Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Crystal Egg Geodes

This is what I did with my empty egg shells:
How to Make Crystal Egg Geodes
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I love crystals and especially geodes, so how could I pass up the chance to turn some empty egg shells (thus the tutorial on how to create crystal filled geodes). I saw it here at http://www.marthastewart.com/343344/crystal-egg-geodes. Well, I couldn’t resist, so I started gathering supplies and ran into one problem. Where to get Alum in bulk? A 1 oz. jar for $4 is just too much for my budget. I finally found a 1 pound bag at a place called Allyson’s Pantry (http://www.alisonspantry.com/ ) here in Utah ($6.00 for the bag). There are other places that have it on line. I am excited to show you how to make Crystal Egg Geodes, so let’s get started.

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Supplies:
1 empty (blown) egg shell
Pointed scissors
Glue
Paint brush
Alum (6+ Tbs. per color)
2 plastic or glass cups
Easter egg dyes (you choose what type, I paid $.99 for 6 pellets)
1 cup very hot water
2-3 cup size bowl
Spoon
Rubber type gloves (to keep your hands from being dyed)
Paper towels

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First take your empty egg shell and divide it in to, two pieces, lengthwise. I took a pair of pointed scissors and started cutting down one side from the hole at one end to the hole at the other end. The other side just broke in half when I pulled the two sides apart. Don’t worry about straight edges. Geodes don’t often have straight edges, so these won’t need straight edges either. Make sure each egg shell half is clean and dry.

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Squirt a little glue into each shell half

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and use the paint brush to spread the glue all over the inside of the egg shell. Sprinkle alum crystals (powder) all over the glue. Let this dry for several hours. The alum crystals in the glue provide the “seeds” for the crystals to grow on. “Seeds” are a NEED in all crystal growing situations.

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Lay each shell half in the bottom of its own plastic or glass cup, with the cut/seeded side up.

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Put 1 cup water in the bowl. This water needs to be hot. Room temperature water can only hold so much dissolved medium (by medium I mean things like, alum, sugar, salt, Epsom salts, etc.). At this point it is called “saturated”. As you heat the water, it is better able to absorb more medium, so you keep adding heat to the water and you keep stirring in more medium until it just can’t hold any more, then the solutions is called “super saturated”. A super saturated alum solution is what we are after. So I heated the water for 1 minute in the microwave.

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I added a color pellet, to the water and let it dissolve, making, in this case a nice orange color.

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I then slowly added 6 tablespoons of alum, stirring as I went, (it bubbled a little at first) the goal being to dissolve all the alum; this means no crystals in the bottom of the bowl. I learned that 6 heaping Tbs. was too much and 6 level Tbs. was too little, so do something in between.

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If you have stirred for what seems like FOREVER yet you still have crystals in the bottom of the bowl,

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put the solution in the microwave for 30 more seconds and stir again. That should do the trick. Let the solutions sit at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. You need your solution to be cool enough to handle, yet if you wait too long your crystals will start falling out of the solution into the bottom of the bowl and not into your egg shells.

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Pour half of your solution over each egg half (again it fuzzed a little, I think it was reaction between the calcium carbonate in the shell and the alum, please don't make me balance an equation to figure this out),and set aside for 15 + hours. Alum is great for this project because it is nontoxic, and it makes great crystals in very little time (compared to a week or more for salt or sugar crystals).

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Using a spoon, remove each egg shell from the solution. Pour off any extra solution and place the egg geode on some paper towels to dry.

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One thing I noticed was that the dye was mainly absorbed by the egg shell, not by the crystals. Yet the crystals are transparent enough that they reflect the color. Soooooo Cool! Now to get some more Alum and this time use neon dyes! I love it and I hope you ENJOY!

2 comments:

  1. My gosh, they are gorgeous! Does light come through them? I can see so many photographic possibilities, especially after you get the neon ones done!

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    1. The shells make the back opaque. I haven't gotten any more alum yet. I will keep you in mind for this project. Glad you like them.

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