What You Need:

  • Assortment of colored sand, or food coloring to create different colors of sand
  • White school glue
  • Warm water
  • Paintbrush
  • Paper—project works best with an off white colored paper so you can see the glue easier.
  • Newspaper
  • Plastic bowl
  • Craft stick

What You Do:

  1. Spread newspapers down on your workspace. This will help catch the sand and make clean up easier.
  2. Take a small amount of warm water and add it to some glue in your bowl, to thin it out a little bit. You don't want it to be too watery, but thin enough to be able to spread with a paint brush. Use a craft stick to stir it.
  3. Next have your child paint a pattern or picture with the glue.
  4. Encourage your child to gently trickle different colors of sand on the picture where they want the different colors of sand to go. Don't worry if all the sand doesn't stick.
  5. After they're satisfied with their sandpainting lay the artwork aside to dry.
  6. Gently turn the picture over and let the unused sand fall off onto the newspaper. Your picture is now ready for display!

Did You Know?

  • In Tibet, sandpaintings are created in the form of complex mandalas that could take days to complete. Once they were finished the mandalas would be destroyed to show that life was not permanent. 
  • Sandpainting remains a staple of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations. In fact, the Dia de los Muertos festival in Seattle is famous for them. Like the Navajo and Tibetan sandpaintings these paintings are swept away to symbolically illustrate our ever-changing existence.

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