A Ginormous, Epic Fail…and a Rainbow Success!

I know…it’s shocking, but I actually have crafting fails on occasion.  Okay, perhaps more than occasionally. But this one is the biggest I’ve had in a while. Last year, I pinned Martha’s Geode Eggs when I saw them on her Snow Day show. Aren’t they pretty? 6134_041311_egg_geodes.jpg

Photo from MarthaStewart.com

I didn’t get my act together in time to make them for Easter then, so this year I vowed to do so. I found alum powder online and ordered it, poked holes in my eggs and cut them into halves, and followed the directions exactly. When the empty halves dried, I painted the insides and edges with white glue them sprinkled them heavily with the alum.

egg-cutting         egg-halves

Then I waited overnight for them to dry and made up the dye baths EXACTLY AS IT SAID.

eggs-dyeing

The hooligans and I were so excited. The website said it would take 12-15 hours for the crystals to grow.  But they didn’t. So we left them overnight and all the next day. After about 52 hours, then kids came home from school and said, “Why is this dish towel soaking wet?”  Well, let me tell you. Through the process of diffusion (or perhaps osmosis, I get the two confused), the alum had actually permeated the aluminum bowls and the blue and purple dyes had leached out. Onto my off-white countertops.

So here’s what I learned…Spot Shot carpet cleaner and Bar Keepers Friend will remove all traces of dark blue dye, but only after about an hour of repeated scrubbings. Needless to say, that is not a lesson I wanted to learn from this experience.

Here’s the eggs after I dumped all the dye solution out.

Geode-Wet

Geode-Closeup

They’re kind of pretty, but no crystals. I did take this cool photo, though, which I think will make a nifty Easter print or card.

Geode-Stacked

We used liquid food coloring and alum powder from Nuts.com (which has fabulously quick delivery and some darn tasty organic snacks at good prices). After this fail, I read all the the reviews online (which I realize I should have done first) and found out that it must be potassium aluminum sulfate, not merely aluminum sulfate which is what I had.

I think we will not be trying this again. To make 6 colors required two pounds of alum.  The alum I ordered was only about $3 a pound, so that’s an okay investment. The kind we actually needed is about $12 a pound, and that’s just not worth it for us. I did read that you can do this using borax, but the results didn’t seem as impressive and the borax may be more caustic, if you’re trying to do something with your kids.

The original also recommends ordering powdered concentrated dyes, which I thought were a bit pricey.  The liquid food coloring worked just fine, I think, except for the purple.

I normally don’t bother showing my craft or cooking fails to you, but I’ve seen this repinned so many times on Pinterest, I wanted to point out that the ingredients and directions need a little clarification. Specifically, make sure your alum contains potassium and that you should not use aluminum bowls, only glass.

If you do decide to try it, I’d love to see your results!

And now for the success…I made these Rainbow Jello Cubes from Mom on Timeout for St. Patrick’s Day and they turned out beautifully. Even though they did take about three hours to make, because you have to let each layer sit awhile.  Totally worth it for the wow factor from the kids, though. Mine truly looked exactly like these.

And, yes, I’m attempting to ignore the Red 40 and Yellow 5, not to mention all the sugar, that those pretty little cubes contain. I only allowed the kids to have a few on St. Patrick’s Day and sent the rest to the hubs’ work. Those soldiers can handle the chemicals by now!

Rainbow-Jello-Cubes

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