Instructables


If you found an ad for this instructable in the back of a comic book, it would read something like:
"Amaze your friends by growing a crystal tree out of common table salt and a few other ingredients available from the grocery store"
 
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Step 1: Gather Your Materials

Gathering the ingredients is probably the most difficult step. To grow your Magic Crystal Tree, you'll need:
- Mrs Stewart's Bluing
- Table salt
- Household Ammonia (the kind with no soap added)
- Cardboard (not corrugated)
- Bowl
- Water
- Measuring spoon
- Food Coloring (optional)

The bluing is the hardest item to find but can be found in the cleaning section of many grocery stores. You can find the ammonia close by.

The cardboard I used came as packing material from a new shirt, or the backing from a paper notepad. Cereal box cardboard might work, but it's thinner & has printing on one side...

Depending on the temperature & humidity of your location, the ammonia is optional, but speeds up the crystal growth -- the tree in this Instructable started "sprouting" in less than an hour. Without ammonia, it may take a couple of days to start.

Step 2: Cardboard Shapes for the Crystals to Grow On

For this Instructable, I made a tree formed out of two cardboard triangles, roughly 2" at the base and about 3.5" high. If you'd prefer some form of unspeakable tentacled beasty, send me a picture!

Cut a slot from the top to the middle in one piece, and from the bottom to the middle in the other. The slots allow the two pieces to be assembled into a 3D shape.

Make sure that whatever shape you create can stand up by itself.

Step 3: (Optional) Color the tree

Picture of (Optional) Color the tree
If you like, you can add a little color to your shape by putting drops of food coloring on the edges. The food coloring will soak into the cardboard.
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mik3 (author)  StarFace5 years ago
Possibly "laundry bluing" or "washing blue". Technically, Mrs Stewart's Bluing is a colloidal suspension of a blue dye (ferric hexacyanoferrate). The key is the colloidal suspension, which means that it's really an extremely fine powder, which acts as nuclei for the salt crystals to form. Other laundry bluing might work, but check the ingredients for ferric hexacyanoferrate, or possible "Prussian Blue".

You might also check eBay or Amazon for Mrs Stewart's Bluing.

Thanks for the comments,
--Mike
So would any colloid work?
djamelal5 years ago
i bought one of theese, now i feel like a nugget. such a good idea i have made one but it fell over. = $
k06305 years ago
that's cool! I would like to ask what is the max. height i can have if i want to grow a really large one?
Vehan5 years ago
I think it is cool but what is mr stewarts bluing?
cape cod5 years ago
That is awesome!
youngstuna5 years ago
i think that this invention is really cool
frogmama5 years ago
frogmama5 years ago
Do you have the video posted on Youtube or somewhere? Thanks!
k8monster5 years ago
Hobby or art stores will sell a thin cardboard that us usually used to build working models... It's called chipboard
Or ask a scrapbooker or a place that sells open-stock scrapbook paper. The OS paper comes wrapped with that as a stabilizer for packaging.
mik3 (author)  k8monster5 years ago
Thanks -- it's good know places to find the materials. Other possibilities for the tree "skeleton" are pipe cleaners, or toilet paper tubes.
fwjs285 years ago
time lapse video would be sweet....
canadian nh5 years ago
nice work congratulations, if you have any other arts please show us. I'm in kuwait now, I'm going to my home Canada, I don't know if I can find them there, but I wonder is ammonia which I know white powder? bcz no liquid amonia here, one more question please is this tree fragile? how can we keep it if it is so? and how long it stays? thnks
mik3 (author)  canadian nh5 years ago
Thanks! The ammonia I used is a liquid not a powder. It's used for cleaning. Some people have had luck growing the crystals without using ammonia. The crystals are pretty fragile -- a hard breath or a bump can break off the growths.
I used to do this when I was a kid but we would put charcol in a fish bowl and follow the same directions pouring the mix on the charcol and then dripping food coloring on the charcol. It was really cool but didn't smell very good.
emdarcher5 years ago
where did you get the camera sofware you used in step 8?
mik3 (author)  emdarcher5 years ago
It came with the camera. Google "canon remotecapture" -- unfortunately, it doesn't work with all Canon cameras.
emdarcher mik35 years ago
can you use it with a sony cyber shot or a polaroid small camcorder
mik3 (author)  emdarcher5 years ago
Sorry, I think it's only for Canon cameras. I haven't tried it, but I you might check out gPhoto2 if you've got a linux box.
arthessa6 years ago
Amazing instructable. Congratulations :o) I love the time-lapse video. Really looking forward to making one of my own. But before I can, I have a couple of questions for you: - Is there anything more generic that I can use opposed to Mrs Stewart's Bluing? I don't thing I can get it anywhere here in Colombia. - What remote capture software did you use? Is there any way I can hook my Kodak Z612 up with that software? Does it work with any digital camera, as long as I have the usb cable to connect it to my pc?
mik3 (author)  arthessa5 years ago
Thanks! It was a fun Instructables project to make ;) Possible "laundry bluing" or "washing blue", but check the ingredients for ferric hexacyanoferrate (Prussian Blue). The software used was RemoteCapture 2.7, but it looks like it's only for Canon cameras. If you've got a linux box, I've seen some references to using gPhoto2 for doing timelapse, but I haven't played around with it. Good luck, and let me know if you try anything.
Nice work....I was wondering if ammonia and Mrs Stewart's Bluing is really needed? Since I live in the philippines (davao) and not all chemicals are that easy to find at all....
mik3 (author)  residentevil55 years ago
The ammonia helps the evaporation, and really speeds up the growth. It should work without it, but may take longer to grow the crystals. Try looking for "laundry bluing" or "washing blue" -- if it contains ferric hexacyanoferrate, or possible "Prussian Blue", it might work.
(removed by author or community request)
mik3 (author)  DELETED_GuardianFox5 years ago
DOH! Thanks for catching that.
burton35166 years ago
do u have to use ammonia and Mrs Stewart's Bluing?
The ammonia and Mrs Stewart's Bluing are optional, they just speed up the process.
the instructable says the ammonia is optional...
whopoder5 years ago
Good Job! I saw this mix one time... in Beakman's World :D
lobo_pal6 years ago
Nice job, quality instructable. Got any others?
fan456 years ago
hi every one thats cool so hi guys.
Shifrin6 years ago
Hey this is awesome, I Gotta try this!
crapflinger6 years ago
"- Bowel" you probably meant bowl hehe i'll have to do this...my wife got me one of these things that you can buy for like 20 cents at the store...and it was really nifty....however i nocked it over while cleaning this weekend and ruined it
Brennn106 years ago
This is a great science experiment!
Doveman6 years ago
thats cool. I guess it hapenns when the salty water or whaterever (i havent read instructable) moves up the cardboard looking stuff and then runs down the tree branchs.
Oh wow, dang, that's freaking awesome... Looks great, I might do this. (added to favorites)
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