Instructables
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.



 
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Step 1: You will need

Water
Laundry Bluing, getting hard to find, it's a suspension of Prussian Blue in water.
Salt (table)
Clear Household Ammonia
Bowl
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).
alexwin4 years ago
I couldn't find Mrs. Stewarts Blueing, so I'm trying it with "RIT White Wash Bleach Alternative". Hopefully they're the same.
acm321 alexwin4 years ago
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
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.
poof
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 - www.mrsstewarts.com. 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...
aicerg13 years ago
we did this at school but we added epsom salt and food coloring
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! (:
robot7975 years ago
were could i buy the stuff in holland?
im not gonna lie...that looks absolutely gross
hottie105 years ago
i love it
alexa6 years ago
WHAT IS THAT SUPPOSED TO BE!?!?!?!
lets play a game called "read the title"
how do you play?
by reading the title :-P
dang! i lost.
its ok
thebear15 years ago
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 nh5 years ago
can I use powder ammonia since liquid one isn't available, and is it fragile? how long it lasts? thanks
Tool Using Animal (author)  canadian nh5 years ago
it is extremely fragile and collapses at the touch. I've never heard of powder ammonia, so I don't know.
canadian nh5 years ago
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
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.
Kral5 years ago
ItsTheHobbs6 years ago
what does the bluing do?
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
Is the blue stuff critical?
Absolutely, it seems to act as a nucleation point for crystal formation. it is available online, but the shipping is more than the product
(removed by author or community request)
No, it's Ferric hexacyanoferrate.
I don't know for sure. but I doubt it it is. Gonna find out as I just made a mix with out it. Here in the oil patch you do find such growths around pipe connections that carry brine, but seep ever so slightly. Often seen on oil well stuffing boxes.
4014467 years ago
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.
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
I bet the water also contains high amount of dihydrogen monoxide! That stuffs really bad, accidental inhalation can kill!
bahaha use large complicated words and people will stay away... also bright colours help to make it look important.
heh.
anything I can substitute for amonia? Essence of dog pee, maybe?
TraumaComet6 years ago
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!
moomoocows7 years ago
what is the laundry bluing and can I use something else
Tool Using Animal (author)  moomoocows7 years ago
It's prussian blue and so far as I know there is no substitute.
capricorn7 years ago
Sweet :) One question, since I cannot seem to find that prussian thing in Belgium, will it work if I use water and some pigment?
Okinell7 years ago
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.
I bought some ( boat) on the net just google putt putt boat Don
tmk7 years ago
Can you eat this stuff? I'm wandering because your puting amonia and crap in it
Tool Using Animal (author)  tmk7 years ago
I'd caution against it, best case scenario is that it's pure salt. With slightly more dangerous salts possible . ie. ammonium chloride, everitt's salt, etc
lemonie7 years ago
What are the crystals? Ammonium-something I suppose? L
Tool Using Animal (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Wisely, I tasted the crystals, they appear to be table salt.
Tool Using Animal (author)  lemonie7 years ago
Thanks westfw, it will be a future instructable. I've looked all over to see what the crystals could be, the answers given vary from salt, salt with ammonium chloride, to Everitt's Salt (potassium ferrous ferrocyanide).
jtobako7 years ago
Use a fan to increase the evaporation/crystal growth rate. Charcoal works, but starts to dissolve after a while.
crestind7 years ago
So cool! Looks like a big fungus thing.
jeffkobi7 years ago
Used to love making this as a kid, forgot all about them though! Not entirely sure, but I think we used to add drops of food coloring (onto the TP roll) to get really cool colors!
ahh! i did this in school :-) kinda cool!
westfw7 years ago
Cool time-lapse video!