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How to Dye Sand

Tutorial on How to Dye Sand

Honestly, one of my absolute favorite things to do is change the color of things.  You would be amazed the number of things you can dye, sand just being one of them.  See how to dye sand so you will never need to go buy the colored stuff for arrangements, crafts, and kid friendly art.  On to the tutorial:

Tutorial on How to Dye Sand
You might guess from this photo there are a bunch more tutorials in the works. (I made that gold sand dollar and will have a tutorial in the next bit)


Supplies needed to dye sand
Please don’t comment on the state of that cookie tray.

Sand: $2.50 (US) will snag you 50 lbs of play sand at the hardware store or you can simply steal some from your kid’s sandbox while they are napping

Rubbing Alcohol: Higher the alcohol content, the faster it dries

STURDY Plastic Bag

Food Coloring: Cheap liquid will do just fine

Cookie Sheet or something on which the sand can dry

Step 1: Pour Everything In a Bag

Adding food coloring to dye sand

I already knew what container my sand was going to go in, so I poured in slightly more than I needed to measure it.  Then I simply poured sand in the STURDY bag.  Shall I repeat sturdy? Start with only a few drops of the color you want to achieve.  I was going for a coral-pink so I put about 5 drops of red and 3 of yellow to begin.  Then throw in some alcohol.  I’m not much for measuring, just give it a splash.

Step 2: Smoosh and Repeat

Matching colors of dyed sand
I hope you don’t need an action shot of smooshing a bag. If you do email me, I’ll send you a picture of my white arms kneading a bag of sand.

What is the technical term we need for this step.  Umm… Squeeze the bag?  Smoosh the sand around?  Knead the color in?  Whatever you do, move the sand around until the color is evenly distributed.  If it is really hard to mix add a splash more rubbing alcohol.

Perhaps you are thinking “whoa that is a little light/dark/fugly” while looking at the color.  Hold up! before you go messing with it.  Make sure it is fully mixed before making assumptions.  If you are trying to match a color (see the ribbon above) then make one special note: It dries much lighter.

I wanted sand a couple shades lighter than the above pink ribbon so I matched it to the exact shade before drying.

Step 3: Remember that gross cookie sheet?

Spreading DIY dyed sand to dry

Once you have the color you want spread the sand out on a cookie sheet. Might I suggest gloves unless you also want to DIY dye your hand?

You can bake the sand at the lowest setting on your oven until dry (always check on the sand to make sure you aren’t about to cause some sort of oven fire, though I am unaware of spontaneous sand combustion) or leave it out overnight to dry.

That is pretty much all there is to dyeing sand.  So go “borrow” some sand from your kids and get crafty.


7 thoughts on “How to Dye Sand

  1. […] and there are many ways that you can use sand within your craft projects. For instance, you can dye sand with pretty colours that can be used to create paintings and pictures, and you can use stencils to guide the sand in […]

  2. is the alcohol the key ingredient to keeping the color from coming off when the sand gets wet?

    1. The color will come off when the sand gets wet. The dye is only for dry sand applications.

  3. Great idea, thanks for the tutorial!

    1. So glad you found my how-to useful.

  4. This is such a neat idea! The color of sand is so boring, I would love to create bright, bold colors. Now you have given me some ideas on sand crafts…

    1. Don’t let the pastel color fool you. Bright is easy to achieve, just put more food coloring!

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