Sand Dough Sculptures

With an easy no-cook sand dough recipe, you can make sand sculptures at home year-round! The sand sculptures can be air-dried to last.

Safety Tips

  • Watch out for this sign Ask for an adult's help. It means adult help is needed for the particular step.
Sand Dough Sculptures craft

Materials

  • Sand dough (sand, flour, water, white glue)
  • Plastic spoon or play dough tools
  • Molds (play dough mold, plastic or paper cups,
    cookie cutters, etc.)
  • Acrylic paint or poster paint (optional)
  • Clear acrylic sealer or decoupage medium (optional)

Steps

Step 1a Sand Dough Sculptures Ask for an adult's help1. Use fine or granular-type of sand to make no-cook sand dough. The sand's natural color will determine the final color of your sand dough. As an option you can purchase artificially colored sand from craft stores to come up with brightly-hued sand dough.
Step 1b Sand Dough Sculptures   You may also make colored sand dough by adding a bit of acrylic paint or poster paint. Knead until the dough is uniformly colored.

Take note though that adding paint will only color the dough and not the sand particles.
Step 2 Sand Dough Sculptures 2. Now that you have your sand dough, you can start sculpting just as you would with play dough or clay. Shape it with your hands or use moulds such as cookie cutters, play dough molds, paper cups, or the plastic moulds that usually come with a beach bucket toy set.

As long as the dough hasn't started to set yet, you can always reshape and start over when you're not happy with a particular sculpture.
Step 3 Sand Dough Sculptures 3. Use your fingers, some play dough plastic tools or the opposite end of a spoon to make grooves, holes, and other details.
Step 4 Sand Dough Sculptures 4. When joining smaller parts to the main sculpture, moisten the joined areas to help them fuse better.

Make as many sculptures as you like. Keep the unused sand dough covered with plastic wrap to keep it from drying up. If it starts to dry, you can moisten it and knead it a little bit right before sculpting.
Step 5 Sand Dough Sculptures 5. Allow your sand dough sculptures to air dry. Turn your sculptures from time to time to allow all areas to dry. Flat and thin pieces will set in a day or less, depending on a combination of factors such as temperature, the moistness of your sand dough and the thickness of the sculptures.
Step 6a Sand Dough Sculptures 6. Thicker sculptures take longer to dry and they are prone to cracking as shown in the photo. Cracking happens because the surface of the sculpture dries a lot faster than the inside. On a hot day, the moist dough expands and forces its way out, causing cracks.
Step 6b Sand Dough Sculptures Making small deep grooves at the back or base of your sculpture (where they won't be as conspicuous) while the sand dough is still moist will help relieve the pressure and avoid cracking.
Step 7 Sand Dough Sculptures 7. Once your sculptures are thoroughly dry, you may apply 2 to 3 coats of clear acrylic sealer or decoupage medium (e.g. Mod Podge) to keep out moisture. Let each coat dry before applying the next one.

These long-lasting sandy sculptures can be used as paper weights, cool home décor or given away as charming gifts.

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