Introduction: How to Grow Great Crystals

After a little research on, I didn't find an instructable which show you how to grow big and beautiful crystals. So I think that this instructable is a good idea.
Growing crystals is more than only a instructable, it is for me a passion, so a little piece of my soul was caught in them (in crystals).
For me, the word "crystal" means something like a DNA, because natural crystals have been created long time ago, and they have a piece of time history in them.
In this instructable you'll find how to grow several crystals and tips and tricks for growing them.
To grow a big wonderful crystal or a beautiful one, you may read all this instructable.

Step 1: A Little Introduction in the World of Crystals

What is a crystal ?
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an ordered pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. In addition to their microscopic structure, large crystals are usually identifiable by their macroscopic geometrical shape, consisting of flat faces with specific, characteristic orientations.(Wikipedia)

In this big world, are a lot of crystals and these crystals also have a lot of applications.
For example, your computer's processor is almost made from silicon, which is a crystal.
Or your keys, that are almost made from iron, which is a crystal too.
Or your wedding ring (if you're married), which I think it's made from gold, another crystal.

But crystals aren't all the same, they have a different structure and different properties.

Enough with talking. Let's start the work!!

Step 2: How to Make the Solution (slow Evaporation Method)

Needed materials:
- 100 g or more crystal powder (If you want to grow a big crystals, you should have more than 100 g)
- 100 ml distilled water (or boiled water)
- patience
- filter paper
- 2 clean jars

1. Mix the crystal powder and the water.
2. Stir until the powder stops dissolving.
3. Filter the obtained solution. Don't worry if the powder wasn't all dissolved. You should keep the powder remained on filter paper.
4. Let the solution for a while. A big crystal isn't growing a sudden.
5. Next time you'll take a look at your crystals, you'll see that there have grown many crystals there. Choose one that you like (a seed) and then put the remained crystals where you put the remained powder.
6. Filter again the solution and then put your little crystal in solution. (You may do that every time you'll see little crystals.)
7. When you see that in the jar isn't enough solution to cover the whole crystal, make some new solution as you have made the first one (I mean make the solution in a clean jar, filter it and then fill the jar that have you're crystal).
8. Growing crystals takes a lot of time, so be patient.

Tips(applied for all crystals):
  • You should cover your jar with something, maybe a filterpaper, because the solution can get some impurities from the air and then will grow many "parasitic" crystals
  •  If you want to quickly grow many little crystals, you can heat the water, but if you want to grow big nice crystals, you shouldn't do that.
  • Don't put your jar on a heat source.
  • Be careful not to break the crystal. (If you break it, you'll be really dissapointed, trust me.)
  • Don't taste the crystals.
  • If you have some small crystals sticked of your crystal, put your crystal in water and let it there until you don't see the small crystals.
  • If you want to quickly grow a little crystal, you can put a little "crumb" from powder as seed.

Step 3: Growing the Copper Sulphate Crystal

Needed materials for this crystal:
- 100 g Copper sulphate(CuSO4) and the other materials (water, filter paper ...)

These crystals are three months.

Warning!!: The copper sulphate is toxic, so don't taste it!!

Step 4: Growing the Aluminum Alum Crystal

Needed materials for this crystal:
- 100 g Alum(KAl(SO4)2) and the other materials (water, filter paper ...)

This crystal is three months.

This crystal isn't toxic, so you can taste it.
In the past, maybe now too, it was used to stop the bleeding.

Step 5: Growing the Potassium Dichromate Geode

Needed materials for this crystal:

- 200 g Potassium Dichromate(K2Cr2O7) and the other materials (water, filter paper ...)

For this "crystal", you can keep almost all the crystals deposited on the bottom of the jar.

After several days, you can hold the geodes in your hand.

These geodes are growing quickly and they needn't  so much care as the other crystals need.

Warning!!: The Potassium Dichromate is highly toxic, so don't TASTE it or TOUCH it without gloves!! DO NOT LET A KID PLAY WITH IT! DEPOSIT IT IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA!

