Here’s the thing: I love decorating with crystals and plants, but that chic combination can start to get very expensive very quickly. But I couldn’t shake the idea of a huge, statement-making crystal planter that wouldn’t break my vacation-savings budget, so I set about figuring out a way to grow my very own crystal rather than buying one.
And that’s when I learned about the magical properties of Borax. That’s right—the powdered laundry detergent booster that can be purchased plentifully and cheaply from Amazon grows into stunning crystal formations with just a little bit of know-how and some science fair-style gumption. After doing a few experiments of my own (and possibly tricking my roommate into thinking I was turning our kitchen into a Breaking Bad tribute set), I’m here to share the full tutorial for how to make this absolutely stunning crystal planter for the price of a single Postmates order.
DIY extra-large crystal planter
- pipe cleaners
- large stock pot
- kitchen twine
- chopstick or hanger
- clear nail polish
- air plants
- hot glue gun
The first thing we need to do is build a scaffolding on which the crystals can grow.
Twist three or four pipe cleaners together to form rectangle.
Attach more pipe cleaners from side to side and top to bottom until the whole shape is bridged by an even grid. Then, thread a length of kitchen twine through the shape and set it to the side.
Now it’s time to make the solution.
Boil water in a large stock pot and begin to stir in Borax bit by bit. There’s no exact measurement here—the key is simply to super saturate the water, which means to add in Borax until it no longer dissolves (I used about a box and a half of Borax to get my solution to the proper saturation point).
I opted to create clear crystals, but if you want to tint them, you can go ahead and add some food coloring at this stage.
Once the solution is super saturated, it’s time to add the pipe-cleaner shape you made. You can either do this in the pot you used to heat up the water or in a bucket or bowl you have handy.
Tie the string securely to a chopstick or hanger (just has to be something wide enough to bridge the top of the bowl or pot you’re using) and slowly dunk the pipe cleaners two or three times into the solution. This gets rid of any pesky air bubbles.
Then, carefully situate the pipe-cleaner shape inside the solution, making sure it’s not touching the sides or bottom, and cover the container with tin foil.
Leave between 12-24 hours to grow really nice, big crystals for your crystal planter.
After the allotted time, fish out the crystal you’ve grown (be careful—the edges are sharp!), dry it off and trim the twine.
My crystal shape had a few holes in it, so I broke off some crystals that had formed along the sides of the bowl and used them to fill in any gaps. A hot glue gun works perfectly for this!
Once the glue has dried, go over everything with a coat of clear nail polish. This helps the crystal from dissolving over time, keeping it looking sparkly and in tip-top shape on your shelf.
Now all that’s left to do is nestle some lovely little air plants in the nooks and crannies of your homemade crystal planter and style up a boho-chic #shelfie!
photography by Meghan Klein, DIY by Hannah Cross.
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