The best crystals for beginners are crystal growing projects that use safe, non-toxic ingredients, grow reliably, and grow quickly. Here is a collection of recommended projects.
Find Epsom salt in a pharmacy or craft store. It is inexpensive and readily available. This non-toxic salt accepts food coloring and grows in slender needle-like shapes. Growing Epsom salt crystals is a great beginner project because you get crystals in minutes to an hour if you refrigerate the liquid.
- Non-toxic and readily available
- Crystals grow quickly
- Interesting form that accepts color
Urea is a non-toxic chemical you find online or at some garden stores as a fertilizer. The crystals pick up food coloring and grow in delicate, feathery shapes. However, the big reason this project is perfect for beginners is that the crystals grow while you watch! This crystal “tree” is about 5 minutes old.
- Crystals grow very fast
- Fascinating shape that easily accepts color
Borax is a chemical sold as a laundry booster or as an insecticide. The white powder grows as clear crystals. However, if you grow them over a colorful pipe cleaner shape, the crystals appear colored, too.
- Non-toxic (but don’t eat it)
- Grows overnight
- Reliable results
Alum crystals grow in stunning geometric shapes! These are clear crystals that won’t pick up food coloring. Find alum in the spice section of a grocery store.
- Non-toxic (but tastes terrible on its own)
- Crystals grow very quickly (minutes to an hour)
- Incredible shapes
Sugar crystals or rock candy are the only crystals on this list you’d actually want to eat. You can even flavor them, if you like. The sugar readily picks up food coloring, so you can grow crystals in any hue. The disadvantage is slower growth. These crystals often take a week to form.
- Naturally clear, but easily colored
- Safe to eat
- Inexpensive ingredient