Weekend DIY: Make Your Own Rock Candy

Retro Staff Comments
Colored Rock Candy

These colorful jars of sweet liquid are going to make beautiful rock candy. (Source: Gluesticks)

When I was a kid, fall trips to local museums meant a bag lunch and a few coins in my pocket to pick up a souvenir. But, as with most museum shops, candies were also an option, and the one I remember buying most was rock candy.

Later, I’d make this delicious sweet in science class, and I remember being so amazed at what a simple task it was. I also remember it required a great deal of patience while you waited for the crystals to form.

If you haven’t had fun with this treat since your childhood, why not take a few minutes to let nature take over, and reward yourself later with a scrumptious treat.

You will need:

  • 2 cups of water
  • 5 cups of granulated white sugar
  • a glass jar (a large mason jar works great)
  • cook’s string (or a wooden skewer)
  • a pencil or stick (for balancing atop the jar)
  • if desired, 1/2 teaspoon flavored extract (vanilla, orange, etc)
  • if desired, a few drops of food coloring or food coloring gel (preferred)

How to make it:

  • Tie one end of the string to the pencil or stick. Hold the string taught to measure the height of the jar, and cut the string about one inch short. This is so the string doesn’t touch the bottom of the jar when it is immersed in liquid. (If using a skewer, trim it also as necessary.)
  • Soak the string in tap water a few minutes, then roll it in some granulated sugar, and set it aside to dry on wax paper.
  • In a medium-sized sauce pan, boil water over medium heat.
  • Gradually add sugar to the boiling water, stirring with a wooden spoon, until all sugar is fully dissolved. Note that the dissolving process will take longer with each addition of sugar.
    • Brandy at Gluesticks has a great tip. She says to add even more sugar if necessary, until it just won’t dissolve anymore. See her post.
  • Continue stirring until mixture returns to a full boil.
  • Add any optional flavoring or colors, and continue stirring until fully integrated.
  • Remove pan from heat and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
  • Pour hot liquid slowly into the jar.
  • Slowly lower the string into the jar and balance the pencil or stick atop the mouth. If the string touches the bottom, pull it up and trim it.
  • Set jar in a cool, dark place until completely cooled. Then cover the jar loosely with a paper towel and leave it undisturbed for several days.

While the entire process can take several days, do check the jar after 24 hours. Some crystal formation should take place during this time, so if there is no evidence of crystals you’ll need to return the solution to a boil and add more sugar.



Last updated: Jan 24, 2014
Filed under: Deliciously Retro, DIY & Upcycling, Retro Candy, Retro Food and Recipes Tagged with: DIY, recipes, retro candy