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Teacher's Resources

How to Create a Crystal Garden

28 Nov 2009

Teacher: Glenys French

School: Vale Park Primary School

Category: Teacher Resources

Years: 3, 4

This project will let you use your creativity to create a crystal flower garden. Remember it is always best to share your project with an adult. This activity has some tasks for adults and others for kids. You can make beautiful and varied flower-like formations by using pipe cleaner designs and cotton swabs for the crystals to climb. Try to find your own special ways to arrange the materials to create your own special effects

Things you will need

  • cotton swabs cut in half
  • pipe cleaners cut in 5 cm (2 in) pieces
  • pieces of oil based clay
  • food coloring
  • water
  • liquid bluing
  • salt
  • ammonia
  • flat dishes - plastic margarine tubs work well
    (salt will corrode a metal dish)

What to do

Teachers/ Adults

Make up a solution of:

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) water
  • 60 ml (4 Tablespoons) liquid bluing
  • 60 ml (4 Tablespoons) salt
  • 20 ml (4 Teaspoons) ammonia (add last)

  • Soak ends of cotton swabs on food coloring the day before and allow to dry. Put drops of food coloring on the pipe cleaners.


  • Place a lump of clay on the bottom of the dish. Push 2-4 cotton swabs and/or pipe cleaners into the clay.
  • Pour the crystal flower solution in the cup so the clay and the first centimeter (1/2 inch) of the cotton swabs re covered.
  • Set the dish in an open space where it will not be bumped much and watch your flowers grow. Crystals will begin to form within a few hours unless it is very humid.

Want to do more?

Use the same solution poured over charcoal, rocks, sponges, or bricks. Place one in a warm place and one in a cold place. Try it in the refrigerator. Does it grow faster, slower, or at the same rate as the one outside? Look at the crystals with a magnifier. Compare with natural crystals or other crystals you have grown. Arrange the pipe cleaners or other items and predict what the formation will look like.