Waterlogged Xmas ornaments grow from petri dishes

These Japanese paper Christmas ornaments start out as folded paper in a petri dish; add water and they slowly expand to take on these shapes. Link


  1. This are a classic from my childhood. The “water” is a solution which is absorbed by the cardboard skeleton. When the liquid evaporates from the card it leaves these fantastic crystals behind. They are susceptible to drafts, but I have had some last for many months. The crystals may be coloured by dye impregnated in the card.

    E.g. the multicoloured magic tree. Notice the linked products: a magic garden (though how many people have mount fuji in their gardens, I don’t know) and the magic sheep.

  2. I used to get these around Christmas time when I was a little kid. The ones we had in the States weren’t as pretty as the ones pictured above, but it was really neat watching the Christmas tree crystal thing grow.

  3. I like my version better… Last year I went into the lab and painted Christmas scenes onto agar with six or seven different types of mold spores and let them grow for a few days. Such vibrant colors…

  4. These are great. You crafty types can whip up a DIY version using blotter paper, salt, H20, & laundry bluing. Just google for ‘charcoal crystal garden’ for a recipe. You can leave out the amonia. Cut out your shape, then cut a bunch of lines into the sides to create edges for the crystals to start growing.

  5. I don’t think their strictly Japanese, as identical products are readily available around here. My girlfriend bought me one a couple years ago, knowing very well it was the sort of thing I would like.

    But yeah, they are neat. Very delicate crystals though, they disintegrate if you touch them.

  6. Anyone know how I can buy these in the states? They seem like nice little gifts. I followed the links to Gazmodo Japan but I have no idea what it says.

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