Growing crystals can take several days, but this super-easy recipe gives you a cup full of needle-like epsom salt crystals in just a few hours!

How to Make Fast Growing CrystalsEpsom Salt Crystals make-fast-growing-crystals-article-thumbnailHome Science Tools

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. In the beaker, stir 1/2 cup of Epsom salts with 1/2 cup of very hot tap water for at least one minute. This creates a saturated solution, meaning no more salt can dissolve in the water. (Some undissolved crystals will be at the bottom of the glass.)
  2. Add a couple drops of food coloring if you want your crystals to be colored.
  3. Put the beaker in the refrigerator.
  4. Check on it in a few hours to see a beaker full of epsom salt crystals! Pour off the remaining solution to examine them.

What Happened:

Epsom salt is another name for the chemical magnesium sulfate. The temperature of the water determines how much magnesium sulfate it can hold; it will dissolve more when it is hotter. Cooling the solution rapidly encourages fast crystal growth since there is less room for the dissolved salt in the cooler, denser solution. As the solution cools, the magnesium sulfate atoms run into each other and join together in a crystal structure. Crystals grown this way will be small, thin, and numerous. Left undisturbed, the crystals should last months or more!

To grow large single crystals, you’ll need to follow the evaporation procedure in this project.