‘I’m not a Scientist..!’ – Crystals Activity 3: Crystal Sticks

By Farhin Begum

Hello my fellow non-scientists (and scientists of course)!

I really hope you all are enjoying my crystals activities so far! Unfortunately, this will be the last crystals activity, as there are lots of other exciting and creative things that are waiting for me to try out!

I for one love this crystals activity and I am super excited to show you this one today! (I have saved the best till last!) If you haven’t seen my other crystal blogs… Well what are you waiting for? Go check them out right now and contact us with some pictures of your end results – Egg Geode Crystals (1) and Chocolate Crystal Geode (2)

This activity is awesome, it’s called ‘Crystal Candy Stick’. I know what you’re thinking: “but Farhin how is this possible?!” Well my friend, it’s all down to our old pals sugar and water!

Well that’s what we need for this activity (and also some other bits and bobs). I have to say though, it’s deliciously edible with a hint of vanilla or strawberry flavouring, or you can just make a cool ornament with them using a roll of string and scissors, like I did! Sugar stirrer for hot beverages, or lovely ornament? You decide!

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<<< This is what your end result should look like, do not worry if it doesn’t turn out the way you want it to be, its all about practice, patience and having fun.

Friends and family can join along too!

 

 

 

 

What you need;

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  • Measuring cup
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 5-6 plastic cups
  • Small pan
  • Food colouring of your choice
  • Cake pop sticks/ pipe cleaner/ kebab sticks
  • Clothes pegs
  • Spoon

Step 1: Déjà vu?

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The first step is the same as in the ‘Chocolate Crystal Geode’ activity– Add 3 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water then stir until dissolved, then add any food colouring of your choice.

 

Step 2: Oh dear…

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Before I go any further, my purple crystal mixture has let me down. It seemed that the first batch didn’t dissolve properly, and I didn’t let it cool for a minute before pouring it into the plastic cups. The mixture turned solid within 30 minutes! This is not the result we are looking for!

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I made a second batch in the same pan (which I didn’t wash). Suddenly my new dirty purple mixture in the pan had turned into a beautiful teal colour! (I promise I didn’t add any extra food colouring).

Make sure you get your mixture to fully dissolve and cool down for a minute before adding it into the plastic cup. After you have successfully done that, get your cake pop stick (or kebab stick or pipe cleaner!) and insert it in the middle of the clothes peg then clip another clothes peg at the end. When you have done that place it in the middle of the cup in the mixture.

 

Step 3: Long progress, quick results?

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I have to admit it’s quite a long progress but you can see the results within 2 days!

At this stage, you need to lift the top layer of sugar that has formed on the surface of the mixture with a fork or spoon, and bring the stick out of the mixture. Remove this top layer but keep all the sugar crystals that have formed down the stick. Transfer the mixture to a fresh cup, and then put the crystal stick back in the middle with the clothes pegs.

Wait another 3 days and repeat until you get to the next stage. Always leave a few days between changing the cups to let your crystals grow.

 

Step 4: Final Stages

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As you can see, if you do it right you’ll get the same results I did!

The crystals on the stick will grow, as the sticky, gooey mixture will start to decrease slowly.

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When you’re happy with the size of the crystals leave them out to dry on a plate and store it somewhere dry and out of reach of children (who may eat them!) for 2 days.

 

Step 5 (optional): Eat it or Display it!

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All you need is some string (80 cm) and a pair of scissors, and of course your cool crystal sticks!

  1. Tie a knot above the crystal with the string then grab the 2 ends and pull them down.
  2. Pull both ends of the strings down and position it nicely.
  3. Swap both ends of the strings around and get them to a sit properly at the bottom.
  4. Turn the crystal stick around so that the sting on the crystal faces you then do what you did in no.3.
  5. Wrap the 2 ends around the stick about 4-5 times.
  6. When you are done, tie a knot to secure everything.
  7. Grab the 2 access strings and tie them together.
  8. If the stick is showing, carefully snip it off.
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Ta-da! Your beautiful crystal ornaments are ready to hang up around the house!

 

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Posted in Activity, Chemistry, Exploring Science, Geology