Step 6: Growing Nickel Sulphate Crystals

Needed materials for this crystal:
- 100 g Nickel Sulphate (NiSO4) and the other materials (water, filter paper ...)
Here you can obtain two types of nickel sulphate crystal, How you can do it ? It's simple. 
This crystals have a "special" property, if when you heat the solution up to 30° C, you get turquoise (turquoise is the color) crystals, and if the solution's temperature exceeds 30° C, you get translucent green crystals.

If you want, you can prepare the solution, and then you can add a little crystal as seed.

Warning!!: The nickel sulphate is toxic, so don't TASTE it or TOUCH it !!

Step 7: Growing Rochelle Salt Crystals

Needed materials for this crystal:
- 130 g Rochelle salt(Potassium sodium tartrate KNaC4H4O6) and the other materials (water, filter paper ...)
Tips: These crystals should be kept in a constant temperature environment.

These crystals have a special property, they are piezoelectric.
They produce electricity when you break one, when you yell at it ...
Don't think that they produce a lot of electricity!! You'll be dissapointed when you'll see how much electricity it produces.

Step 8: Growing Chrome Alum Crystals - Obtaining the Crystal's Solution and Growing the Crystal

How to obtain the solution:
I weighed 14.7 g K2Cr2O7 (0.05 moles) and mix it with 12.5 ml of 4 M H2SO4 concentration (0.05 mol)  and 100 ml of distilled water. We warmed slightly to obtain the solution. According to reaction's stoichiometry, we need 0.15 moles of SO2 can be obtained from 0.3 moles of Na2S2O3 (52 g) and 0.15 moles of H2SO4 (about 40ml).
Sodium thiosulphate was introduced in sulfur dioxide generator consists of an Erlenmeyer flask which was attached to a plug with a hole to put a separating funnel to add sulfuric acid in small portions. Heat gently to ensure a constant flow of gas.
For bubbling I used a rubber hose attached to a tube inserted in the second hole of the stopper. During the reaction solution I took care that the temperature does not exceed 40 ° C to avoid side reactions.

Tips: For cooling the solution during the bubbling, I used an ice bath.
During making the solution, don't exceed 60 °C because exceeding this temperature create complex chrome combinations.

Growing the crystals:
After obtaining the blue-green solution, you let it for a while. When you see many crystals grown on the bottom of the jar, choose one or two, and then dissolve the other.
You will obtain dark purple crystals.

This way to obtain Chrome Alum is thought by me because we haven't had Sodium metabisulfite as it was written in the originally recipe .

Warning!!: The chrome alum is toxic, so don't taste it!!

Here are the reactions:

K2Cr2O7+ H2SO4+3SO2 →K2SO4+Cr2(SO4)3+H2O
2Na2S2O3+H2SO4 →SO2+2S + 2Na2SO4 (sulfur dioxide generator)
K2SO4+Cr2(SO4)3+ 12H2O → 2KCr(SO4)2·12H2O

Step 9: Mixing the Aluminum Alum and Chromium Alum Solution to Obtain a New Crystal

Because both Aluminum and Chromium have almost the same formula and structure, you can mix them together and get a new nice crystal.
For obtaining the new crystal, you have two ways:
  1. Mix a part of Aluminum Alum solution with a part Chromium solution. You'll get light purple crystals.
  2. Mix the two solution together and then add a Aluminum Alum crystal as seed. You'll get a two colors crystal - inside, it is clear, and outside, purple. 

Step 10: Obtainin a "Gold Rain"

Procedure: In a beaker mix 25 ml 0.2 M solution of Pb(NO3)2 and 0.25 ml of KI with 0.4M concentration.  Observe the formation of an abundant amorphous precipitate of lead iodide. Then let it decant and add hot distilled water in a ratio of 1:4 to the yellow suspension  initially obtained, then heat to dissolve the precipitate. If it doesn't completely dissolve, distilled water is added and continue heating. By slow cooling, we observe the formation of small "flaps" of gold that are actually lead iodide. By rapid cooling, is observed a large number of crystallization centers that give the appearance of yellow-pearl.
The reaction is:
Pb(NO3) 2 +2KI → PbI2 + 2KNO3.


