Skip to main content

How to Make a Sand Painting

Sand isn't just for building castles by the beach or shoveling around the sandbox—you can use it to make beautiful, colorful artwork too!


  • Step 1: Add color to sand Mix up several batches of colored sand. To do this, pour about a handful of sand into each of your containers. Then add a different color of tempera paint powder to each container. Put the cover on tight and shake, shake, shake.
  • TIP: Add the paint powder a little at a time to get the exact shade you want. The more powder you add, the brighter the color.
  • Step 2: Draw picture Use the pencil to draw a picture on a piece of construction paper.
  • TIP: The bigger the shapes, the easier it will be to fill them in with the sand—at least until you get the hang of it.
  • Step 3: Spread glue Use the plastic knife or craft stick to spread a layer of glue over sections of your drawing. Spread the glue thinly, so that you can still see the lines.
  • Step 4: Sprinkle sand Start to color your drawing by taking a spoonful of colored sand and sprinkling it where you want it, staying within the lines. Only do one color at a time, and when you're finished adding that color, lift the paper up and gently shake the excess sand onto the plastic tray. Then pour it back into the original container so you can use it again.
  • Step 5: Fill picture Continue adding sand until you've filled in all the parts of your picture that you want colored—then step back and admire your sandy-work!
  • FACT: Tibetan Monks spend days and weeks making an intricate sandpainting—called a mandala—as a symbolic act of creating the world.

You Will Need

  • Clean sand (be sure to pick out any shells or rocks)
  • Small
  • empty containers with lids (yogurt containers are perfect)
  • Powdered tempera paints in your favorite colors
  • Construction paper
  • A pencil
  • Craft glue
  • A plastic knife or craft stick
  • Plastic spoons
  • A plastic tray

Popular Categories