Make This DIY Dyed Sand for Summer Crafts

Get creative with a homemade colorful sand kit, and entertain the kids all summer.

Related To:

My favorite carnival booths as a kid? Always the crafty ones. The best, of course, was the booth where I could make my own sand art, layered and filled as a perfect rainbow in a novelty container that would then sit on my bedroom bookshelf and remind me of how fun it was for those 2.5 minutes that I got to play with funnels and colorful sand. The cost? At least a few dollars, and probably $5+ if you wanted anything larger than a film canister on a keychain. 

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Good news, guys. As an adult with kids, I’ve realized you can make your own dyed sand for sand art all by yourself at home. For pennies. And you’ll feel like a kid again. The kids will be pretty happy with you too. So, you’re welcome.

To make your own, you’ll need the following tools and materials:

  • sand (as much as you need/want!)
  • food coloring
  • hot water
  • sealable plastic baggies
  • baking sheet
  • funnel
  • sealable containers for display

Begin by dividing plain play sand in individual baggies. Place the baggies in cups to help them stay upright. Scoop in a small dollop of gel food coloring; much like with baking, I find the gel food coloring will deliver a much brighter, more vivid result.

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Pour hot – but not boiling – water in on top of the sand and dye. You’ll only need just enough to cover the sand. Seal up each baggie, and “massage” the dye into the water and sand particles.

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Once the color is evenly distributed, lay the sealed baggie flat on a surface, and allow the water to cool and color to infuse overnight.

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Trim a small hole in the corner of the sealed baggie to remove as much water as you can, and then pour the dyed sand onto a flat surface to dry. A baking sheet in the sun will work in a pinch, and placing the trays in the oven on low heat will be fine too, if it’s a rainy day.

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

When the sand is dry, pour it into individual containers. Baggies will work, as will glass jars, but I tend to favor plastic containers with lids like this:

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Allow the kids to choose their own fun containers (craft stores and dollar stores!). Consider it an easy birthday party craft, or a rainy day project for toddlers and kids.

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

And if you thought adults were excluded from the sand party, think again. Wouldn’t you know that the sand looks great in a candle centerpiece? Dyed sand doubles as an easy wedding reception table DIY!

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

How to Make DIY Colored Sand for Crafts

DIY colored sand for kids' crafts.

Photo by: Emily Fazio ©2016

Emily Fazio, 2016

Next Up

Summer Fun with Freezer Paper Tie-Dye

An alternative approach to tie-dying that the kids will love.

Make Animal Footprints for Kids’ Playtime in the Sand

Let your kids leave tracks wherever they wander on the beach with these DIY animal footprints.

How to Make a Paper Airplane

Learn the simple steps for high-flying fun with this tutorial on five basic paper airplane patterns.

How to Make a DIY Chalkboard

Learn how to make a colorful chalkboard for a kids' room using laminate plywood, paint and primer.

Fabulous DIY Ideas for a Fun Fairy Garden

Use natural elements and simple craft materials to unleash your creativity.

Whip Up Some DIY Slime

Treat your Halloween party guests to their very own slime-making fest.

Make Dad This DIY Pasta Measuring Tool

For a dad who loves gadgets, a customized pasta measuring tool is an easy and fun DIY gift this Father’s Day.

Simple Chic: Make a Japanese Knot Bag

This stylish fabric bag you make yourself is a great carry-along for your next farmers' market trip.

Make a Father's Day Tabletop Valet

Keep dad organized with this simple woodworking project. 

DIY Thyme Counter Cleaner

Skip the store and make your own natural, sweet-smelling spring cleaning staple.

What We're Loving Now

We're crushing on these trends, recipes and DIYs.

More From the Archives

Browse through our archives to discover "why-didn't-I-think-of-that" projects, cool hacks and  genius DIY ideas.

Read Our Previous Posts

Meet the Team

About the Team

Get to know the crafty, creative writers and editors behind DIY's Made+Remade blog. 

Go Behind the Blog