How to Make Crystals

Three Methods:Making Basic CrystalsMaking Crystal Rock CandyMaking Decorative Crystals

Substances like salt, sugar, and alum are natural crystals. Mixing one of these crystal bases with water creates an environment conducive to growing crystal rocks of different sizes and hues. Read on to find out how to make basic crystals, crystal rock candy and decorative variations.

Method 1
Making Basic Crystals

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    Fill up a jar halfway with warm water. Any jar will do, as long as it's clean, since debris could interfere with the crystal growth. Using a clear jar will enable you to watch the crystals form. You could also use a glass, a vase, or any other dish that will hold water.
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    Stir in the crystal base. Start by adding about two tablespoons of your chosen crystal base, then continue pouring in more base and stirring until no more base will dissolve. You'll know it's time to stop when you see a fine layer of crystal base collecting on the bottom of the jar.
    • Rock salt makes a cheap, accessible crystal base. Epsom salt also works, and is available at most drug stores.
    • Alternative crystal bases include alum, a substance used for making pickles, or borax, which is available at hardware stores.
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    Watch as crystals form. Within an hour or so, crystals will begin to form on the bottom and sides of the jar. As the water in the jar evaporates, the crystals will grow larger. The longer you let the mixture sit in the jar, the bigger the crystals will get.
    • If you want to make an individual crystal you can use as a decoration, remove a piece of crystal from the bottom of the jar and tie a string around it. Tie the other end of the string to a pencil and rest the pencil over the mouth of the jar with the crystal suspended in the water. Let the crystal grow as large as you want before removing it and drying it off.
    • You can keep the crystals in the jar for as long as you like. To prevent them from getting dusty, cover the jar with a lid after the water has finished evaporating.

Method 2
Making Crystal Rock Candy

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    Fill up a jar halfway with warm water. Since you're making candy this time, be especially sure that the jar is clean. Wash it out with warm soapy water and dry it completely before you get started.
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    Stir in some sugar. Use a spoon to dissolve sugar into the warm water. Keep adding sugar until no more will dissolve. You'll know you're finished when a layer of sugar collects at the bottom of the jar.
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    Add color and flavor. Plain crystal rock candy turns out clear and tastes like sugar. It's easy to make delicious variations by adding a few drops of food coloring and flavored extract. Consider the following color and flavor combinations, or think up your own:
    • Purple food coloring with grape flavoring.
    • Red food coloring with cinnamon flavoring.
    • Green food coloring with peppermint flavoring.
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    Suspend wooden sticks in the sugar solution. You can buy special candy sticks with knobs on the end, or use chopsticks or popsicle sticks instead. Place them inside the jar of sugar solution and lean them against the side.
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    Cover the jar. Place a layer of plastic wrap or another covering over the jar to prevent bugs from getting in. Make sure it isn't too tight, or the water inside won't be able to evaporate.
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    Remove the sticks when the crystals have formed. After a few days to a week, the sticks will be covered with sugar crystals. Remove them when you're satisfied with the size of the crystals, and enjoy the candy you have made.

Method 3
Making Decorative Crystals

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    Make crystal ornaments. Make up a solution of warm water and the crystal base of your choice. Suspend plain wooden ornaments in the solution by tying the ornament string to a pencil and placing the pencil over the mouth of the jar. Wait a week for crystals to form, then remove the ornaments and dry them off before using.
    • You can form pipe cleaners into different shapes and use them in place of wooden ornaments.
    • Stars, trees, crescent moons, and leaf shapes all make wonderful crystal ornaments.
    • Add a few drops of food coloring to make colorful holiday-themed ornaments.
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    Make crystal eggs. These geode-like creations are made by painting eggshells with alum and submerging them in crystal solution. Follow these steps to create colorful crystal eggs:
    • Blow out a chicken egg, use a scissors to trim it in half, and carefully clean and dry the inside of both halves.
    • Use a paintbrush to apply glue to the inside of the egg, then sprinkle it with salt, alum, borax or sugar.
    • Make a crystal solution by filling a jar half full of warm water and adding salt, alum, borax or sugar until no more will dissolve. Add food coloring for colorful eggs.
    • Submerge the egg halves in the solution and wait for the crystals to grow. Remove them and let them dry.

Things You'll Need

  • Rock salt, sugar, alum, or borax
  • Clear jar
  • Pencil
  • String
  • Wooden sticks
  • Food coloring
  • Flavored extracts


  • Use only warm water, or the crystals won't form.
  • For multicolored crystals, divide the solution into several small jars and add different food coloring to each before growing the crystals.


  • Don't attempt to eat crystals (unless they are made with sugar).

Article Info

Categories: Science for Kids