salt crystal garden & crayon sculpture~

My friend Dee made a post about doing a crystal growing project and it reminded me of the salt crystal gardens that we would grow as kids.  I think I was in 4-H or the girl scouts, or possibly it was a science project in school when I first learned how to make a salt garden.  After some digging around, I found the recipe.

image taken from the web

Mix Together:

4 tablespoons salt

4 tablespoons liquid bluing (it's in the laundry detergent area at the store)

4 tablespoons water

4 tablespoon ammonia

Place a couple pieces of porous rock or a couple pieces of charcoal briquettes in a shallow glass or plastic bowl.  
Pour the mixture over.  If you want colored crystals add just a few drops of various colors of liquid food coloring on the rock.  

Crystals will begin to grow in six hours and continue for up to a week, depending on the humidity, temperature, and how much airflow is present. Better air flow ... better crystals. To concentrate crystal growth on the charcoal and avoid them forming on the edge of the plate, coat the plate with Vaseline.

Briquettes aren't very good at drawing the liquid up so be sure to keep the level of the liquid at least half way up the side of the briquette.

Most recipes suggest sprinkling two more tablespoons of salt over the charcoal and on the first or second day to get the crystal growth off to a faster start.

Add more of the salt-bluing-ammonia-water mix starting on the third day to keep the crystals growing. Be careful to avoid dripping any of the new solution on the growing crystals or they will be damaged. In time the crystals may grow over the sides of the bowl.
As a kid, my siblings and I were always puttering around making things ... some of our 'projects' were really cool and some were down right dangerous.  Why my Mom let us do some of them I don't know. I guess you could say that she didn't mind us exploring what would happen; and what better way to learn than by experimentation.  Here's one particular project that was one of my favorites.

I call it the:

Melted Crayon Sculpture

Of course, if you try this ~ it's at your own risk.  I only burnt myself a couple times doing it and I learned really fast how to hold my hands when I made the plunge.

Here's what we'd do:

First ~ fill the kitchen sink full with cold water.

Then ~

Take little pieces of broken crayons and put them on an aluminum pie plate.  Cover the bottom of the pan with the crayons. Carefully, notice the word CAREFULLY you put the pie plate on the stove burner over low heat and melt the crayons.  Do not stir them.  They make a swirl of color as they melt.

Now ~ the dangerous, adventurous, inquisitive part:

Take the HOT pie plate off the burner.  Make sure you're using some old potholders that you don't mind getting wet.  

Carefully ... notice the word CAREFULLY again ...

Hold the pie plate so you just have a grip on it and try to keep your hands as far away from the edges as possible.

In one big motion PLUNGE the pie plate under the water. 

The melted crayon wax will rise to the surface and harden as it rises.  

Tip your creation over to let the excess water drip off.

Your creation is now ready to be decorated with tiny little toys such as miniature nicknacks like deer, bear, dolls,  glass menageries, etc... limited only by your imagination.  

Like I said ~ if you try this ~ please be careful.  Hot melted crayon wax stuck to your arm is quite painful.  

Like Mom would say, "bet you don't burn yourself like that again" ... lesson learned.

Even though I only had a few burn incidents it never stopped me from making these.  I use to just love seeing what different color combo's I could come up with.  I also use to like experimenting with how I would make the plunge into the cold water.  If you gave the pie plate just a little twisting action as it went in you could get a spiral looking sculpture.  

Ahh .... such memories.
Until next time....
So it goes in my neck of the woods.



  1. You know Mel,you and I have alot in common.Love to bake things,name our own recipes,crafts,and doing alot of talking.I'll have to show the crayon sculpturing and the salt crystal thing to my grandkids.I bet they will enjoy that.I bet it was fun!!!

  2. I remember a burn or two doing these...don't think I tried it twice tho...cause burns are no fun...
    love the stuff you come up with tho wonder you have such a following...a fun day to you

  3. Oh cool! I never even considered that there was a way to use household products to grow crystals. That is such a neat idea and cool kids craft as well. Thank you so much for sharing this with me. :) I may give it a try soon. :D

    I hadn't never heard of that particular melted color craft. Although I did melt more than a few colors when I was a child. lol I got into candle making for awhile... and oh I got a burn lesson a time or two myself. lol

    I really enjoyed your blog post here and the comment/recipe you posted on my blog. I love sharing fun and interesting stories and info.

    You're a peach, my friend! Have a fabulous day!

  4. Flashback, major flashback!
    You make me smile every day! Especially when you blew that "warm" alka-seltzer through your nose laughing!!!

  5. RE: Cher
    That was funny! Good thing you weren't sitting a couple more inches to the left; it would have been all over you. Seriously, who dissolves an alka-seltzer in warm water???