Easy Crystal Growing Recipes

Boy looking at test tube during home science experiment

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Growing crystals yourself can be easy! Here's a collection of recipes for the easiest crystals to try.

Borax Crystals

Borax crystals growing over a chenille heart
Anne Helmenstine

Borax is a chemical sold as a laundry booster and for insect control. Dissolve borax in hot water to produce crystals overnight. These crystals grow readily on pipe cleaners, so you can make crystal hearts, snowflakes or other shapes.

  • 3 tablespoons borax
  • 1 cup boiling water

Crystal Window Frost

Window with crystal growth
Anne Helmenstine

This reliable crystal growing project produces crystals in a matter of minutes. Prepare a non-toxic crystal growing solution that you wipe onto windows, mirrors or ​another surface to produce a crystal "frost".

  • 1/3 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dishwashing soap

Refrigerator Crystal Needles

Epsom salt crystals needles
Anne Helmenstine

This project uses hot tap water, not boiling water, so it's safer for young crystal growers. Place the crystal solution in the refrigerator and get sparkly needle-like crystals within a few minutes to a few hours. It's that easy!

  • 1/2 cup Epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup hot tap water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Salt Crystal Geode

A purple salt crystal geode
Anne Helmenstine

Natural geodes require thousands of years to form, but it only takes a couple of days to make a geode yourself. This geode grows on calcium carbonate, which is simply an eggshell. The crystals are beautiful cubic salt crystals. You can leave the crystals naturally clear or add food coloring for color.

  • Eggshell
  • Salt
  • Boiling water
  • Food coloring (optional)

Copper Sulfate Crystals

Blue crystals of copper sulfate
Anne Helmenstine

Copper sulfate crystals grow easily, plus they are naturally vivid blue with an interesting crystal habit. Copper sulfate is readily available online or you can find it in some stores that carry root kill or algicides that use copper sulfate as their primary ingredient.

  • Copper sulfate
  • Very hot tap water

Easy Ammonium Phosphate Crystals

A person holding a single crystal of ammonium phosphate
Anne Helmenstine

There's a reason monoammonium phosphate is the chemical included in commercial crystal growing kits! Ammonium phosphate can be made in any color and displays an interesting crystal habit.

  • 6 tablespoons monoammonium phosphate
  • 1/2 cup very hot tap water

Easy Alum Crystals

Alum crystal cluster
Anne Helmenstine

Alum crystals are clear crystals that grow in pyramids and other prisms. One of the most popular projects is to mix the alum and water together and pour the solution over a small rock to make fake "diamonds".

  • 2-1/2 tablespoons alum
  • 1/2 cup very hot water