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How To Grow Quick Sheet Crystals

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These sheet crystals crystallize very quickly. Food coloring was added to color the crystals.

These sheet crystals crystallize very quickly. Food coloring was added to color the crystals.

Anne Helmenstine
You can grow crystals in seconds. It doesn't take special solutions or complicated equipment. You have all the ingredients in your kitchen. Let's do it!
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: crystals form in seconds

Here's How:

  1. Make a crystal growing solution. You can use any recipe. Great choices would be epsom salt (sold with laundry or bath products) or alum (from the spice section of the grocery store) stirred into very hot water until no more will dissolve. Add a little food coloring.
  2. Pour a little solution onto a cookie sheet or glass pan. It's okay if the liquid is still hot.
  3. Tilt the pan around to spread out the solution. You'll see a fan of crystals form as the liquid evaporates, similar to frost on a windowpane.

Tips:

  1. You don't need very much solution at all! If you have a puddle of liquid in your pan, that is too much. Pour some off and let the bottom dry. The evaporation goes more quickly if the pan is warm, but it's not really necessary to heat it (in other words, avoid burns).

What You Need

  • cookie sheet or glass pan
  • hot water
  • crystal chemical (e.g., alum or epsom salt)
  • food coloring (optional)
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