Frequently Asked Questions about Sand Art

We have helped thousands of children and adults learn about sand art painting for over 20 years since we first introduced it at Artbeat’s walk-in Studio in Arlington, Massachusetts. Over the years some of these same questions come up repeatedly.

    Why don't Creative Adventures sand art canvases have more details?

    When we first started out with painting with colored sand art projects, the pictures we found had lots of details. You could choose what colors to use and where, but if you chose the same picture more than once, it would look essentially the same every time. We wanted more room for creativity. With Creative Adventures sticky sand art pictures, the same picture can be painted in many different ways depending on how you remove the liner and the special effects you add. Look what can happen when you have the freedom to make your own details.

    Isn’t this just paint by number? Where is the creativity?

    Dragonfly San dArtWhile we do include precut outlines in our sand art design canvases, the basic design is just the beginning. By learning the advanced techniques we include in every kit, each person can find a way to express their own creativity even if they are using the same basic design. Take a look at our example sand art pictures… Still think its the same as paint by number?

    Besides the variety of options available to create your sand art with our techniques and assorted colors of art sand, we also feel that especially for young children, having a guide is a great tool for teaching. What are seemingly simple outline shapes can evolve and be customized for different ages, and skill levels.

    If you want full control over your design canvas we do also sell blank self adhesive sand art design canvases in different sizes. Artists will need to use an Xacto knife or similar tool to cut into the top layer. These boards are also preferred by collage artists and multimedia artists.

    Isn’t this a mess?

    child making sand art picturesWe think that due to the fact that there is no glue involved (the sand art design canvases are self adhesive), this type of craft is very clean. There will of course be extra sand on your work surface which can be easily brushed away. Compared to painting and glueing projects, Creative Adventures Sand Art painting is very clean.

    Won’t the sand get all mixed up?

    pouring sand art sandOur basic sand art painting instruction explain how to carefully pour back each color into a cup to prevent mixing, however some mixed sand is bound to happen during the creation process. Even adult sand art experts sometimes get so focused on the design, they forget to clean up each color. If mixed up art sand gets created, simply keep the mix in a separate cup for later use. You can also purposely create multi-color art sand by stirring colors together in a mix that you like. However, this uses up the art sand more quickly.

    Our sand art kits include instructions for advanced techniques such as “Marbling” that allow for mixed colors on your final art without mixing up your extra sand. We also believe that part of the process we want to teach during the creation of your artwork is to show respect for your materials by not unnecessarily wasting it. Plus any extra art sand can be used for more art!

    What colors should I use, and where?

    We’ve made some samples to show ways you can make art with sand. You can follow our examples or choose a different color combination. Here are some good guidelines to follow:


    • Plan Ahead – think about how you want your finished sand art painting to look. You can even pencil in notes on top of the liner to help you remember.
    • Be aware of contrast. Colors generally show up better when they are next to very different colors.
    • Paint dark colors first. That helps keep your lighter colors clean.
    What are the dotted lines for?

    sand art designs with perforated linesYou may notice dotted lines (perforations) on some of your sand art pictures. These lines show where you can add de­tails later using the stylus. You can also fold or tear the paper along the lines as you paint. Or you can ignore the lines completely.


    Can’t I just make my own pictures? Why do I have to start with your designs?

    Yes! You can use our blank canvases to cut or tear your own designs, or to trace a different design from another source. A ceramic blade is a useful tool for cutting through the paper layer without hurting the adhesive.

    Another option is to start with our design and modify it to suit your needs. This makes it a little easier to get started. As an example, many people may find it challenging to draw a horse. Using our template can help you keep the right proportions while changing the style of the horse to suit your vision.


    Can I erase a mistake?

    You can’t erase a picture entirely once the art sand is stuck on, but there are many ways to modify it for a happier result. Small areas can be rubbed out with the etching stylus and the sand replaced with the original color. When trying to remove sand, be gentle with your tools, so that the adhesive does not get damaged.

    Another option is to etch details into larger areas to cover up something you don’t like; you might like the results! As Joy of Painting creator Bob Ross once said, “We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.”

    I’m having trouble peeling off the paper liner, what should I do?

    The best way to peel up the liner paper is to start with the smallest detail you can see on the design. Use a fingernail to gently pry up one edge and then peel the rest (young children usually need help learning how to do this). If you can’t use fingernails, the next best thing is to use the stylus included in your kit. Be careful not to dig into the edge of the detail. Rather, use the point of the stylus to push the edge of the detail toward the center of the piece.

     By starting with the smallest details and then working outward, there is less chance of accidentally scratching the sand when you peel up the next piece.

    Help! I pulled up the sticky on the edge!

    Problems like that can be fixed with glue. It’s best to use wet glue after the picture is completed, so that the wet glue doesn’t get on the rest of the picture. First finish painting with sand. Then place a small dab of white glue under the part that came up and press it down into place.

    What age is this art sand painting good for?

    Colored sand painting is one activity that is good for all ages because it is tactile, easy to learn, and requires no tools to get started. Different designs will appeal to different age groups. We’ve seen tots as young as age 2.5 paint complete pictures with our easy 1 – 2 – 3 steps. Kids and teens enjoy customizing the designs by using their favorite colors and enhancing the images by etching. Adults find the process meditative and relaxing.

    What about someone with special needs?

    ableplay ratingSand art painting makes the process of creativity fun and is adaptable to each person’s ability level. Special needs teachers tell us they like our sand art painting for the tactile feel, the vivid colors, and the fact that it’s not wet or messy. The rhythm of the process – peel, pour, rub – is soothing. The variety of the designs appeals to a wide audience.

    AblePlay, a project of the National Lekotek Center, a non-profit organization that aims to make the world of play accessible to all children, gave our Sand Artist kits four out of five stars for children with disabilities that are sensory, communicative, cognitive, and social/emotional, and three out of five stars for children with physical disabilities (most needed help peeling up the paper liner).



    We have tried all of the competitor kits and have yet to find any that compare to our quality. Here are some reasons why our kits are the best sand art kits on the market:

    1. The adhesive used in all of the other sand art kits does not hold the sand the same way ours does, and does not allow for some of the advanced techniques we show you to achieve amazing designs.
    2. Our art sand is bright, sparkly and just the right sized granule. We have tried other kits that are more coarse and those that are very fine, some that are brighter, and some that have glitter added. None have the same art effects as our colored sand.
    3. We include a full ounce of each color of art sand, giving you plenty to work with so that you don’t run out of your favorites. Plus, you may have enough to paint extra canvases, available for purchase here.
    4. Our sand art kits are made of materials sourced in North America, not overseas! Doesn’t it make sense to use materials that are locally sourced and known to be safe?