before dipping them in the borax solution, it’s easier to make firmer crochet forms beforehand instead of doilies with lots of holes that probably will have a flimsy result. Also when the yarn is flimsy, the already so less crystals will not be able to grasp properly thus they will easily fall apart.
Here is a simple pattern I made to create my flower crystals:
sc, inc (18)
2 sc, inc (24)
scallop ends: sc, 5 hdc to the second loop from hook (skipping one space) then sl st to next space. Each scallop would take 4 stitches space, therefore there should be six scallops. In the end of the row, sl st to the first stitch from the first scallop. Leave a long tail to tie and hang on the jar of borax solution.
There is no exact way to say how long would you need. The general suggestion would be 8 hours, but I let mine sit around 24-30 good hours. I would say the reason is that yarn needs more time to be grasped by the crystals than pipe cleaners, and the difference in borax. I would say, the easiest way is let it sit at 8 hours minimum and take it out if you think there is enough crystals or if you already achieve the amount of crystals you like.
Happy crafting!! If you like my projects, please do like this article, and follow my instagram page for more updates 🙂