Grow Your Own Alum Crystals
I found this project at http://thecwaftyblog.blogspot.com/2014/06/tutorial-tuesday-grow-your-own-crystal.html
I wanted to continue my crystal growing experiments from the borax and pipe cleaner method. This is interesting because it makes small crystals while borax created chunky ones. I made some modifications from the original like coloring the crystals before they’re mounted and the mounting process and I’m happy with the results. They almost look like Druzy crystal.
Now, what’s Alum? I had never heard of this stuff and couldn’t find it in any of my local stores but it’s used for lots of different things like in taxidermy, as a blood coagulant, for fire resistant fabrics, deodorant and other cosmetics, but the main thing that raised my brows was baking and pickling because while I couldn’t find Alum in the spice areas of my local grocery stores, I did find all kinds of pickling kits and packets that I think would work for this project (just don’t get the spiced kind, you might end up with butter pickle scented crystals). So if you can’t find it locally and don’t want to order it online like I did, I’d love to hear if PickleQuick or similar products work.
- Mod Podge
- Alum Salt
- WaterColors and/or food coloring
- Jewelry Findings
Step 1: Warm up 1-2 Cups of water and add them to your jar. I added half of my container of alum. To make your crystals get larger in a shorter amount of time you can add more. Stir until dissolved.
Step 2: Leave your crystals alone for 10-15 days. Depending on the amount of alum you added the crystals could be done sooner or later. Don’t shake your jar or disturb it. Just leave it be.
Step 3: When your crystals are done, use a spoon to remove them from the bottom of the container. Let them dry completely on a paper towel.
Step 4: Color the crystals (or not). The original tutorial suggested nail polish but it comes out looking fake and tacky. I didn’t have watercolor paints, but food coloring worked fine. I broke up my crystal into a couple pieces so I could have a couple different colors and squeezed a drop of food coloring on top, letting it spread (keep it on a paper towel). Some of the bigger pieces needed a couple drops.
Step 5: Paint the base of your metal charm with a thick layer of mod podge.
Step 6: Begin to fill in the charm in with crystals. You can smoosh a piece larger than your pendant onto it and work at smashing the edges off where the rim of the pendant is. Piecing it in is tedious and patchy looking. I did a couple layers of mod podge and crystals on the green pendant, crushing the crystals into smaller pieces to give it a more drusy look. When it’s dry, brush off any loose pieces and enjoy!