DIY Chalk-Rubbed Sand Art

“I’m bored.” It’s July, so surely you’ve heard this at least a million times, because it seems to be a pretty universal phrase in the summertime.

We’ve had a nightmare of a summer week here; it’s been the hottest week of summer so far, and our city’s aquatic center has been closed due to a broken pump. Repairs have dragged on, and while it’s set to open today, it didn’t spare us all of the boredom of not getting to go to the pool. Because really, if I have to watch Frozen one more time instead of splashing in the water, I’m going to lose my mind. Olaf’s Summer song is so not as fun when it’s that hot in reality!

Luckily, I had the perfect craft to keep Zach entertained for awhile… DIY Sand Art that took white sand and turned it all kinds of pretty colors with one simple outdoor craft item– Chalk! The best part is the craft is so affordable if you have chalk and glue on hand already (and even if you don’t, it’s still pretty darn cheap!), and it’s so much fun.

Start by picking the colors of chalk you’d like to use. I feel like this was the hardest part of the craft– so many pretty colors, and I can’t make sand art with ALL 48, so I had to narrow it down to 8– Zach picked 4, and I picked 4.

You’ll also need sand, and something to keep the sand in place a bit. I used paper plates because the rim helps hold the sand in. Any light-colored sand will work. We had so much extra beach sand in our beach blankets and towels that we mostly gathered that for use in this project. I don’t advise taking tons of beach sand, obviously– while one person grabbing a jar or two of sand from the beach won’t hurt anything, a lot of people doing it will add up and not be a super-great-fantastic thing. But, if you want to use beach sand and have some stuck in your towels like us, it makes a great souvenir!

Rub the chalk over the sand in short strokes (getting a little sand under the chalk at a time). It’ll take several minutes, but soon, you’ll have brightly colored sand. You can stop when it’s colored to your liking– I decided to go further than the bottom picture and make it just a bit pinker, but you can go until you’re tired or ready for a different color.

Zach loved watching the sand transform, and what kid doesn’t love playing with sand? He didn’t have the patience to work on more than one color (and I did color that one a little bit more when he was done), but it’s a great project for groups especially… the more people working on the sand, the faster the project seems to go. The best part is that this project is fun for all ages– little ones enjoy pushing the sand around on the plate (while mom works on coloring the sand on another plate), and older ones have an attention span that allows them to really dig in and watch the sand turn from it’s original shade to a bright, vibrant hue. This would also be the perfect craft for a summertime sleepover for tweens or older elementary school kids!

You can even add glitter! I used a Martha Stewart Craft Glitter (affiliate link) to make it shine, because what girl doesn’t love glitter? Zach decided his was better sans-glitter, which works just fine!

Then, pour your sand into the container of your choice in layers. You can get the cool slanted effect by pouring more down one side of the vase than the other, then pouring another sand into the space you left open. We picked up Libbey bud vases on the cheap at Target (about $2.00 each), but any container you like will work. I also found the Libbey Bud Vases (affiliate link) in a 12-pack on Amazon, which would be perfect for a sleepover (or if you just have several kids)!

If you have a container with a stopper, perfect– fill it to the top, seal it, and you’re done. If your sand doesn’t reach the top, or if you used a vase like we did, you’ve got one more simple step…

Glue. You’ll pour a 1/4″ thick amount of glue over the top of the sand, let it dry, and then feel if you need to pour more on (because it will soak into the sand a bit!) It needs to dry for at least a full 24 hours before letting the sand jar tip or go topsy-turvy, but it’ll provide a nice seal on the sand and allow it to stay in place if it gets accidentally knocked over. Since Elmer’s dries clear, you’ll have no big mess in the top of the jar when you’re done. It will just look pretty finished.

If you have space in the top of your jar, you can customize it with beach shells, a votive, or whatever else you’d like, and enjoy the beautiful sand art. It’s such an easy project and appeals to all age levels, making it an ideal craft for anyone who has a little sand on hand, or is sick of the summer “I’m bored!”s.


Love kid’s crafts? You should check out my Brazilian Carnival Masks or Mexican Paper Flowers! Both are fun, easy, and take minimal supplies, so you’ll be able to entertain your kids without breaking the bank.


This post contains affiliate links. Affiliate links are links that, if you choose to purchase, support DigitalEraMom. You should not feel obligated to purchase using the affiliate link, but I would never link to something I didn’t absolutely love or find to be a good product.


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