Crystal Creations: Grow Spikes of Crystals in the Sun

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This activity shows you how to make amazing crystal spikes using Epsom salt and the sun. When Epsom salt is dissolved in water and placed in a container in the sun, the water evaporates, leaving beautiful crystal structures that can't be formed with just regular table salt. This activity highlights how each salt is chemically different.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
1 to 2 hours

Estimated Materials Cost:
$1 - $5 per student

Age Range:
Ages 6 - 11

Resource Type:


Materials List (per student)

  • Black construction paper
  • Scissors
  • A pie pan, cake pan, or shallow bowl
  • Warm water
  • Epsom salt (usually near the rubbing alcohol in the supermarket)


  • Physical Sciences
    • Chemistry
      • Chemical Bonding
      • Solutions
    • States of Matter
      • Solids
      • Changes of Phase

Informal Categories

  • Arts and Crafts
  • Outdoor Activity


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access


  • Murphy, Pat ; Klages, Ellen ; Shore, Linda


  • All rights reserved, The Exploratorium, 1998