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How to Dye Sand at the Beach

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Check out how to dye sand and make colorful sandcastles at the beach. You can also make Sand Art Bottles.

rainbow line of colored sand

Our spring break trip was to Gulf Shores, Alabama. I just love the white sand beaches around the Gulf of Mexico.

Before we left I planned some beach crafts and brought along the supplies for creative fun. We used sand to create tie-dye shirts.

The first craft activity was coloring sand.

Can You Dye Sand?

Yes, you can dye sand. Beach sand works particularly well because it is often finer than sandbox sand.

Colored sand is super simple and fun to make! The kids will love doing. They will think it is magic watching the sand turn a color.

bags of colored sand on the beach

It is important to use a vegan food dye as to not hurt the water supply or animals.

We just had four colors; red, yellow, and blue.

We combined them to make other colors. We achieved different shades of a single color by controlling the amount of food coloring we used in each bag.

My daughter came up with a rainbow of colors.

a rainbow of colored sand on the beach

She created the rainbow design above on the beach which got a lot of attention.

Many people came over and took photos of it. It was so pretty!

sand castled made with dyed sand

Make Colorful Sand Castles

My daughter and husband had a lot of fun making colorful sand castles. They put layers of various colors to make some really cool looking sand castles.

Unbelievably the sandcastles stayed in place for several hours.

We went back to take a look at sunset time and they were finally smashed.

man and daughter showing how to dye sand

A lot of rain came in overnight and the rough surf reshaped the beach a little bit.

There was just a little bit of the green left when we checked the next day.

It was fun making dying sand and making beach art even though it was lost forever when the waves came up.

collage with photos showing how to dye sand at the beach

Have you ever colored your own sand?

Yield: 1 lot

How to Dye Beach Sand

How to Dye Beach Sand

Dye sand to create colorful sandcastles on your next trip to the beach.

Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Difficulty easy
Estimated Cost $6

Materials

  • Natural Food Coloring
  • Quart or Gallon Zipper Bags

Tools

  • Shovel
  • Sand Toys

Instructions

    1. Place sand into a plastic bag that zips up.
    2. Add your food dye. Start with about 5-10 drops.
    3. Zip up the bag.
    4. Shake up the bag. Squeeze areas that are concentrated with color.
    5. Add more food coloring and shake until you have desired color.
    6. Enjoy making colorful sandcastles!

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Did you make this project?

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Mary Summerville

Wednesday 10th of July 2019

About what part sand to what part food coloring does it take to get a good color?

Diana Rambles

Friday 19th of July 2019

Trial and error on this. It's been a while since we did this, but I think just one box.

Judy Coates

Tuesday 5th of March 2019

It does look like fun but not environmentally safe. Remember a little and a little, adds up to a lot eventually. I would encourage everyone to look for environmental friendly alternatives to commercial food colouring. You definitely want those beautiful beaches to be available for your children to take their children to, someday. And it is much better for your children to eat eco-friendly food coloring too. Here are two sites that tell you how http://ecofriendlyfreckles.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-make-all-natural-food-coloring.html and https://www.fix.com/blog/how-to-make-safe-food-coloring/

Diana Rambles

Sunday 10th of March 2019

Thank you so much for this information!

Cheryl

Saturday 25th of August 2018

I have done this before but didn't have much luck with the food coloring I used. So, I tried something else...craft paint. I just take my little bottles of paint and scoop out little holes in the sand for each color. I drip a few squirts into the holes and then give the kids spoons to stir the paint in the holes until they have the colors mixed. Then they are ready to build, fill containers, or whatever.

Ellen M Snow

Saturday 16th of June 2018

Does the dye stain after it is on the sand?

Diana Rambles

Tuesday 26th of June 2018

Not with the dye we used. The sand seemed to absorb it.

Heather

Tuesday 16th of May 2017

I've done this with my girls a couple of times it's always so much fun, next time you're in my little corner of the world might I suggest sea glass collecting. It's the only time my girls actually love getting up before dawn to head to the beach. Hope your family enjoyed our beautiful little beach town

Diana Rambles

Wednesday 17th of May 2017

My daughter would love sea glass. We enjoy looking for shark teeth too!

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