Sand Art Painting

Sand painting is a relaxing and meditative activity that any age can enjoy. All you need to start is a flat surface such as a wood base, glue, and a variety of colored sand to create simple yet beautiful colored sand art.

What is a sand painting?

A sand art painting is just like a regular painting except for paint you’re using glue and colored sand. You use glue to paint your design and add colored sand on top. You can sketch out your sand art ahead of time, if you are creating a picture or just freehand and create onto the wood canvas as you go. Freehand works best for when you are creating something more abstract and spontaneous. Sketching with pencil onto the surface ahead of time works best for a specific image/design or if you are working with kids and they’d like to create a kind of paint-by-numbers type image.

Sand Art Supplies

To begin, use a foam brush to apply an even amount of glue to the surface in a random manner as if you were painting. Then, pour the sand in the color of your choice onto the wet glue. You want to work rather quickly so that the glue doesn’t have a chance to dry before you apply the sand.

Also, the thinner the glue, the thinner the layer of sand will appear. You want a good thickness of glue so that you have thick, even coverage of sand. Next, pour the excess sand from the sand painting onto a separate sheet of paper. You can pour the sand into a separate container if you’d like to save the extra sand for later use.

You can also work in areas around the wood panel that aren’t touching each other if you don’t want to wait for each section to dry completely. As long as the glue isn’t too thick and has had time to dry, the sand shouldn’t move around too much during this process. To be on the safe side, you can give each section anywhere from a few minutes to an hour to dry before applying the next section.

Working quickly, apply the next color to the glue areas and then lift the wood panel to get rid of the excess sand. Try not to touch any of the areas until completely dry, or else you will move your design around.

When the first areas are dry, go back and fill in the areas that don’t have sand. Try overlapping the areas to fill in all the gaps. You may also have to go over some areas that didn’t get thick enough layers of glue and sand the first time. For a textured look, apply the glue in varying amounts as you brush it on--thicker in some places, thinner in others. This will give you the brush stroke texture.

When the sand areas are dry, try painting with the glue over the tops of areas that already have sand for a layered look. Try drips, and drops and letting the glue run over other areas that are already dry.

Layer over some previously dry areas with drips or apply more of the same color sand for a more saturated look. Use a fine-tip glue bottle to create freehand designs and apply the sand as before, allowing each area to dry in between each color.

Framed Sand Painting

You can also create little framed mini sand art pieces using wood frames and the same sand art supplies from above. First, remove the backings and glass from the frames. Then, paint the frames in a light coat of gesso. This allows your paint to have a deeper, brighter color than if you just paint onto the wood. After the gesso has dried, paint the frames in a color or pattern of your choosing. You may want to wait until after you complete the mini sand paintings to coordinate the color, or use the color of the frame as inspiration.

For the mini sand art, you can just use the wood frame backings as your surfaces. Trace the inside of the frame onto the backing lightly with a pencil to mark where the sand art will show through the frame.

Then, paint on glue with the foam brushes (or use smaller, detail brushes for smaller areas or to apply detailed designs) and then sprinkle the colored sand onto the glue areas. Work just as you did with the larger sand painting: working with one color at a time, and allowing time for each color/area to dry before adding another color. For more detailed lines, you can also apply glue through a squeeze bottle and then apply the sand.

Once the sand art is dry, attach the backing to the frame and hang or display as you’d like! I hope you enjoyed this DIY sand art tutorial and are inspired to create your own sand art paintings!