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Rock Candy - How to Make Rock Candy and Learn Science

Updated on July 26, 2015
Dolores Monet profile image

An avid gardener for over 40 years, Dolores has landscaped for private clients and maintained one client's small orchid collection.

Rock Candy - photo by Cody Hough, college student and photographer, Michigan
Rock Candy - photo by Cody Hough, college student and photographer, Michigan

What is Rock Candy

Rock candy is fun to make. You can create these beautiful crystals with simple ingredients and a few pieces of everyday kitchen equipment.

The making of rock candy is an amusing way to introduce children to chemistry.

The sugar crystals created in the making of rock candy are monoclinic crystals. The shape of the crystal is dictated by the shape of the individual molecules so that the larger crystal shape - the rock candy - is the same shape of the smaller sugar crystal.

A monoclinic crystal is created on a 3D grid where the vectors go off in different directions. Two pairs of vectors are perpendicular and a third pair make an angle other than the first two.

Rock Candy - Equpment Needed

Medium Saucepan

Wooden Spoon

Water

Sugar

Coloring Agent (if desired)

String - Natural Fiber or Heavy Cotton Thread

Tall Glass or Plastic Container

Pencil or Skewer

Tape

Rock Candy - Prime Strings

Source

Rock Candy - Suspend String in Sugar Syrup

Source

Rock Candy

Source

How to Make Rock Candy

If young children participate in the making of rock candy, an adult should boil the syrup for safety sake. Since the syrup must be cool before pouring, children can do this, as well the the measuring before hand.

  • Thoroughly wash all equipment and dry.
  • Boil 2 cups of water and 4 cups of sugar until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Allow sugar syrup to cool.
  • Pour into containers.
  • Add flavoring agent if desired (1 teaspoon of extract - vanilla, orange, almond, etc) or 1/2 teaspoon of flavoring oil (less if it's peppermint).
  • Cut string or thread to a size long enough to wrap around a pencil or skewer, short enough so that it will not touch the bottom of the glass.
  • Prime the string. Attach a weigh (paper clip). Dip in cooled sugar syrup. Lay the string or thread out straight on a nonstick cookie sheet or waxed paper. Allow to dry.
  • Suspend primed string in sugar syrup. You will no longer need the weight.Wrap the string around a pencil to keep it in place. You can tape the string to the pencil and tape the pencil to the glass to avoid slippage.
  • You can use skewers instead of string. Suspend skewer from the rim of the glass, anchoring it with clothespins.
  • Set glasses on a level surface. Do not disturb the containers for 3 weeks.

How to Make Rock Candy - A Short Film

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    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub with clear step-by-step photos, clear instructions and good videos. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up

    • Donna Sundblad profile image

      Donna Sundblad 5 years ago from Georgia

      I love rock candy! This recipe is a keeper. Great hub. I voted it up and useful.

    • Dolores Monet profile image
      Author

      Dolores Monet 7 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I know. You can find anything on the internet. Thank you, cosette!

    • profile image

      cosette 7 years ago

      amazing. i love the internet. great hub!

    • Dolores Monet profile image
      Author

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thank you mdawson. It's so easy you can just copy it down. I hate to admit it, but I just hand copy my recipes instead of printing them out - the writing it down helps me remember!

    • profile image

      mdawson17 8 years ago

      Great Hub I would love to copy this hub or could you send it to my email! I have a child that my wife and I home school and this would be a great project for her to do!

      mdawson17

    • Dolores Monet profile image
      Author

      Dolores Monet 8 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Thanks, Nancy - I hope they enjoy the activity, but you have to have patience as it takes some time for the crystals to form.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 8 years ago

      Great article and information---thanks for sharing this recipe I will pass it on to my grandson’s for their next science project…