Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Grow your own Crystal Christmas Tree

It has been fun doing some holiday science experiments and when I saw this post to make your own Crystal Christmas tree at we-made-that I could not wait to try it!  How exciting to watch your 3-D tree "grow" at home.

To begin you need to cutout your frame for your tree from some cardboard (we used the cardboard from the back of a notebook).   While most directions for the trees suggest a zigzag pattern for the outside of the tree I wanted the girls to be able to contribute to the creation of the tree so we traced a Christmas tree shaped cookie cutter.  Each girl had half of the back of the notebook cardboard and had to fit two tree shapes on it.  This was a bit of a spatial reasoning task.   The tracing proved to be a little tricky as they kept on lifting the cookie cutter to see how they were doing.  Mommy definitely ended up tracing Bear's for her.

Once it was all traced I cut out the trees (helping Bug's trees a little in the process so that they would be a little bit more symmetrical than her tracing produced).  We then cut a slit in the top of one tree and the bottom of the other.  Little Bear was quite upset that I had "ruined" her tree until she saw it all together as a 3D tree!

We then took the trees apart and "painted" on green food coloring.  We only had gel food coloring and the girls did not want to get their hands messy so we spread the food coloring using a basting brush.   This lead to food coloring painted over more of the tree instead of just on the tips of the tree.  {No pictures as mommy's fingers were pretty messy}

The girls then measured and added water and salt to two containers that already had the required bluing and ammonia mixture.

Finally we put our now very green trees together and put them into our crystal solution.

We had started this just before bed and watched for a while as the water made the cardboard wet.   We then went to bed and woke up to a surprise the next day!  Our trees had started to grow!

We had a lot of fun watching them over the next couple of days.

By day 3 we had some pretty full trees.   Then the crystals started to fall off the tree as they got too big.

The girls really enjoyed this activity and we hope you enjoy growing your tree too!


  • Cardboard (back of a notebook)
  • Christmas tree cookie cutter
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Dish (low sides would be best to see the tree grow)
  • 3 Tbs Water
  • 3 Tbs Salt
  • 1.5 Tbs Ammonia (the one without soap)
  • 3 Tbs Bluing (amazon associate link for convenience as we could not find it in our local grocery store)
  • Green food coloring


  1. Cut the cardboard off the back of a notebook and cut in half.
  2. Trace the Christmas tree cookie cutter twice onto 1 piece of cardboard.
  3. Cut out the trees.
  4. Cut a vertical cut from the top down on one of the trees and from the bottom up on the other.  The cuts should be about 2/3 of the way along the tree so that the trees will slide into each other.
  5. Apply green food coloring to the edges of the tree.
  6. In the dish mix together the water, ammonia, salt and bluing.
  7. Make your 3D tree and place it in the mixture.
  8. Put the dish somewhere that it can be left undisturbed for a few days and watch your tree grow!


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