3 ways to color sand

3 ways to color sand
3 ways to color sand

Colored sand is a staple in creative hobbies. It allows to make visually attractive decorations at a lower cost. This is because colored sand is sold as is in specialty stores, but you can also make it yourself. Just buy sand and dye it with food coloring, chalk or powdered pigments. The sand can be replaced with salt or colored sugar.


Method 1 of 3: Dye sand with food coloring

Color Sand Step 1

Step 1. Obtain clear sand

You can buy them in garden centers, pet stores or even in hobby stores. It is also possible to collect it on a construction site, a beach or at home. Note that the lighter the sand, the easier it is to color it.

If you are spending your vacation at the beach, magnify your sandcastles with a splash of color. Just take your colored sand or gear with you

Step 2. Fill a plastic bag with sand

The most practical option is to collect a few bags of freezer from your kitchen. You can close them using a system designed for this purpose or a clamp. Fill a bag with sand to about half its capacity. This will allow you to manipulate the material in order to color it evenly.

Lightly dampen the sand. Since the dye is water soluble, the sand will color faster and the shade more vivid

Step 3. Pour a few drops of food coloring into the bag

Three or four drops are sufficient to color 100 g of sand. Adapt the amount of dye to that of the sand.

  • You can use water-based paint such as gouache. In this case, prepare a tincture in a bottle by diluting the gouache in water. Then fill it with sand until it is saturated. Dry then stir to separate the grains of sand and facilitate its use.
  • Water-based paint contains elements that are potentially harmful to aquatic life. Do not color your sand with paint if you are using it at the beach. In contrast, food colors are harmless.

Step 4. Mix the sand and dye

Seal the bag tightly and shake it. Finish coloring by kneading the sand with your fingertips so that it is even.

If the shade seems too light to you, add an extra drop of dye and mix again. Repeat if you want to darken the color further. Note that the shade will be lighter after the sand dries

Step 5. Empty the contents of the bag onto a sheet of baking paper

Spread the sand as far as possible without tamping it so that it dries faster. Use one sheet of paper per color envisioned so as not to mix the hues. If you don't have baking paper, use a tray or flat plate.

Color Sand Step 6

Step 6. Dry the sand

The process can be long, since the sand can take several hours or even overnight to dry. You can also bake the sand for five to ten minutes at 90 ° C and then finish air drying.

  • Do not let the sand dry completely in the oven, as this may tarnish the color.
  • Do not place paint-colored sand in the oven.

Step 7. Use colored sand

Let your imagination be free. Prepare a bed of colored sand in a bottle and add decorations to it to adorn a table. Fill a clear bottle or vase with layers of sand of different colors. Make hourglasses by adjusting the size of the grains of sand. Create a sand board. To do this, coat a sheet of glue and spread the colored sand on it in a thin layer. Then remove the excess sand. You can also cut designs from a strip of double-sided tape. Remove the protective film and spread the colored sand on it.

Whatever your creation, do not wet the sand, it may bleed off. In this regard, it is not recommended to use it to line an aquarium or a body of water

Method 2 of 3: Color the sand with chalk or pigments

Color Sand Step 8

Step 1. Obtain sand

The clearer and finer the sand, the easier it is to color it. You can buy them in garden centers, pet stores or even in hobby stores.

Do not use chalk or paint to color beach sand, as they may contain substances harmful to aquatic life

Step 2. Fill a plastic bag with sand

Get a freezer bag and put in the equivalent of 120g of sand, or about five handfuls. You can also color the sand in a bowl or on a tray. These latter options may be more attractive, as the containers can be reused as many times as you want. You just have to rinse them and dry them between two colorings.

Step 3. Lightly dampen the sand

This step is optional, but it allows the chalk and the pigments to adhere better. As a result, the color is more vivid. To moisten the sand without wetting it, spray it with water or mix the material with a teaspoon of water.

Step 4. Prepare your powder

A teaspoon of pigment or powdered chalk may be enough to color all of your sand. If it still looks too light to you, you can darken the color. Chalk, pastels and pigments are sold in hobby or fine art stores.

If you are using chalk, be sure to reduce it to a fine powder. As chalk is particularly crumbly, it can be scraped off with a blade or crushed with a rolling pin. In the latter case, place it between two sheets of baking paper or in a freezer bag so as not to dirty your countertop. If you are using pastels, choose dry models, as oil pastels can clump the sand

Step 5. Mix the sand and powder

Seal the bag tightly and mix the sand. Be sure to color it evenly. You can also fill a bowl with the sand and scrape the chalk directly above the bowl. Then mix everything together using a small spatula.

Step 6. Dry the sand

Spread the colored sand loosely on a baking sheet in as thin a layer as possible. Allow it to air dry for a few hours before using it, or it may bleed.

  • Use one sheet of baking paper per color.
  • Note that if you have not moistened the sand, this step is obviously not necessary.

Step 7. Use colored sand

The fine sand colored with chalk can allow you to make sophisticated decorations. You can also create paintings using sand as the basis for your artwork.

Do not wet colored sand, as it may clump and rub off

Method 3 of 3: Color salt or sugar

Color Sand Step 15

Step 1. Get some Epsom salt

This mineral is generally prized for its cosmetic, relaxing and domestic virtues. It is available in wellness stores or in pharmacies and drugstores.

  • If you don't have Epsom salt on hand, you can use fine table salt.
  • It is also possible to color sugar to personalize your pastries and other culinary preparations.

Step 2. Put the salt in a clear plastic bag

Opt for a freezer bag and fill it up to half its capacity with salt. As with sand, it is best to use one bag per color. You can also make your mixture in a bowl.

Step 3. Add the food coloring

Pour five to ten drops of food coloring into the bag. If you color sugar, it is better to put ten drops, because the crystals are larger than those of salt. If the color seems too light, you can add a few more drops of coloring.

Step 4. Mix the salt and the food coloring

Seal the bag tightly and mix the salt with your fingertips. You can shake the bag, but the first method is better. This is because the salt will be colored uniformly.

Step 5. Adjust the tint

As stated above, the color of the salt can be accentuated at your convenience. All you have to do is repeat the previous two steps, adding a drop each time.

Color Sand Step 20

Step 6. Dry the salt

This step is necessary because the food coloring is liquid. Simply open the bag and let the salt dry overnight. You can speed up the process by placing the colored salt on a sheet of baking paper. In this case, use one sheet per color.

Step 7. Use colored salt

Even more than sand, colored salt must not get wet, at the risk of dissolving! However, it can be used in the same way as sand. Fill transparent containers with several layers of salt or spread it on a sheet previously coated with glue.

Colored sugar is perfect for personalizing your cakes and pastries. Just sprinkle it on your preparations just before serving. Let your imagination run wild by creating shapes and designs based on a theme


  • Sand colored with paint or chalk fixes color better, making the effect longer lasting than with food coloring. In the latter case, the color may indeed disappear over time.
  • Feel free to create new colors by mixing the dyes.
  • Add glitter in the sand to brighten up your designs.
  • It is best to start with little dye, regardless of the medium you use. You can then add more if you want to darken the color.
  • Sand colored with food coloring may lighten as it dries.
  • If you're collecting beach sand, be sure to sift it first to get rid of shells, crustaceans and other items.
  • Keep your colored sand for later use in a tightly closed bottle or bag. This will make the sand easier to use and the color will last longer.
  • If you color salt or sugar, consider natural products such as juice, cocoa powder or turmeric.
  • Before coloring the sand, it may be necessary to wash it. In this case, place the material in a sieve and run a stream of water. Collect the sand in a basin and the impurities in the sieve.

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