Step 11: Obtain "Stars" in Gelatin

To obtain single crystals of magnesium hydroxide I used slow diffusion of reactants technique in a gel. For this purpose I mix 8g gelatin gel with 200 ml of distilled water to prepare the gel environment. I added 2 ml of 10% solution of MgCl2 and I shake it for homogenization. I introduced the gelatine in a graduated cylinder and waited to strengthen. Meanwhile I prepared 5 ml of concentrated ammonia solution 5M that I added over gelatin. Crystallization process is very slow. In the early days there were few white rings of precipitate formed (Liesegang's rings). After two weeks have been shaped crystals of magnesium hydroxide.
The reaction:
MgCl2+ 2NH4OH → Mg(OH)2 + 2NH4Cl

Step 12: What Can You Do With Them ??

I'm thinking about a lot of applications.
When you're sure that you don't want to grow them bigger, just spray them with some varnish.
One of them is that you can make handmade jewelry like earrings, rings or pendants. (ONLY WITH NONTOXIC CRYSTALS)
You can use them to show your friends how great is chemistry.
Stay tuned. I will show you how to make some jewelries with them.

Step 13: And That's It!

I hope you liked my crystals.
By the way, sorry for my bad english.
And a little video for you. You can see how the silver is growing on the copper wire. Enjoy!

Step 14: For Make-to-Learn Youth Contest

What did I make ?

I grow some crystal to show people how great are them and how great is chemistry. First time I was in the chemistry lab I wanted to grow some crystals. They aren't just nice, they can be useful too.

How did I make it ?

I just got what I was needing, I made the solution, let it dry, and then grow more crystals. I know that it looks easy to grow, but it isn't.

Where did you make it ?

I have made them at school, in the chemistry lab, but you can also DIY them at home.

What did I learn ?

I learn that if you put a piece from your soul in your projects, it can become something great. To make something nice, you must like it, you should work hard and you may be patient. Great thing haven't appeared in one night. I saw a lot of great things made using crystals.


UNSEPARABLE+TECHSCIENTIFICS made it!(author)2017-07-18


100% COOL . . .

; D

blueplanetgreenheart made it!(author)2017-01-22

Do you have any experience with growing durable clear crystals? It looks like Alum crystals are simple to grow, but aren't very strong and break easily? I'm doing an art project but need strong, durable clear crystals. Any help would be greatly greatly appreciated. Thanks!

andreyeurope made it!(author)2017-01-22

Hi there. Yeah, I have some experience with growing crystals, but growing a durable one means a lot of time. There a currently multiple way you can use in order to grow a nice big crystal, but don't expect hand-size crystals. Also, growing a clear crystal means maintaining its structure while keeping it away from any other crystal. It is like growing flowers. In a garden, weeds appear too. So you will have to remove the weeds (other crystal seeds that might attach to your big crystal).
For some crystals, which have growing time big when compared to others, it is quite easy to maintain this structure, but other crystals, like copper sulfate are hard to maintain, as they grow pretty fast.
You can apply a varnish layer in order to maintain crystal look, but durability is not a feature of the growable crystals.
Only nature (and devices) can provide durability using specific conditions like high atmospheric pressure or high temperatures.

Skeleton+King made it!(author)2017-01-19

How long does this take?

andreyeurope made it!(author)2017-01-20

If you are referring to growing a crystal, then it takes how big you want your crystal to grow. A big nice crystal can take months to grow.

mark_racal made it!(author)2016-03-27

Very neat instructable, I wonder if I can grow crystals that will give me +2 Strength, +3 Dexterity, +2 Intelligence +3 Mana :)

Anyways, when I was a kid I have found a stone in nearby mountains, inside it is a colorless crystal, like the whole stone, I wonder what it is. I'll try to find one and post it here.

