First of all, we need to prepare a concentrated solution. From now on, we will use copper sulfate as an example. The crystal grows well and is one of the best choice for a first attempt at crystal growing. Dissolve copper sulfate in a small amount (about 30 ml) of very hot water. Continue adding copper sulfate until it is no longer able to dissolve in the water. The liquid should now have deep shade of blue. Heat the solution
if necessary but not boil it. Thats it! You have prepared a fairly concentrated solution of copper sulfate.
Prepare a seed crystal
While still hot, pour a little saturated solution (about 15 ml) into a small glass and setting it in an undisturbed place. Do not seal the glass. As the solution cools and evaporates, a few crystal will usually begin to grow on the bottom of the glass. Sometimes no crystal appears: either the solution is not concentrated enough and it requires more time to evaporate or it requires to 'jump start' the crystal growth.
In the latter case, light tapping the bottom of the glass using a glass rod, or more effectively, add a small amount of crystal powder from the supply bottle should initiate crystal growth.
After that, remove and dry the crystals once they have reached proper size (big enough so that individual crystals can be picked up by hands). A well shaped copper sulfate seed crystal resembles a rhombus, as the diagram shown below.
A typical shape of a copper sulfate seed crystal.
The seed crystal will be used for crystal growth. It acts as a nuclues for copper sulfate to crystallize and grows on top of the seed. In this way the size of the seed will eventually grow. In the next page, we will describe the procedure to grow larger crystals.