How to Make Kinetic Sand Art Picture

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A kinetic sand picture makes a conversation piece in your home or a distraction in the office. If you craft your own, you can save the hundreds of dollars that a large, well-made sand picture can cost. But making one takes a little forethought. Many of them are designed to look like mountainous landscapes, grassy hills or ocean waves. The shifting sands of a kinetic picture mean that it always looks new every time you look at it.

Things You'll Need

  • Two identical picture frames with glass

  • 1/4-inch gasket material

  • Silicone aquarium sealant

  • Colored sand, at least two different colors

  • Distilled water

  • Duct tape

  • Scissors

  • Clean cotton cloth

  • Funnel with 1/4-inch nozzle

Step 1: Assemble the Parts

Take the back off each picture frame, separating the glass from the other parts. Wipe down both sides of the glass. Place one piece of glass on a flat workbench or table.

Step 2: Design Your Painting

Decide on a design for your sand picture: mountains, fields, oceans or any shape you desire. Make a few sketches to plan. Carve the shapes out of the rubber gasket material, with spaces in between them to allow you to pour the sand through.

Tip

  • Where the sand builds up and drips through creates the actual shapes for the images.

Trim the gasket to create a lining for the outer edge of the glass. Also create shapes for the sand and water to flow around. Cut a 1-inch section out of the top of the gasket and set it aside. You'll use this opening later to pour in the sand and water.

Using the silicone aquarium sealant, glue down the pieces of gasket to one side of the glass. When dry, put sealant on the other side of the gasket and glue on the second pane of glass. To ensure the seal is tight, spread another layer of sealant around the outside edge of the glass, around the gasket material, and let it dry. You should have a 1-inch opening at the top of the glass. Test the seal by pouring a little water into the opening. After the test, pour it out.

Step 3: Add the Sand and Water

Measure out 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each color of sand you’re using. Pour the sand through the funnel down the opening and in between the glass. Check that the edges of the glass are secure before continuing. If necessary, add sealant.

Once the sand is in, pour distilled water through the funnel and in between the glass. You'll notice quickly if a hole is in the lining. When that happens, let all of the water drain out and the glass dry. Secure the opening with sealant.

Step 4: Finish the Frame

When the frame is almost full of water, hold the panes in a vertical position using two stacks of book or similar props. If desired, add more sand. Glue in the 1-inch section of gasket and allow it to dry. Add more sealant around the edges of the gasket to cover the seal.

To support the sealant, cut 1/4-inch strips of duct tape and adhere them to the edges of the glass. Glue the glass into the side of the frame with the sealant. After drying, glue the other side of the glass into the other side of the frame. Polish the glass on the outside of your new kinetic sand art picture.

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