Grow a Crystal FLOWER Garden

You can make beautiful and varied flower-like formations by using pipe cleaner designs and cotton swabs for the crystals to climb.


  • cotton swabs cut in half
  • pipe cleaners cut in (2-in.) pieces
  • pieces of oil-based clay
  • food coloring
  • water
  • liquid bluing- in the laundry section of the market
  • salt
  • ammonia
  • flat dishes – plastic margarine tubs work well – (salt will corrode a metal dish)

Make up a solution of:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 Tablespoons liquid bluing
  • 4 Tablespoons salt
  • 4 Teaspoons ammonia (add last)

Soak ends of cotton swabs on food coloring the day before and allow to dry. Put drops of food coloring on the pipe cleaners.

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Place a lump of clay on the bottom of the dish. Push 2-4 cotton swabs and/or pipe cleaners into the clay. Pour the crystal flower solution in the cup so the clay and first 1/2 inch of the cotton swabs are covered. Set the dish in an open space where it will not be bumped much and watch your flowers grow. Crystals will begin to form within a few hours unless it is very humid.

Written by Belinda Mooney. Reprinted with permission from


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