How To Grow Instant Sheet Crystals

Easy Epsom Salt Crystals in Seconds

Epsom salt crystals through a microscope

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You can grow crystals in seconds. It doesn't take special solutions or complicated equipment. You have all the ingredients in your kitchen. Let's do it!

Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Crystals form in seconds

What You Need

  • Cookie sheet or glass pan
  • Hot water
  • Crystal chemical (e.g., alum or Epsom salt)
  • Food coloring (optional)


  1. Make a crystal growing solution. You can use any recipe. Great choices would be Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate, sold with laundry or bath products) or alum (from the spice section of the grocery store) stirred into very hot water until no more will dissolve. Add a little food coloring.
  2. Pour a little solution onto a cookie sheet or glass pan. It's okay if the liquid is still hot.
  3. Tilt the pan around to spread out the solution. You'll see a fan of crystals form as the liquid evaporates, similar to frost on a windowpane.


  1. You don't need very much solution at all! If you have a puddle of liquid in your pan, that is too much. Pour some off and let the bottom dry. The evaporation goes more quickly if the pan is warm, but it's not really necessary to heat it (in other words, avoid burns).
  2. Try viewing the crystals through a microscope. Polarized light displays gorgeous colors!
  3. Another option is to crystallize the solution onto a sheet or plate of clear glass or plastic. Once the crystals have dried, hold the plate up to the light. Examine the crystals using a magnifying glass. What do you see if you wear polarized sunglasses?
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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How To Grow Instant Sheet Crystals." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 26). How To Grow Instant Sheet Crystals. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "How To Grow Instant Sheet Crystals." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 21, 2023).