Thursday, October 6, 2011

Theory Thursday: Crystal Window Frost

Have you ever walked out to your car in the middle of winter and find the "pretty" ice on your window. You know the stuff that forms in a circle-like pattern of straight lines. Sometimes I'll sit in my truck after starting it and just stare at the ice in awe and wonderment, or maybe dismay thinking about having to scrape it all off. As pretty as it may be it has to go. Well, it's not quite cold enough for this ice to form on our glass right now, but today we will create a crystal "film" that looks like this ice. 

To make the formula is fairly simple. All you need is 1/3 cup Epsom salt, 1/2 cup hot water, and a few drops of  liquid dishwashing soap.

You simply mix the three ingredients in a bowl, dip a paper towel, and wipe on the window.

The website where we found the idea claims you will start to see crystal formations within minutes. We wiped our windows and waited minutes, then an hour, and then with only a few tiny crystals showing I gave up. At this point the kids were in bed, so they couldn't help with the new batch. This time I made sure the water was as hot as our tap gets. With the first time the water did sit a couple extra seconds for pictures and a few more before we actually got everyone paper towels and began putting it on the window. So the water may have cooled too much the first time. On this second attempt the crystals began to form at about fifteen minutes and by about the forty-five minute mark the window was covered.

I imagine that if you allowed the water to get warmer in a tea kettle or something you might get faster results, but then you're talking about being cautious with the water so nobody gets burned. Now, so you know, the purpose of the dish soap is to make it easier to clean off the window. Supposedly it only needs to be wiped down with water. Erika tried that, it didn't work. So she sprayed with window cleaner, and then again with more water. It did come off, it just took more than just water.

It did look pretty cool once we got a successful use. I do wish I would have thought of trying the hotter water while the kids were still up to see their reaction. What they did see they thought was really cool and they were rather disappointed when Mommy washed it all away.

So, go ahead and give it a try. Cover your windows in crystal frost.

(The site we got the idea from has a pretty cool time lapse video you should watch.)
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