Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Crystal Garden

Liquid Bluing takes forever to use up, so here is a fun activity to do with your kids or grand kids, or neighbor kids this summer that uses liquid bluing. This can be used to teach the properties of natural crystals.

"One of the main ingredients for this project is salt, which is itself a crystal. If you look at it under a microscope, salt crystals look like diamonds. You will find this project one of the more exciting natural crafts ... because you can watch the crystals grow larger day by day."

Crystal Garden
6 charcoal briquets
disposable aluminum pie or pastry tin
measuring cup
liquid bluing
coffee can with lid or jar with lid
food coloring in 4 colors

Place six charcoal briquets in the aluminum pie or cake tin, Fig. a.
Measure one-quarter cup of salt, bluing, and ammonia and pour all ingredients into a coffee can or jar. Mix them together.
Squeeze or sprinkle different food colors onto four of the briquets, one color for each briquet. Squeeze or sprinkle all four colors onto the fifth briquet. The remaining briquet is not to be colored.
Pour the salt mixture evenly over the briquets, Fig. b.
Place the tin in a warm place.
The crystals will start to grow in a very short time.
Mix the same solution of salt, bluing and ammonia in the can or jar and cap tightly.
Add some of the solution over the garden every two days to keep it growing.

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