How to Glue Sand to Wood

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Sand art has been inspired by several cultural groups. The Navajo, for example, use sand painting as part of a healing practice, and Tibetan monks are well known for their elaborate sand mandalas. Using sand on wood is a creative way to make a permanent art piece with materials you can find in nature. The texture gives a unique feel to artwork.

Choosing the Right Wood

If you wish to use reclaimed wood, clean it first. You will need something that is not too porous, as it will be difficult to draft a design if there are too many grooves: Sand will fall into the cracks and make your design uneven. However, it is easy to fill cracks and holes in wood using a putty or filler. Apply the filler, let it dry, and sand it down until you reach the desired smoothness. If you don't want to go on a wood hunt, purchase a piece of wood from a craft or hardware store that sells wood ready for immediate use.

Warning

    • Sand is messy. Use plastic table coverings for easier clean up. 

Working With the Sand

Sand naturally comes in tones of beige, tan and white that are fairly easy to find. There are other sand varieties that can be found all over the world. Many of the other hues are formed in larger granules compared to the finer sand that is more common. You can purchase sand in various colors from an art store. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you can make colored sand with food dye or tempura paints instead of purchasing it.

Tip

    • Mix glitter in sand to make your project sparkle.

Draw your design onto the wood. Add white PVA glue over the design with a small paintbrush. Spread the glue in a light layer -- not too thin or too thick. Make the layer slightly heavier if your sand has larger granules. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth before adding the sand.

Distribute the sand onto the wood with any of several methods. You can pour it with your hands, or use a spoon or a funnel. Work one color or section at a time to prevent mistakes such as colors falling into each other.

Your first layer of sand will be directly on the wood. If you would like it to stand out more, wait until it dries, then add more glue and another layer of sand. Repeat until you get the desired depth that you want on each part of your design.

Finishing Options

The length of time it takes to dry depends on the type and amount of glue you use. It can vary from a few minutes to hours. Read the manufacturer instructions to determine the dry time. Seal your project with a craft sealer. This will protect it and also lock down any loose sand that you missed.

From among the many different types of sealers, choose one that has your desired finish, such as matte, satin, gloss or extra glossy. A spray-on finish will be easier to work with than one that requires a brush application. Keep your sand art flat and spray the sealer onto the picture in a well-ventilated area. Allow the finish to dry. Apply two or three coats for best protection.

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