We look forward to fall leaves every year, but where we live, we don’t see many until just before Thanksgiving.
We always find it fascinating how the leaves get a delicate frost after the first freeze of the year and my kids decided to recreate that frosted look using salt crystals. It was such a fun activity, we decided to share with you.
Today we’ll show you how to make salt crystal leaves!
What you’ll need to make Salt Crystal Leaves:
We used pipe cleaners for this Salt Crystal Leaves activity because there were only a few ugly brown dead leaves in our yard. We did try crystallizing a real leaf in addition to our pipe cleaner leaves, and it turned out pretty well, but we loved the bright colors of the pipe cleaner leaves best.
You can use whichever one you prefer or try both and see which is your favorite!
Pro tip: Use store-brand generic salt because you will be using a LOT of salt.
You will use one pipe cleaner per leaf. Bend the pipe cleaners to look like various types of leaves. We made ours look like a Japanese maple, an oak leaf, and a holly bush leaf. We used real-life leaves as our inspiration. Leave a long stem on each leaf so you can suspend the leaf inside the mason jar using a clothespin.
In a medium saucepot, heat about 2 1/2 cups of water per mason jar. We made three jars and used about six cups of water.
For three to four jars, you will use an entire container of salt. The key to getting this to work properly is to add TONS of salt. The water must be over-saturated with salt.
Boil the water, then add the salt once you turn off the heat. Stir the salt into the mixture until it won’t dissolve any more and you have salt grains at the bottom of the pot. You’ll know you have enough salt when it starts to form a sheet of salt on the top of the water.
If you don’t have this much salt, the activity won’t work properly. Our first batch didn’t have enough salt and our crystals never formed. When we added more salt, our crystals started forming in about an hour.
Pour the hot water into the mason jars. Place one leaf inside each jar. Make sure the leaves are suspended in the center of the jar and don’t touch the sides or bottom of the jar.
Use a clothespin to hold the leaves in the jar like in our picture. If you use real leaves, tie a piece of yarn to the stem so they hang low enough inside the jar.
Set your jars in a sunny window and leave them there for at least two days, but the longer the better. We left ours for about four days to get these crystals.
My kids were fascinated with how the crystals formed on the leaves. They loved how the salt always formed into a square or rectangle shape and looked just like crystals you would find inside an ancient cave.
We hung our salt crystal leaves in a window to add a bit of sparkle to our fall decorations.