Saturday, April 6, 2013

DIY Colored "Sand Art" Jars

I had originally found this idea online while searching for rainbow crafts to possibly do for Mia's Care Bears party. I decided it wasn't a good activity to try with a large group of kids in my small dining room, but it was a perfect spring break activity for my own two kiddos. These turned out really pretty, and you would never know that they aren't even made of actual sand, but rather, colored salt. The most notable benefit to using salt instead of sand is that it is way, way cheaper. The cost was the only thing that had prevented us from making colored sand art jars in the past. Making your own faux "colored sand" is not difficult to do at home, but it is kind of messy. I think the process was fun, and the end results are beautiful, so it is totally worth a small amount of spilled salt, in my opinion.

One thing I did learn is that craft is better suited to school age kids rather than preschoolers, especially if you are using somewhat large jars as we did. Mia, at age six, had more patience for this than her little brother did. That's really a no-brainer, but I was hopeful that Logan would be able to fill his jar. He only managed 3 layers before he started being kind of naughty and salt was flying all over the place, and I decided to cut him off. Then, I packaged up Logan's left over "colored sand" in baggies in case he decides to try again tomorrow. Mia, on the other hand, ended up with 6 layers. Maybe the rule of thumb is that kids can make one layer per year of age? Okay, I'm not sure that is true, but that is how it turned out at our house.

As usual, they had different ideas for how to do things. Logan produced 3 layers in 3 distinctly separate colors, and Mia made her six layers alternating just two colors: pink and purple. However, she didn't make the layers all look the same. She colored for different lengths of time to produce different intensities of pigmentation so there is a gradation of color from darker to lighter as she went. I don't know if this was intentional or if it was the product of getting tired with the process and trying to speed things along. Either way, she was pleased with her finished "sand art" jar.

{"Sand Art" Jars by Mia, Age 6 and Logan, Age 3}
  • colored chalk
  • paper
  • salt
  • glass containers with lids or corks
  • cookie sheets (optional)
  • Super Glue/hot glue (optional)

  1. Pour some salt onto the center of a piece of paper. We used black construction paper, which will later be re-used for chalk drawings, but any paper will work for this. Tip: To contain the mess, we first laid our papers on cookie sheets. I highly recommend using cookie sheets. The rim helps keep the salt from ending up all over the table and floor. (It's not perfect, but it helps quite a bit.)
  2. Rub colored chalk back and forth over the salt until it is the color you want. We used sidewalk chalk for this, but you could use the smaller chalk that is intended for use on chalk boards. Tip: Show younger kids how to color with the sides of the chalk to make this process go a bit faster. Tip: You may want to re-center the salt occasionally during the coloring process since it tends to spread outward. To do this, just slightly fold up the edges of the paper until the salt slides back to the center. Then, add more color as desired.
  3. Once the chalk is the color saturation you are looking for, carefully roll the paper into a funnel, and slowly pour the colored salt into your glass container. Older kids may be able to do this on their own, but adults should help little ones. Tip: We used these fun square glass bottles with cork stoppers that I found at the Salvation Army for 99 cents apiece. I had searched high and low for my old set of glass spice jars because I thought they would be perfect for this, but I have yet to come across them. You could also use baby food jars or small canning jars or any other glass container that has some sort of lid. Tip: If you want, you can turn and twist your container as you pour for different layered effects. Mia did this while I poured each layer.
  4. Turn the paper over for the next color, and repeat steps 1 through 3. Do this as many times as needed to fill your jar or bottle. Tip: While filling, make sure not to shake the container or you may end up with a muddy brown mixture instead of vibrant rainbow colors.
  5. Once your container is filled, place your lid on top and make sure that it is secure. Tip: Since we were using corks, I added a small ring of Super Glue to them before inserting them. You could also add Super Glue even if your container has a screw-on lid if it gives you peace of mind. Hot glue would work as an alternative if you do not have Super Glue.
  6. Find a nice place to display your colored "sand art" jars. Ours look lovely on the sunny kitchen windowsill.
{Demonstrating the "proper technique"...}
{And here's Little Man's method. I love how her look seems to say, "You are sooo doing that the wrong way! He did switch after seeing a demonstration of "proper technique."}

1 comment:

  1. So glad you joined me for the Monday Kid Corner party and linky!!! If you haven’t linked up today, we’re live at