Introduction: Salt Crystal Garden

Picture of Salt Crystal Garden
Alright this is an old one. I learned this in grade school, they probably don't do it anymore because it involves dangerous chemicals like water. But it's fun for the kiddies.

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need

Laundry Bluing, getting hard to find, it's a suspension of Prussian Blue in water.
Salt (table)
Clear Household Ammonia
Toilet Paper Roll Core

Step 2: Procedure

Picture of Procedure

Mix equal quantities of water, ammonia, salt, and laundry bluing together. Pour solution into a bowl and stand a tp roll in the bowl. Over the next 18-24 hours the crystals will form.

Step 3: Optional Steps

Picture of Optional Steps

Optionally the cardboard, and subsequently the crystals can be colored with drops of food coloring.

Other porous materials can also be used such as terra cotta and coal (the traditional substrate).


ajsadr (author)2017-12-11

My question is this

What is the role of aqueous Liquid bluing solution in crystalline growth?

Is there a good alternative to it?

I found Blue powder of it

The powder should first be dissolved in water?

_Radium_ (author)2017-04-13

If one figure a way to remove the paper medium without damaging the Xtals, one can build really nice lamps using this.

_Radium_ (author)2017-04-13

Other crystalline substances can work too, both organic and mineral chemicals.

SallyJ11 (author)2016-02-29

where can i find the mrs stewart bluing, i'm from indonesia.

KwartzKitten (author)2015-01-26

I'm going to try it! It may be the one thing I can actually grow.

alexwin (author)2009-10-31

I couldn't find Mrs. Stewarts Blueing, so I'm trying it with "RIT White Wash Bleach Alternative". Hopefully they're the same.

acm321 (author)alexwin2009-12-05

wait, bleach?
it's not actual bleach, right?
because if it is mixing it with ammonia will make mustard gas, which is poisonous and will kill you

noname420 (author)acm3212010-11-21

I wonder what happened to alexwin. Hopefully it wasn't real bleach that he mixed with ammonia but that would explain why he never commented back on this.

umax610p8 (author)noname4202011-07-21


elizabethteacher (author)2010-01-05

I tried this, but couldn't get it to work - I used "Bluette Laundry Bluing".  I couldn't find Mrs. Stewarts.  I used 2 T of each ingredient.  Can you tell me what I might do differently?

I think it's the blueing. I looked at the MSDS and Bluette is Ultramarine blue, a sodium aluminum silicate compound, whereas Mrs Stewart's is Prussian Blue an iron compound.

Turns out, you're right. I called the Mrs. Stewart's company and they told us they had tried the very same experiment on their competitors blueing and it doesn't work.  In other words, it HAS TO BE Mrs. Stewarts because of the requisite ingredients it contains. They offered a "Salt Crystal Garden" kit for $9.00.  Can be purchased on their website - Thanks for your quick response. 

Is there any way of doing it without the blue stuff? xD I have no idea where to even start looking for it...

aicerg1 (author)2010-10-24

we did this at school but we added epsom salt and food coloring

MinnieMelissa (author)2009-07-01

I remember doing this when I was in 1st grade! I had always wanted to do it again but could never remember. Thanks for posting! (:

robot797 (author)2009-05-18

were could i buy the stuff in holland?

watchurmouthyoungman (author)2009-02-21

im not gonna lie...that looks absolutely gross

hottie10 (author)2009-01-03

i love it

alexa (author)2007-12-04


merseyless (author)alexa2008-12-20

lets play a game called "read the title"

wolf555hound (author)merseyless2008-12-20

how do you play?

zimmemic25 (author)wolf555hound2008-12-21

by reading the title :-P

wolf555hound (author)zimmemic252008-12-21

dang! i lost.

merseyless (author)wolf555hound2008-12-29

its ok

thebear1 (author)2008-12-21

good instructable i 65 years young can remember doing this as a kid we used a lump of hard coal, back them we burn coal for heat, give a 5 on this, lots old time fun things are being lost to kids, now thanks for posting

canadian nh (author)2008-12-20

can I use powder ammonia since liquid one isn't available, and is it fragile? how long it lasts? thanks

it is extremely fragile and collapses at the touch. I've never heard of powder ammonia, so I don't know.

canadian nh (author)2008-12-20

thanks for response, in fact ammonia available in kuwait powder white color, but I'm going to Canada sure I'll find liquid. Thanks again

conceptualstratagem (author)2007-07-31

Yeah that crystal growth footage is tight. I need to make a sculpture with this process. Does anybody whose made this know what the density of the crystals are like, are they too delicate?

too delicate

Love the movie! We just did this with a bunch of kids at VCS. It was a big success. The crystals are very delicate and collapse when you touch them. They do grow right back in a day or so. Instead of a TP roll, you can shape a pipe cleaner into a tree or snowflake or something and stick that in a sponge. The crystals will grow on it, making a cool sculpture.

Kral (author)2008-10-12
ItsTheHobbs (author)2008-08-19

what does the bluing do?

firefighter1333 (author)2008-06-28

you can do it too without the bluing only it is then a lot less fun. so I did it without the bluing only I throwed it away cuz it smelled that bad

Tool Using Animal (author)2008-06-28

No, it's Ferric hexacyanoferrate.

401446 (author)2007-07-20

omg i havn't laughed in a long time and that "they probably don't do it anymore because it involves dangerous chemicals like water" crack really made me laugh by the way great instructable.

jessyratfink (author)4014462007-09-01

I kid you not, in downtown Louisville at the Waterfront they have signs that warn people not to play in the fountains because they "contain high levels of hydrogen." I kinda face-plained it the first time I read it, but it seriously works to keep people away. :P

zachninme (author)jessyratfink2007-09-06

I bet the water also contains high amount of dihydrogen monoxide! That stuffs really bad, accidental inhalation can kill!

egadsman (author)zachninme2008-01-09

bahaha use large complicated words and people will stay away... also bright colours help to make it look important.


musicalbee2003 (author)2008-01-06

anything I can substitute for amonia? Essence of dog pee, maybe?

TraumaComet (author)2007-11-19

Alternatively, you can also use dog shampoo made for white dogs. we used it at a daycare I worked at. The shampoo contains alot of bluing, especially the kind of shampoo that is meant to be diluted before use. Great instructable!

moomoocows (author)2007-09-08

what is the laundry bluing and can I use something else

It's prussian blue and so far as I know there is no substitute.

capricorn (author)2007-09-01

Sweet :) One question, since I cannot seem to find that prussian thing in Belgium, will it work if I use water and some pigment?

Okinell (author)2007-08-16

This was too cool.... Thanks for the posting. I am almost 54 yro. and can remember when my Dad did this a couple of times but for some reason we/he used a lump of bituminous coal. I am not sure where you could find coal here in Southeast Texas, or where we found some unless it was some we had brought back from the narrow gauge train out of Durango, Colorado. Anyway, thanks for sharing something that brought back some fun times as a kid. I just wish some one could/would tell me where you could get those little "putt-putt" metal boats my Dad use to bring home. You would light this little candle that caused this small hollow metal "bladder" of sorts to heat up and propel the boat around the bath tub. They came in very small to fairly good size ones.

John Smith (author)Okinell2007-08-31
Heringhaus (author)Okinell2007-08-31

I bought some ( boat) on the net just google putt putt boat Don

Weissensteinburg (author)2007-05-20

Is the blue stuff critical?

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