Welcome to Elfie’s blog

I’m the Mama of three young kids and we live in London with my husband and two cats. I mainly blog about things that make children smile, get very excited, or find totally amazing … without taking up too much effort on your part!  I hope you enjoy …

How to make a simple yet dramatic Salt Crystal Garden overnight! By the International Elf Service

How To Make A Salt Crystal Garden!

Having tried fairly ineffectively to grow salt crystals for a week on a bit of old string (next), I’ve since discovered a great way to make an entire Salt Crystal Garden (scroll down)!

Our science project extraordinaire started off with growing salt crystals using Tesco’s el cheapo salt from the back of the cupboard, left over from when I dyed my trousers, BUT after exactly:

  • 7 days
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • half a jam jar of water
  • a bit of old string

…we ended up with a selection of measly sized cuboid crystals that were only a tiny bit interesting.  Well, the kids looked at me and said ‘oh is that it?’  I think they should have been more interested than they were considering the thought I’d put into it, but what can you do?


Growing salt crystals very ineffectively on old string...
Growing salt crystals very ineffectively on a bit of old string…


Now the kids were really revved up and wanted to see some serious results, so I went back to the internet and we decided to go the epsom salts route. BINGO!  Very impressive, and it all happened overnight while we were sleeping!  I didn’t even need to listen to the kids ask a squillion times if it was ready yet. I opened the fridge to get a pepper out, and there is was looking at me – a substantial and very snazzy looking salt crystal garden!


What you need:

  • 1/2 cup epsom salts
  • 1/2 cup very hot tap water
  • grain of sand (or another kind of fleck of something or some grit/soil possibly??)
  • food colouring
  • fridge & freezer


What you do:

  • Mix everything together (minus the fridge & freezer).
  • Pour into a container (or split into several).
  • Stir for 2 minutes!
  • Into the freezer for 10 minutes.
  • Into the fridge overnight (at least.  Longer for more dramatic effects).
  • Pour out the excess coloured water (either away or into other containers or on to plastic lids to carry on experimenting…).
  • Admire!


What you DON’T do:

  • Use boiling water.
  • Leave it at room temperature (the crystals will vanish!).
  • Miss out the freezer step.  Well you can but apparently the results are less reliable.


How to make a simple yet dramatic Salt Crystal Garden overnight! By the International Elf Service

How to make a simple yet dramatic Salt Crystal Garden overnight! By the International Elf Service

How to make a simple yet dramatic Salt Crystal Garden overnight! By the International Elf Service

Snazzy Salt Crystal Garden!
Snazzy Salt Crystal Garden!


You can play with the crystals but they’re very fragile, so you might need to do some expectation management.

Try growing them in glasses with a different colour in each one, and make an extra snazzy salt crystal garden!

Don’t forget to look at our other fun craft activities!


Magical moments for you and your child to share

Take your children on a magical journey with these unique, hand-drawn letters from two of the most magical places on earth … the North Pole and Fairyland.

Hide them among the bills and junk mail, lay them on the table first thing in the morning, stashed among the toys, or snuggled up in their bed. You choose where your children find the letters, to create a magical family tradition the kids will love!



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If your child believes in Father Christmas and you want to keep the magic for as long as possible, There are DIFFERENT and NEW! Christmas Letters each year!  You can preorder these for Christmas 2018 for dispatch from September.



Fairy & Tooth Fairy Letters

Unusual Fairy & Tooth Fairy Letters from the International Fairy Service. All with streetwise advice woven through each one!

Fairy letters from a world of dragons (who set fire to your lunch by mistake), Mystery Gardens (with changing adventures inside), Magical Potion Fairies, Secret Underground Passageways, Magical Tree Bark, Time Travel … and more.


Birthday Letters

Tooth Fairy Letters

Dummy Fairy Letters are available too!

Come and join us on Facebook, or find us over on Christmas Traditions & Magic For Children for all year round festive chat.

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Emily x



  • Iris Tilley
    April 27, 2018 AT 10:53 AM

    Definitely need to try this Sounds fun Thank You

  • mummyofboygirltwins
    March 26, 2015 AT 1:54 PM

    Wow! never seen this before! My twins would love it too! Thanks for sharing and linking up #sundaystars Jess xx

    • International Elf Service
      March 26, 2015 AT 1:56 PM

      It’s very dramatic and next to no effort! Thank you for commenting xxx

  • martyn
    March 23, 2015 AT 1:02 PM

    Ok!! Firstly….don’t mix the fridge freezer in! Properly made me laugh!! Secondly….how seriously cool is this!!
    Absolutely love this and will definitely 100% do this in the week. Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

    • International Elf Service
      March 23, 2015 AT 5:29 PM

      Ha ha glad to give you a giggle. One can’t leave ambiguous recipes though can one? It’s soooo cool and funky and the kids had a great time poking about in all the crystals 🙂

  • Jenny Eaves
    March 23, 2015 AT 10:05 AM

    Very impressive! We need to try this! 🙂 xx

    • International Elf Service
      March 23, 2015 AT 5:26 PM

      Isn’t it great? The kids also enjoyed poking about with the crystals. Can’t believe how easy it is! Thank you for commenting x

  • Joanna @mumbalance
    March 22, 2015 AT 9:00 PM

    They look very impressive 🙂 Where did you get the epsom salt?

    • International Elf Service
      March 22, 2015 AT 9:09 PM

      They really are – I was so surprised!! Either amazon, eBay, chemists (more expensive probably), some garden centres… They’re still in our fridge, growing and growing!

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