How to Dry Wet Sand

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When you plan to use sand in your next arts or crafts project, but find it's too wet to use, there are several approaches you can take to ensure it's dry before using it. The best way to dry wet sand depends on the amount and type of sand you have -- play, construction, store-bought or homemade colored craft sand.

Things You'll Need

  • Tarp

  • Shovel

  • Hand trowel

  • Containers or plastic bags that seal

  • Sheet tray or baking pans

Step 1: Use the Sun

If you have more than a gallon of wet play or construction sand, the best way to dry is to use the power of the sun.

  1. Find the sunniest spot on your lawn or driveway.
  2. Lay out a tarp large enough to spread the sand across it.
  3. Pour or shovel the wet sand onto the tarp and spread it out into a 1/4-inch layer with your hands or a gardening shovel.
  4. Allow to dry in the sun for at least 24 hours.
  5. Flip the sand over periodically with a hand trowel or shovel to ensure it dries evenly.
  6. Allow the underside to dry, and when finished, shovel or pour into a container.

Tip

  • Sand dries quicker in arid climates; it takes more time to dry when you live in humid regions of the country.

Step 2: Bake in the Oven

If you have less than a gallon of store-bought or homemade colored sand to dry, or need the sand dried quickly, dry it in the oven. This method also helps to kill any bacteria in the sand.

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread out the sand onto sheet trays or baking pans no more than 1/4-inch thick.
  3. Bake the sand for one hour.
  4. Keep the oven door slightly ajar and run the exhaust over the stove to remove any baking odors from the kitchen.
  5. Flip the sand over if it is still wet on the bottom.
  6. Let the underside bake about a half hour or as long as needed to dry it.
  7. When dry, let cool and pour the sand into individual containers based on color.

Tip

  • If you don't want to dry the sand in the oven for an hour, pull it out after 5 to 10 minutes. Flip it over to mix it up and let it air-dry overnight.

Warning

  • While some sites suggest drying sand with a hairdryer, this can cause a big mess. Once the sand dries, it flies everywhere.

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