Also, my friend found an obsidian crystal, I wonder how it is worth.

ChrisF291 made it!(author)2017-01-16

Obsidian is a natural glass produced through volcanic activity. It is not a crystal. While it is used to make jewelry, obsidian is not particularly valuable, though it does look pretty cool.

RapidG made it!(author)2017-01-19

Yeah they do look cool (especial) when they're shinny you may want to consider a shiner to make it look better (depending on how it looks)

P.S I think lacquer may work but i'm not sure

Ianvs+Maximvs made it!(author)2016-11-18

So, are all these crystals water soluble?

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-11-19

Yes, but if you apply polish on them, they can last and have a protection layer against water.

Cruzanrx2k made it!(author)2016-09-29

I very new to growing crystals...grew my first Borax crystals last night. From what im reading...If I crush my amethist crystals...and add the result to say hot water and let stand...I should get new crystals? Forgive my ignorance.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-09-29

Unfortunately no, they are not going to grow again. They are nature-made crystals. You need some special conditions in order to grow them.

pioco56 made it!(author)2016-08-21

Nice, good job mate!

rabbit_man made it!(author)2016-04-12

I did copper sulphate in chemistry. My teacher gave me all that was made so that I could make a big crystal, but I screwed it up. I was wondering if a clear coating could be applied to protect the crystal from water and probably any people that would want to touch it.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-04-12

I think that applying an acrylic coating may save your crystal from water and people.

CarlB48 made it!(author)2016-03-31

Nice job, thanks for sharing!

Samantabhadra made it!(author)2016-03-27

Fascinating! But... what is crystal powder and how to obtain? Info has ghly appreciated.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-03-27

Crystal powder is like ground meat. I mean you can obtain crystal powder by smashing or crushing a big crystal. The crystals are crushed because the crystal powder is more soluble than a big crystal.

Samantabhadra made it!(author)2016-03-28

Thanks, but I am fond of my crystals. Cannot get myself to destroy one to make another. I'd rather use something else if that's possible.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-03-29

Yeah, but if you don't like how your crystal looks, you can make it reborn. :D

Samantabhadra made it!(author)2016-03-29

thanks again, another question: which instrument do you use to smash a big crystal to turn it into powder?

silvicrima made it!(author)2016-03-29

You can wrap the crystal with a kitchen rag or an old T-shirt you don't mind to ruin. You can smash it with a hammer.

VegasEarache made it!(author)2016-03-28

So your saying that iron is made of iron crystals or iron ore and if o smash an iron pipe i can use the powder, in that aspect your stating that i can grow gold!! Sign me up skippy. All joking aside i found your instructable extreemly informative and entertaining. I find that instructables such as yours are the reason I keep coming backso keep up the good work and thank you very much for your efforts and your time .

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-03-29

Good joke, but unfortunately iron crystals don't really exist in nature. But you can find it in composite substances like iron pyrite. That's a beautiful nature-made crystal. It looks like gold. Also, in order to create a crystal, you need a good amount of powder. So even it was possible to grow gold, you would need a lot of gold. :))

I'm glad that many people appreciate my work and I hope new Instructables will appear with more crystals than mine.

Advar made it!(author)2013-09-28

Nice 'ible. If making non-toxic crystals (clear) could a drop of food coloring or pen ink be used to add tint & color to them?

andreyeurope made it!(author)2013-09-28

You can color the Alum crystal with food coloring. I have tried it with blue coloring and it works great.
The Alum isn't toxic so you can taste it.

CynthiaB47 made it!(author)2016-03-27

Wear gloves so the dye won't stain your hands.

Advar made it!(author)2013-09-28

Thinking of handling and spillage, but good to know. Thanks. :)

razmatazmania made it!(author)2014-12-02

Is this the same alum that I buy in the grocery store and use when I can some types of pickles?

CynthiaB47 made it!(author)2016-03-27

Go to Amazon. I bought a pound of Alum for about 7.50 dollars.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2014-12-02

If on it's label is written KAl(SO4)2. then it's good.

