By Cory Doctorow at 12:04 am Sun, Nov 18, 2007
They’re not really expanding so much as growing crystals.
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.
Is there anyplace online where I can order these? My mom would go nuts for the snowman…
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
You can get these in the uk too. They are a bit fragile, and the bits fall off if you knock them.
Hi – You can buy these on Amazon.com for $5.99 from Toysmith/Polka-dots, Inc. link
http://imwith.thesatya.com/ has a gimpped (like “photoshopped”, but using the Gimp) image of me licking one of these, despite the warning not to.
I just saw this faux Zen Mount Fuji Amazing Garden in a Bits and Pieces catalog.
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