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Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Grow a Salt Crystal Garden

By February 15, 2014

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Salt Crystal Garden (Anne Helmenstine)Here's an easy crystal project you can complete in an afternoon. A salt crystal garden is a classic project in which you grow crystals by wicking the crystal growing solution up a toilet paper or paper towel tube, causing the crystals to be deposited on the barrel of the tube. You don't actually need to cut the tube, but sometimes crystals will grow outward on the fringe, resembling a crystal tree.

How to Make a Salt Crystal Garden

This really easy. Mix equal parts table salt, household ammonia and iron(III) ferrocyanide solution. The iron(III) ferrocyanide is found as Mrs. Stewart's Laundry Bluing or as a common artist pigment, Prussian Blue. If you use the dry pigment, dilute it with water to make a deeply-colored blue solution. The exact measurements are not critical.

Pour the mixture into the bottom of a shallow dish. Set a cardboard tube (~4" tall) into the solution. The crystals are naturally white, but if you want some color you can dot the cardboard tube with food coloring or water soluble marker ink. The solution will creep up the tube. You'll start to see crystals forming within a few hours. Continue growing crystals as long as you like. I'd allow a couple of days for observations. These crystals are very fragile, so place the dish somewhere where it won't get bumped.

Salt Crystal Garden | Charcoal Crystal Garden


February 11, 2011 at 5:23 pm
(1) Ms.J says:

what are the materials that you use because i am doing a science fair project and i want to be the winner and im considering this

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