How to Grow a Crystal Garden at Home

Learn how to make your own crystal garden using just a few common materials (and some safety goggles), thanks to the Mother Earth News Almanac.


  1. Wear safety goggles. Get yourself a brick, cover with a cloth—so the fragments won’t fly up—and use a hammer to wallop the brick into walnut-size pieces. Then arrange the more artistic of the shards in the center of a 6-inch-wide dish or shallow bowl.
  2. After that, mix—in the following order—four tablespoons of plain (not iodized) salt, four tablespoons liquid bluing, four tablespoons water, and one tablespoon of ammonia. CAUTION: Ammonia can be harmful and children should use it only with adult supervision. 
  3. Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves and pour it over the pieces of brick. Then, with an eyedropper, drip spots of food coloring onto the damp lumps. That’s it. In a few hours your garden of wispy, coral-like crystals will spring up in tints and shades of the coloring you used. Handle the dish gently and the fragile growths will delight you for weeks.


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Mother Earth News Almanac is back–refreshed and ready for the next generation of self-sufficient makers and DIYers.

Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasonsreturns! The 1970s classic has been out of print for years. Now, updated for today’s readers and back in print, its information is as useful as ever. It contains instructions and illustrations for everything from harnessing solar energy to cultivating a sustainable garden to learning how to keep bees. Simply put, Mother Earth News Almanac is designed to empower readers to be self-sufficient.

Mother Earth News team has updated the essentials, but left the core of the guide intact, with all the charm of the original–from the writing style to the signature line drawings. This is a must-have for any fan of Mother Earth News, as a budget-friendly guide for a new generation of homesteaders.

Mother Earth News Almanac is a seasonal guide with subject matter that every passionate DIYer, homesteader, or environmentally aware reader can appreciate. You’ll find recipes, money-saving tips, and homesteading techniques such as illustrated directions for tying a timber hitch, cat’s-paw, sheepshank, and other knots; folk medicine treatments and preventatives; tips on raising chickens and keeping bees; plans for building three kinds of kites; complete instructions for fast and easy compost; and much, much more!

The simple life doesn’t have to be hard–not when you have this timeless almanac.

Mother Earth News is America’s leading magazine about sustainable and self-reliant living. Founded by John and Jane Shuttleworth in 1970, it is owned today by Ogden Publications of Topeka, Kansas, and boasts a growing circulation of over half a million. Since the magazine’s founding, Mother Earth News has been a pioneer in the promotion of renewable energy, recycling, family farms, sustainable agricultural practices, better eating habits, medical self-care, more meaningful education, and affordable housing. The magazine’s mission is extended by six annual Mother Earth News Fairs and a vibrant website.