How To Dye Sand

Colored sand can be a really fun idea, especially when you have children. Not only does it look wonderful, but it is also an exciting project to do – whether with the kids or on your own. 

Whilst it might look difficult to achieve, it is actually really easy. So long as you have some sand available (which you can purchase from any hardware or craft store – even the pet store), then you will be good to go.

How to Dye Sand

So, if you want to dye sand different colors, then you are in the right place. The simple guide below will help you to choose the right method for you, as well as give you and your child a variety of ways to make colored sand.

Let us get to it!

What Is Dyed Sand?

Before we get started however, let us take a look at what dying sand even is. As you are probably aware by now, it is the process of changing the color of light colored sand. 

Whilst it is a great idea to let the kids join in, it can be time consuming due to the waiting involved, and the best part will be making different patterns with the colored sand once the first initial steps are complete. 

Once the sand has been colored, it can be used as something to run the hands through and mix, or to create craft projects. Kids can place glue onto paper and sprinkle the sand in the same way as glitter. 

It can also be put into a glass jar and layered up, amongst so much more. 

What Sand Type To Use?

There are plenty of sand options available, from buying a bag of sand used for an aquarium, to looking through your local hardware store. 

You can also fill up a bag of sand from the beach and take it home, however it is always best to read up on the local regulations before you do that. If you prefer, you can dye sand in many colors whilst at the beach.

We do suggest avoiding thicker grains of sand like those used for a child’s sandbox. This type of sand may struggle to take color well.

Also, you will want to stick with light colored sand. White sand is best as it will be the color you expect, but yellow sand may make pink a peach, and red an orange – so keep that in mind!

Dyed Sand At Home

If you plan to create a fun craft project for you or the kids, then you will have some prep work to do, though it all adds to the fun.

Mixing the colors is a great way to get the kids involved, as they can take part in several areas depending on how old they are. 

What You Will Need

  • Light colored sand
  • Sifter (not one you will use for food again) and a bucket if the sand is taken from the beach
  • Zip lock bags
  • Food dye
  • Paper plates

How To Dye Sand At Home?

  1. Collect sand, whether that is from the hardware store or a beach, but make sure you have enough to make a few different colors.
  1. Put a sifter over a bucket and slowly pour the sand through if it is taken from the beach. This will collect any debris, shells and other bits to make sure the sand is smooth and safe to work with.

If you have purchased the sand then you can skip this step altogether as it should         already have been through a process to make it safe to use. 

  1. Put sand into different zip lock bags without filling it right to the top. You need space to allow for mixing, but you also want to put enough sand in to use. 
  1. In a zip lock bag, add a few drops of food dye. Not too much, as just like in cake batter, it will spread easily.
  1. Close the bag and shake it, and then use your fingers to squeeze and massage the food dye into the sand. Do this until the color has covered all of the sand.

If you find that it is not the color you hoped for and is too light, then add a few more drops of food dye and repeat the process.

  1. Once the process is complete, place the colored sand onto a paper plate or other container, and allow it to dry thoroughly to avoid food dye getting onto little fingers.
  1. Once dry, the sand is ready to use. You can put it into glass containers or clean zip lock bags ready to be used. 

Dyed Sand At The Beach

Dying sand at the beach is straightforward and something you can do right away, rather than waiting for the color to dry. It causes hands to become colored, but it will be easy enough to wash off.

Another factor with the beach is that you will want to use sea life friendly colors, whether that is food coloring or something else. Plant-based food dye may be a good option here. 

You Will Need

  • Food coloring
  • Zip lock bags
  • Buckets and shovels optional

How To Dye Sand At The Beach?

  1. Put sand into several zip lock bags.
  2. Apply different colored food dye into each one.
  3. Fasten the bags tight and start to squeeze the mixture into the sand until it is fully covered. Let the children join in too – in fact, everyone gets a bag!
  4. If the color is too light, add more food dye in and restart the mixing process.
  5. Once complete, now you can use the sand to build castles and different patterns in the sand.

Final Words

Changing the color of sand to be used for a craft project with the kids is really fun and super easy. It can be done within an afternoon, so long as the food dye dries quickly enough – you can always prep it in the morning!

Using just a few simple items like a zip lock bag and food dye, it is a quick way to entertain kids who are creative, and who want to learn something new. 

Joyce Bailey
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