How to Grow Sugar Crystals

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How to Grow Sugar Crystals


Rock candy, also known as sugar crystals, is a fun and tasty treat that is actually better for you and your kids than most other kinds of desserts. It is easy to make with ingredients that you already have around your house and you can use it as a great project to teach your kids some of the fundamentals about science and rock formation. Sugar crystals even make great treats for kids at birthday parties – and even the adults will be lusting after a stick of rock candy. If you are looking for a tasty summertime treat that is as fun to make as it is to eat, then sugar crystals are for you.


As is the case for most cooking projects, you should set aside all of the ingredients that you will need before you begin cooking. To create enough crystals for two or three people, you will need one cup of water, three cups of sugar, and food coloring. Additionally you will need materials to help the crystals grow properly. A glass jar is very important because it will provide the proper environment for the crystals to grow undisturbed for several days. You will also need a string, a paper clip, and a pencil.


You can begin to create sugar crystals by bringing your cup of water to a boil. If you are doubling the recipe for large sugar crystals, you should use the stove to boil the water – otherwise just use your microwave for sufficient results. When the water has boiled you can pour it into the glass jar.

Adding Sugar

While the water is still very hot, start adding in the three cups of sugar. This is the most important step when it comes to properly forming crystals, so go slow. Only add in one teaspoon at a time and stir vigorously after each additional teaspoon. You would want all of the sugar to dissolve in the water, so reheat the water again if it starts to get too cool. Enough sugar has been added when it starts to clump at the bottom of the jar.

Coloring the Crystals

Add a few drops of food coloring to create whatever colors of crystals you want. Iridescent colors are usually the most popular. You can obtain such colors by only adding a couple of drops of color to the water so that the water is lightly tinged with your chosen hue.

Creating a Growing Surface

Next, tie your string to the middle of a pencil. The string will act as a surface for the crystals to grow on. Tie the other end of the string to a paper clip. You can use a variety of other items as the starting point for the crystals, including other metallic objects or possibly even a wooden stick in some cases, depending on how you want your crystals to look.

Waiting Time

When your string is securely tied, place the pencil at the top of the glass jar so that the string can dangle into the jar like a fishing line. The paperclip (or whatever other object you decided to use) should be very close to the bottom without actually touching the bottom of the jar. Move the jar to another place in your home where it can stay undisturbed for several days. After about 24 hours you will start to see lots of crystals forming and all of the sugar will be used up in a couple of days. Because the jar will be sitting open for so long, you may want to place a paper towel on top of the jar to keep dust and debris from your house from contaminating your rock candy.

Images of Sugar Crystals



  1. E-learning LSS Chemistry » Elearning lesson 4 said,

    on June 21st, 2009 at 2:28 am

    [...] you know about solubility and solubility curves, can you explain the science behind making “Rock Candy“? (Note: if you would like to try out the recipe, please ensure that you have your [...]

  2. tammy.j said,

    on April 21st, 2009 at 10:10 am

    oh my god this is so easy i god i good grade and i learned a lot

  3. Tamelita said,

    on April 14th, 2009 at 10:51 am

    How does it form in two weeks.
    How does it gat colored
    How long does it take……………….