ElizabethGreene made it!(author)2016-03-27

Copper Acetate crystals are fairly easy to grow and are, to my eye, lovely.

Samantabhadra made it!(author)2016-03-27

Fascinating! But... what is crystal powder and how to obtain? Info has ghly appreciated.

EileenD1 made it!(author)2016-03-27

What an awesome instructable! Thank you so much for all the work you put into this. Your passion for the subject makes it extra interesting. Can't wait to set aside some time to give this a try.

andreyeurope made it!(author)2016-03-27

I'm glad you like it. I like crystals, not for their value, but for their age. They are like Earth memories encapsulated in one small and beautiful piece of art.

Leathaldose made it!(author)2016-02-05

if you can't touch em or eat them, what's the point of making them other then bragging rights? Is there a use for the ones that can't be eaten or touched?

bobdabiulder made it!(author)2015-05-21

What other things can I use to make crystals, like household things besides salt...

maxy998 made it!(author)2016-01-20

you can use borax.

grozzo made it!(author)2015-07-05

You can use Borax

asifmahmoodghs made it!(author)2015-10-27

Nice info, its great feeling to grow crystals and examine them. awsome chemistry

andreyeurope made it!(author)2015-10-27

Thanks. I know it's a great feeling, but you also need a lot of patience. Every nature made thing it's awesome, because even if you can't grow nature made crystals, it's nice that you can make simpler versions of them.

Reetha15 made it!(author)2015-10-25

Thanks for the instructable. Can you grow crystals onto fabric?

EthanP13 made it!(author)2015-10-13

Thanks for the instructable, I plan to make a variety of crystals for a school project.

mondeluz made it!(author)2015-09-29

Would it be possible to grow amethyst crystals?

andreyeurope made it!(author)2015-09-29

Unfortunately no, because they are natural crystals. They are not water soluble. So it's almost impossible to grow one home.

Olek410 made it!(author)2015-08-09

First of all I love the instructable I am a huge fan of crystals so I was wondering if I could do something for Halloween which would be that if I could grow crystals on my arm I will use some sort of transparent latex cover for it but I was wondering do you have any suggestions on which crystals I should use? I would like to have the color be either a amethyst color or a calcite sort of color and when it comes to the shape I would like for it to be a Quartz sort of shape. The image below is how I want for it to turn out in the end sort of but only for the arm. Also I want for it to be safe so that people can thouch it but not taste it.

EvanN1 made it!(author)2015-02-23

any suggestions for crystal material?

andreyeurope made it!(author)2015-02-24

What do you mean by crystal material?

marionpixie made it!(author)2014-02-09

awesome... I hope I can collect the things to do this

Ramming made it!(author)2013-06-13

As a Molecular Biomedicine student at the University of Copenhagen a work with a wide range of chemicals daily and I do not recommend people, who don't have proper labs or lab experience to work with chemicals such as Potassium Dichromate, potassium Nitrate or Iodine compounds. Improper handling can cause serious injury or worse. Potassium Nitrate (from the Gold Rain crystals) is a strong oxidizer which means that it can make even harmless, household chemicals into harmful compounds. Iodine compounds, Nitates and Potassium Dichromate can if not treated right produce some noxious gases.

Further more I would seriously warn people against making jewelery of toxic chemicals. One thing is to wear toxic jewelery another thing is the dire consequences of children snatching them from the jewelery box.

Some of the mentioned chemical only require as little as 2.6 grams to potentially kill a child with a weight of 10 kilos. Twice that amount to twice the weight. If not fatal, some of the chemicals are carcinogenic or mutagenic (Potassium Dichromate is both) so long term effects can be serious.
Moreover some of these crystals will over time decompose, some into hazardous gasses, storing them in closed boxes will accumulate these gasses and therefore concentrated if the box is opened.

I for one would not make these crystalt for garnish unless they would be proper sealed.

About This Instructable



Bio: I enjoy making things by myself, trying to make this world better.
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