Saturday, July 19, 2014

Crystallization: Ossified Fairy Dress

Who knew that fairies shed their dresses and wings just like snakes shed their skins? Careful searching of a forest floor may lead to the discovery of a little ossified ballgown like the one above.

In this case the ossified gown has been replicated with a little human help and a supersaturated solution of 3 tablespoons 20 Mule Team Borax per cup of boiling water. The first step: create a diminutive ballgown out of scraps of linen.

Next step: immerse the gown in the supersaturated borax solution and let sit for a few hours (this crystallization process took just three hours—apparently borax crystals love linen).

In suspension

Suspension from above: a toothpick through the shoulder loops, hung by a piece of thread from a wooden skewer.

Drying, suspended from a corner over the kitchen sink

The finished gown, now weighing about a pound and able to stand on its own

A fairy gown in the hand...

Or hung on the wall


  1. How magical!
    Do you need to seal the crystals at all or they truly attached into the linen?
    must have a play with this technique can foresee some pretty fairies on my xmas tree this year lol
    Thankyou for sharing : )

    1. No sealing at all - the crystals grow right on the fabric and it becomes an encrusted, solid object. But note that the crystals DO make the thing heavier.

  2. Could you do this with lace if i make the dress from wide lace trim

    1. Yes, lace should work, but I would go with a natural fiber like cotton or silk. I haven't tried it with synthetic material so I'm not sure about that,

  3. How would you accomplish this using a book as in the cover photo here. Also do the crystals oxidize after a few weeks? I read somewhere that they're having trouble with the oxidization of Crystas making it in this form.

    1. All you need to do a book is use a container big enough to hold the book. Hit the crystallization link in the right column of this blog and you'll see a post showing how I did a book. If, by oxidization, you mean the crystals eventually turn white and opaque rather than remaining crystal-like, yes, that does happen.


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