How To Grow and Make Coloured Sparkling Crystals Using Sugar
Crystals really are amazing! They sparkle and add a shine to your home. Even if you want to try out a fun home science experiment or have some sparkling crystals, this hub is the right one for you. Here, I will be showing and telling you how to actually 'grow' your own coloured sparkling crystals. Ranging from red, green, yellow, orange, pink, blue, purple to many more, there is sure to be a colour that tickles your fancy. The materials used are cheap, and are very common to get. You will need things such as food colouring which is easily found in the baking department of a supermarket, sugar, water, string and a glass jar. The crystals will take a good 24 to 48 hours to grow but once you have been patient, and waited (the excitement!), you will have amazing crystals in no time. So, time to begin!
Materials You Will Need To Make The Crystals
The materials you need couldn't be easier to find. You will need a few basic ingredients and each ingredient is listed below as well as its function. Once you have these materials, you are ready to begin.
- Sugar (or Epsom Salts) - this is the primary substance you will need as it provides and makes the actual structure of the crystal. Sugar creates a more 'frosty' crystal whilst the Epsom salts create the whole prism effect.
- Food colouring - this is essential in giving the crystals a good strong colour. If you want to create multi-coloured crystals, I recommend that you buy the three primary colours which are red, blue and yellow. Once you have these three you can create a wide variety of colours. I will be teaching you more about mixing the colours later on.
- Glass Jar - even an ordinary jam jar will do, any glass jar is perfect as long as it is tall enough for the crystals to grow. This jar will be the housing of the whole experiment and is the place where the crystals are going to grow.
- String - use the traditional string that has a slightly woolly feel. Whatever you do, don't use a plastic coated string as the crystals will not be able to grow there.
- Pencil - make sure you get an old one that you will never use again, it might get a little sticky in the process.
- Pot - used for boiling the water in, naturally.
Before we begin...
Up until this stage, I am sure you are wondering what the crystals will actually look like at the end. Without further ado, on the right, I am showing you what the end point of your crystal growing will look like. Of course a crystal like this was made by an experienced crystal grower but you could master a hobby like this in no time. Imagine growing crystals like these in all the different colours, wow, that would be magnificent! I have a feeling that the picture on the right reminds you of something, rock candy. Yes, the principle you will be doing here is the same technique used to make rock candy. I am sure that you will want to know what the process of crystal growing involves? In case you are thinking that you have to be a real hard-core scientist, and the answer is no, no you don't. Basically, all you have to do is boil some water, add the sugar and food colouring and you are done. Throw in the solution into a jar with some strings dangling off a pencil and you are done, literally.
Be careful of boiling water! It will burn you should you come in contact with it. Keep the pot away from children at all times, as boiling water is lethal.
How To Make The Crystals
Now that you have your materials and I have given you a brief walk-through of what you are going to do, it is time to get started. Also, remember to keep away boiling water from children, it is very dangerous. Time to get started!
- Get your pot and fill it up with water. Put in about 3 cups of water. Start heating the water.
- Next get your sugar and add in about 1 cup of sugar per three cups of water. Keep adding sugar at regular intervals. Don't be sparing! Use as much as you can. I once did this experiment and did not add enough sugar. Result? No crystals.
- Stir in the sugar as it dissolves. Keep adding in the sugar. The sugar should be dissolving as the water heats up. If not, keep stirring.
- Add more sugar until no more will dissolve. So if the sugar is not dissolving and is merely sinking to the bottom of the pot, then your solution is saturated.
- Add a few drops of food colouring. (See below for mixing the colours)
- If you want the crystals to smell nice, add a few drops of food flavouring. There are many varieties available including lemon, cherry, pineapple and cotton candy. Seriously, there are tens of flavours to choose from on Amazon.
- Next, pour the solution into your jar and tie some string onto a pencil so that it dangles off the pencil. Place the pencil just over the top of the jar and make sure the string is completely dipped or immersed in the liquid.
- Leave the jar there for 24 to 48 hours depending on how big you want your crystals to grow.
- After you have waited, gently take out the string that is attached onto the pencil. There should be medium sized crystals on the string in the colour of your choice. Well done!
Mixing your colours
Whilst you can buy food colouring in a variety of colours, it is just as fun to mix them yourself should you only have one or two colours. The possibilities are endless from every colour in the rainbow, you can mix it. Here is your guide on how to do so:
- Add three drops of red and two drops of blue to make a wine-purple colour.
- Add two drops of red and three drops of blue to get a violet colour.
- One or two drops of red give you a pink colour.
- Blue and yellow gives you green.
- Yellow and red gives you orange.
- Yellow and green gives you blue.
Going one step further: Making Bigger Ones
OK, so you have made your crystals using the method that was mentioned above. They usually turn out very nice, but if you are a budding crystal grower, you may want bigger, better crystals. There is a method that you can use that gives you bigger crystals by simply using the crystals they have grown previously to use as a seed.
- Make another fresh solution using the sugar again. In fact do the whole process again.
- Then at the end, instead of using a new string as a place for your crystals to grow, use the string with the crystals already grown on it. Dip that string into the jar and leave for three to our days. What you will have there are bigger, more sparkly crystals.