Humans have been harvesting salt since prehistoric times. Get in on the action by creating a model ocean and harvesting your own chunky, flaky salt at home!

  • Uses the microwave
  • Beginner
  • 10 minutes, plus 24–48 hours evaporation time
  • Makes about 1 tablespoon flaky salt

Prepare Ingredients

¼ cup
distilled or filtered water
2 tablespoons
kosher salt

Gather Equipment

Liquid measuring cup
Oven mitts
1-teaspoon measuring spoon
Coffee filter
8-inch square glass baking dish or pie plate
Hand lens (optional)
¼ cup
distilled or filtered water

Add water to liquid measuring cup. Heat in microwave until water is steaming, 1 to 1½ minutes. Use oven mitts to remove measuring cup from microwave (ask an adult for help).

2 tablespoons
kosher salt

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to hot water. Stir with spoon until salt is completely dissolved and water is clear. Continue adding salt, 1 teaspoon at a time, and stirring until all salt is dissolved into water.

2up: cloudy vs clear salted water

Cloudy water: undissolved salt

Clear water: salt has dissolved


Set baking dish in place where it won’t be disturbed. (A warm, sunny spot will help speed up evaporation.) Carefully pour saltwater into baking dish—this is your model of the ocean.


Leave baking dish undisturbed for 24 to 48 hours, or until all water has evaporated. Use hand lens to observe model ocean a few times as it evaporates. What do you notice?


Harvest your salt! Use spoon to gently scrape salt from bottom of baking dish (salt will form large chunks). Salt can be stored in airtight container indefinitely.