Magic Crystal Gardens

by Louise Wulf

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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.

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