Tie a short piece of cotton string to the middle of the pencil or stick.
Attach a paper clip to the other end of the string for weight. Moisten the string very lightly, and roll in a bit of sugar (this will help "attract" the sugar crystals from the syrup to the string) Place the pencil or stick over the top of the glass or jar with the string hanging down inside. Heat the water to boiling, and dissolve 2 cups of sugar in it. For the biggest crystals FAST, heat the sugar water solution a second time, and dissolve as much additional sugar into it as possible. Add a few drops of food coloring to the solution if desired.
Pour the solution into the prepared glass or jar and leave undisturbed for a couple days.
Depending on how much sugar you were able to dissolve in the water, you should start seeing crystals growing in a few hours to a few days.