Magic Crystal Gardens

by Louise Wulf

Related Articles

How to Create an Outside Science Wall

Museum Reciprocal Programs

Home Learning Activities

I am looking for a recipe to make magic crystal gardens using liquid bluing, rocks, sponges and foam rubber. I had gotten one recently, but lost it when my hard drive crashed. This recipe is better than kits and makes more "gardens". Also, the kits are not available where I live.

Here's what you need. There are many, many variations on the recipe. This one makes nice colors.

Magic Rock Garden

  • a flat, shallow bowl
  • a rock to fit (can use pieces of foam or coal)
  • 6 T table salt
  • 6 T bluing (Mrs. Steward's; available in the laundry detergent section of the supermarket)
  • >6 T water
  • 1 T ammonia (plain; no soap added)
  • food coloring

Place the rock in the bowl. Mix the liquids together in a small bowl and pour over the rock. Squirt dots of food coloring here and there for color. The coral-like growth will start in about 4 hours and will grow for several days. To keep it within the bowl, grease the outside of your container with Vaseline.

Warning: Ammonia fumes "burn" noses, so don't get too close. If ammonia gets on your skin, rinse it off. Bluing does just that, so take care what it gets on! It will wear off of skin in a day or two.

Take the Next Step:

  • Gardening on the cheap is simple. Just visit the TDS Frugal Gardening Guide and we'll show you the many ways frugal gardeners maintain beautiful, bountiful gardens for less.

Stay Connected with TDS


It's tough raising kids today!

Dollar Stretcher for Parents is a weekly newsletter designed just for parents that will help save your family both time and money.

Little Luxuries

And get a copy
of our ebook
Little Luxuries:
130 Ways to Live Better...For Less
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Get Out of Debt