How to make a crystal sculpture out of salt

How to make a crystal sculpture out of salt

Crystals in any form are beautiful. Their many-faceted shapes are found in nature’s own setting and are recreated in jewelry. Salt water has formed salt crystal sculptures in nature with no help from man, but in understanding the principals behind their formation we have been able to harness that information and recreate their beauty in our own homes with a little ingenuity and a few ingredients.

Salt Sculpture

Supplies Needed:

¼ cup to ½ cup table salt
1 cup water
3 feet of cotton string
1 heatproof container (a medium size glass jar works just fine)
Heavy saucepan
Food Coloring

How to make a salt sculpture:

Step 1: Cut the cotton string into 7 pieces about 5 inches long. Create a string bouquet by tying one end of the cut strings together.

Step 2: Bring the water to a rolling boil in the heavy saucepan. Add about half of the salt to the boiling water stirring with a wooden spoon until all of the salt has dissolved. Add a few drops of food coloring (optional). While stirring constantly, continue adding the balance of the salt a little at a time until the water has reached supersaturation and will not dissolve any more salt. A film of salt crystals will form on the surface of your solution when you have reached maximum saturation. Turn off the heat and carefully pour the saturated liquid into your heatproof container.

Step 3: Submerge the knotted end of the string into the saltwater solution. Dangle the untied ends of the string over the edge of the container and around the rim. These strings will actually grow the sculpture so take a little time with your arrangement.

Step 4: Place the container on a tray and place it in an out of the way area so it will not be disturbed. Place the tray on a bed of newspapers to prevent a mess as the strings will drip during the growing process.

Step 5: Wait. The salt crystals will grow over the next few days. The cotton string will actually grow fatter from the salt crystalizing. As the salt solution evaporates below the knot, add more solution. Long salt stalagmites will continue to grow as long as the container remains undisturbed.


It is important to keep the water at a high rolling boil while you continue to add the salt as the higher the temperature of the water, the more salt it will hold.

To vary the size of your sculpture, try to use different lengths of string and different sizes of containers.

For some color variation, add one color of food coloring to the original saturation and then a second color when the first batch has evaporated.

Crystal Garden

Another variation of the basic salt sculpture is called a Crystal Garden.


6 tablespoons table salt
1 tablespoon Ammonia
6 tablespoons bluing
6 tbsp Water
small pebbles or pieces of coal
shallow glass or china bowl

Place the small pebbles or pieces of coal into the bottom of a shallow glass container. Combine the table salt, ammonia, bluing and water and pour over the pebbles. Place the container in an out of the way spot and place on a bed of newspapers. The crystals will soon begin to grow. Feed the garden by adding additional water. The crystals will continue to grow and will actually leave the confines of the container as long as you continue to feed them.

Note: Drop a few drops of different food coloring onto the top of the salt and ammonia solution to create a multi-colored effect in your sculpture.


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