- Arts and Design
Fun water crystal designs
A great Eco-friendly craft
Making house plants more interesting
Water crystals, (or garden polymer) isn't widely known or used yet, but it not only saves on watering but is a great way to liven up your indoor plants. These little granules are about the size of sea salt, but expand up to 500 times their size. Unlike disposable diaper polymer, this is non-toxic and Eco-friendly. The little particles are mold and mildew resistant and it is not attractive to insects which is another plus!
Keep in mind a little goes a long way. In other words 1 ounce will make approximately 3 gallons of hydrated crystals. Below you will see how fun and easy it is to create beautiful, interesting house plants that will WOW your family and friends.
What water crystals look like
Things you'll need
First of course you'll need to get the water crystals. I buy mine on Amazon. You can get a pound for around $12.00 and I would recommend starting with just that much as it goes a long way and you can make many plant designs with that much.
Even though it is Eco-friendly and non-toxic, because it is an expanding particle, I would not put it in easy reach of small children or pets and when discarding any excess polymer, either toss in your garden or in the trash. Avoid putting it down the drain.
craft ideas to add to your crystals
Use your imagination, sky is the limit!
Just a couple of ideas:
- small colored glass rocks
- food coloring (colored polymer can be layered)
- very small plastic flowers
- plastic confetti
- old glass or plastic jewelery (small)
These are but a few ideas you can use. Do not use paper (will disintegrate) or metal (will rust), remember you are dealing mainly with water.
Putting it all together
Use a clear container
Of course it would be a mute point to use anything other than a clear container. I have decided to use a champagne glass and I personally like to theme my creations so this is going to be called "Pink champagne and pearls"
Before anything, lay out some newspaper or something similar as it makes clean up easier and also when using food coloring it will help keep stains off counters etc.
Next lay out what you will need. For this I got the following ready:
- One teaspoon of dry water crystals
- red food coloring
- craft pearls (can be found at most craft stores)
Once the dry crystals are in the glass I filled a measuring cup (2 cups) with water. This is plenty for this small glass but make sure you have plenty of water as you can always pour the excess away, but if you don't have enough and you are using food coloring the color may not match when adding more later. Also note that once the crystal has absorbed the colored water, your plant will not change color by being immersed in it. I don't know if you ever bought a carnation bouquet and if you put it in colored water, the flower would take on that color. This is not the case with colored water crystals.
Since I'm looking for a pink color I added 1 1/2 tsp to the water (one may be enough though so you have to play with the way you want the color to look).
Watch the crystals do their magic
Just add water
Next, pour water so that it is about 1/2 to 3/4 full. You may have to skim some excess off (and again throw any excess in the trash or garden, not your sink). It will take a couple of minutes to fully hydrate. If using food coloring as in this example the color will stay in the crystal so even when watering the plant down the road the crystal will retain it's color.
You could add just water first to the dry crystals and then add the food coloring right after. The only problem with that is if you add too much food coloring at that point you will have to toss it all out and start again. I have seen it done that way but I wouldn't recommend it.
Make sure that you have about 1/2 to 1 inch left at the top for adding additional craft components as well as the plant
Adding the final touches
Pretty in pearls
The final step is just adding what you would like to make your design stand out. Here I have taken a handful of plastic craft pearls. You can add more or less depending on your taste.
The trick is you want them showing through the glass. It won't matter much if they are in the middle of the container as no one will see them. You can either pour them over the crystals and then use a spoon or small spatula to push them to the glass, or else take each pearl separate and place them next to the glass where you'd like them. Either way works but try to disperse them evenly around the glass for a more aesthetic effect.
Once you have the pearls in place you then can add the plant. There are different ways you can go here. One would be to take a cutting from an existing plant, let it start rooting in water then transplant it into the glass. You also can take the cutting and directly plant it in the polymer, however it doesn't seem to do as well that way. You can also plant seeds and watch them grow. When you see the top of the crystals turning a lighter color or starting to crack a bit, just add a small amount of water at a time until it returns to it's fully hydrated form.
Finally, you can take cut flowers and put them into your water crystal creation. They will last about as long as they would in water, but with style!
Have fun with things around the house
Be the creative genius you are!
It is amazing how many things you can find around the house that can make your creations interesting and original. In this example I found an old glass tea pot that had been pushed to the back of a shelf, not used in years. Now it has new life and fun to display as something else.
The plant designs make great gifts as well. You can find all kinds of craft items for baby showers, weddings, Christmas, Fourth of July etc. With fireworks coming up I just added some stars to white (not colored) polymer and now I have a planting for a specific occasion.