The Debacle Of The Sugar Experiment

crust piece

Oof!  This worked – but didn’t work.  I’m not on a good streak of science experiments here!

We tried to grow sugar crystals on skewers – rock candy.  The crystals grew just fine – but not on the skewer.  The sides, the base, the top.  Never the skewer.  Not sure why, but we’ll try again next time!

You will need:

  • Granulated sugar
  • a glass container with a small mouth
  • wooden skewers
  • rubber bands
  • a saucepan
  • measuring cups
  • water
  • straws
  • a hole punch
  • scissors
  • wire cutters (optional)


The point of this experiment is to make a saturated solution.  I can’t tell you how much sugar to add  because that will vary from person to person.  All I can say is start with a ratio of 1 part boiling water to 3 part sugar and keep adding sugar until it stops dissolving.

cooking solution

Once it gets close to saturation, it will become thick and syrupy.  Don’t overdo it, or you’ll have extra crystals at the base of your container.  Like we did!

Once you finish the solution, let it cool.  Seriously, let that sucker cool down to the not-warm-at-all point.  I think this is where we went wrong.

While it cools, make your skewers.  Cut a few straws in half and punch a hole in the center.  Use the wire cutters to cut a skewer to fit your glass.  Secure the rubber band about an inch from the top of the skewer.  Poke the skewer through the hole, and snug it up against the rubber band.

We ended up cutting a V on each side of the straw to keep the skewer from rolling too much.

making the skewer

Dip your skewers into the mixture, and roll them in some sugar.  This encourages the crystals to grow where you want them.  If the mixture is too hot, the coating will fall off your skewer.


The Engineer had fun with this stage – made a bit of a mess on the floor too.  Dog helped clean it up! (and mom, after I shooed the dog away.)

coated skewer

Once the mixture is cool, pour it into the glasses and place in the chosen spot.  It needs to stay there – and not move at all – while the crystals grow.  Place one skewer per glass and cover with a paper towel or coffee filter to allow evaporation and keep it clean.

If a crust starts to form – break it up.  We skipped this crucial step (because I didn’t read the directions!)

Then sit back and let it grow.  Or not grow.  Like ours.


We ended up with sugar “caves” instead of skewers.  Crystals formed on the bottom.  The sides.  The top.  But no, not on the skewer.

the glass

Today we busted the crust up and drained the mess.  We’ll try again later.

total glasses

The crystals were still pretty cool!

broke the crust



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