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How To Grow a Cup of Quick Crystal Needles


These epsom salt crystal needles form within a matter of hours.

These epsom salt crystal needles form within a matter of hours. You can grow clear crystals or color them with food coloring.

Anne Helmenstine

Grow a cupful of epsom salt crystal needles in your refrigerator. It's quick, easy, and safe.

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 3 hours

Here's How:

  1. In a cup or small, deep bowl, mix 1/2 cup of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) with 1/2 cup of hot tap water (hot as it will get from the faucet).
  2. Stir about a minute to dissolve the epsom salts. There will still be some undissolved crystals at the bottom.
  3. Place the cup in the refrigerator. The bowl will fill with needle-like crystals within three hours.


  1. Don't use boiling water to prepare your solution. You will still get crystals, but they will be more threadlike and less interesting. The temperature of the water helps control the concentration of the solution.
  2. If you like, you can place a small object at the bottom of the cup to make it easier to remove your crystals, such as a quarter or plastic bottle cap. Otherwise, carefully scoop the crystal needles from the solution if you wish to examine them or save them.
  3. Don't drink the crystal liquid. It's not toxic, but it's not good for you either.

What You Need:

  • cup or small bowl
  • epsom salt
  • hot tap water
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