I found this website where I fell in love with the ideas of shamrock crystals. I have been wanting to make these type of crystals with my class for a few months now. The recipe was a very easy one.
Jars or cups (plastic or glass)
3 cups boiling water
1/2 cup borax
I had white chenille stems from a previous craft. I let the kids use green markers to color the stems after I shaped them like a shamrock. We set those aside to dry a bit while we mixed up the borax solution.
I did all the measuring for the kids since dealing with 3-4 year old children and hot water and soap is not very safe. I added the 3 cups of water and the Borax into a cup. Then gave the kids a spoon or some kind of stirring implement and asked them to stir a lot.
Some of the kids enjoyed the stirring, some not so much but still participated. You need to have most to all of the borax soap dissolved before you submerge the shamrock. I boiled water in a huge pot in our kitchen, but we could not make these in there as other classes use it for snacks and such, so my water got a bit cooler as I made my way through my 11 students that day. The soap did not dissolve completely in the cooled down water but the resulting crystals were still pretty impressive.
Once the mixing is done you can submerge the shamrock. I used the pencil and tied a string on to it them on to the step of the shamrock. You want to make sure that the whole shamrock is covered by the water. In the website where I found this idea the poster said to not allow the shamrock to touch the sides of the jar. I had to use several kitchen glasses and some of our shamrocks were touching the sides but they still turned out just fine.
Now you need to leave the shamrock in the Borax solution over night (mine were in for almost 24 hours) then you can pull them out, dry them gently off, and hang them to enjoy.
The markers I used were washable markers and not super washable dot markers. When we submerged them into the solution the water instantly turned green. I was a bit bummed by this because I wanted their crystals to be green. Well the washable marker users had white shamrocks, but the dot marker users had slightly green shamrocks. I am going to do this with my daughters this weekend and let them use permanent markers to color their shamrocks. I am hoping to have different results. If you want to guarantee to have green shamrocks (or any color really) use chenille stems of the color you want.
When you are done with the solution you can just dump it in the sink. Be aware that I had a freak out moment when I dumped mine, because there were crystals formed on the bottom and sides of all of my glass and plastic jars and cups I used. They did not seem like it was going to come off easy until I soaked them in hot water for a time. Then I ran them through the dishwasher and they cam out sparkling clean. :)
More fun shamrock crafts:
Faux Tie-dye Shamrocks