Learning & Activities


How to Make Crystals

How to Make Crystals

Learning how to make crystals is a great way to introduce elementary-aged children to science at home.  Growing the crystals is easy, and uses basic ingredients you will be able to find at your local supermarket. Growing the actual crystals takes some patience, but the pay off is worth it. At the end of a few weeks, your child will have a cool crystal to show off and will be able to build confidence from having grown it on their own.

If you and your child make several crystals, they can be arranged as a crystal garden, or just piled in a glass bowl to make a cool, 3-D display. Single crystals can be made into jewelry or key chains. We're taking you beyond regular beading here; you're going to be making the setting, and the stuff that goes in the setting!

This jewelry really will be hand made, from the bottom up! If you always thought it would be fun to teach your kids how to make crystals, but you were afraid it was too complicated, or that it required lots of hard-to-find ingredients, we're here to help. These simple instructions will demystify the process, and have you growing your own crystal garden in no time flat!

How to Make Crystals

You will need the following supplies to make your own crystals:

  • Alum powder
  • Glass jar
  • Pot
  • Spoon
  • Dish, not too deep
  • Cloth

Instructions For How to Make Crystals:

Step 1: Put two cups of water in your pot, and add 4 ounces of alum powder. Stir over a medium-low flame until the powder is dissolved completely. Keep adding more powder, slowly, until it stops dissolving in the water. You have now created a saturated solution.

Step 2: After the solution has cooled, pour some in a dish. A shallow one works best. Then, pour the rest into your glass jar. Add a tablespoon of alum powder to your jar, and stir. Cover the jar with a clean cloth, and set it aside. It needs to be in a warm location where it will not be disturbed. Leave the solution in the dish uncovered.

Step 3: In several days, you will see crystals start to grow in the dish. After the solution in the dish has completely dissolved, you will be left with lots of seed crystals.

Step 4: Tie a piece of string around a pencil or sturdy stick. Tie the other end around the largest seed crystal. You will be using this to grow your alum crystal.

Step 5: Suspend the crystal in the solution in your jar. Put the jar back in its warm spot, and leave it alone.

Step 6: It will take about two weeks for your crystal to grow completely; after that you can remove your crystal and use it or display it.

Remember to practice basic safety when making this craft, as you'll be using heat and ingredients that aren't safe for consumption. This craft isn't ideal for super young children, as they often cannot be trusted not to put everything they find in their mouth. In addition, many of these steps are too hard for them to understand and help with.

Teach your kids how to act around hot surfaces and objects. Help them understand why it's important to keep these ingredients, especially the alum powder, out of their mouths and eyes. Monitor your children to make sure they listen to your warning! Keep the jar that the crystal is growing in somewhere where it won't be easily knocked over. Set it on a high surface, far back from the edge.

When it comes to glass, it bounces once! In the event of an accident, make sure you handle clean-up. Young kids shouldn't handle broken glass or spilled chemicals. Make sure you thoroughly clean the area and double-check to ensure everything is cleaned up. While some care and caution should prevent any accidents, it's good to be prepared.

Learning how to make crystals is a great choice for an elementary school science fair project. Your child can take pictures of the solution each day to show the growth of the crystal, and then mount them on poster board for display. The crystal itself can be mounted on a pedestal, on a separate piece of poster board, or made into jewelry.

Crystal making is a fun and easy project that any child can enjoy, even a child that doesn't have a great love for science. It's just too cool for kids to resist. Give crystal growing a try; your kids will love learning how to make crystals! You will find their chemistry curiosity increasing, and that they clamor to do it again and again!

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