Looking for a great gift idea for teachers, neighbors, co-workers, or even your postal carrier? Try this project. It's fun to do with your kids, and it makes pretty ornaments that sparkle as your Christmas lights twinkle on your tree. I found it last year on P. Allen Smith's website.
Pipe Cleaners (assorted colors - white too)
Borax (I used 20 Mule Team - do not use Boraxo Soap)
Blue food coloring (optional)
Jars large enough to submerge ornaments in Borax solution
Bend your pipe cleaner into your desired shape. We did swirls as shown here and hearts. To make it easy, we left about 1" of the cleaner untwisted and formed a hook for hanging.
Mix together your crystal solution at a ratio of 3 Tbsp of Borax to one cup of boiling water. Stir until the Borax dissolves. Don't expect all of the powder to dissolve; some may settle to the bottom. We used every glass we have in the house and poured the solution in. Then we placed the hook of our ornaments over a pencil/pen and placed the pencil across the top of the glass, submerging the pipe cleaner into the solution. Let them sit for 6 - 8 hours to allow crystals to form. Remove them from the solution and allow to dry on waxed paper.
Let me warn you - don't spill the solution. It will form crystals on your countertop. And, that's difficult to clean up. The crystals will wash out of your glasses when you run them through the Hi Temp wash in your dishwasher.
Tip: If you use white pipe cleaners, you may add a couple of drops of blue food coloring to your solution to tint the crystals.
These take some time to make, but they aren't difficult, and they make very pretty ornaments. They are inexpensive gifts and everyone loves them!