Sunday, February 14, 2016

Epsom Salt Crystals - Refrigeration Method

I recently began experimenting with easy to grow, home made crystals. I started with a recipe I found on Here is the original article. The steps I took are below.

1/2 cup epsom salts
1/2 cup water

1) Heat the water (until it's not quite boiling), then mix in the epsom salts. Stir until the epsom salts are dissolved.

2) Put the mixture in the refrigerator and wait several hours.

3) Once crystals have formed, gently remove them and let dry.

The recipe was completed and the bowl put in the fridge at 8pm on 2/7/16. No sign of crystals after 1 hour. Very small crystals forming at the bottom of the container after 2.5 hours. After 5.5 hours, there are clear crystals forming on the bottom of the bowl, although they are still quite small. I decided to leave the bowl in the refrigerator overnight.

After a total of about 14 hours, I removed the bowl from the fridge. The epsom salt had formed a mostly flat layer on the bottom of the bowl, but some small crystals can be seen growing up from there. I removed this formation from the solution and kept a small sample.

the bowl I used to grow the epsom salt crystals

right after removing the crystals from the bowl

a smaller sample piece that I kept

Note that in the original article, it says that "the bowl will fill with needle-like crystals within three hours". In my case I didn't see many crystals after three hours, and waited overnight instead to get results I was satisfied with. Also, the crystals only formed on the bottom of the bowl. I may repeat the experiment with different water temperatures and containers with different shapes (a deeper cup and a bowl with greater surface area and less depth) to see if I get different results.

All in all, however, this was a very simple, easy experiment and the epsom salt crystals turned out pretty well. The sample piece I kept can be seen in the third picture. I tried applying clear nail polish to other pieces, as I've heard this is one way to preserve the crystals, but they kept breaking apart as I held them. Attempting to hold them from the sides does seem to cause them to break easier.

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