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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Bring the Beach Home - With a Sand Bowl

One of the many perks of living in Jacksonville, especially where we live, is its proximity to the beach.  I've never lived near the beach, the closest body of water I had growing up was the Danube, which is beautiful, but you only swim in it if you want to get radiation poisoning.  (Explains a lot about my brother, Jonathan)
So, it's a real treat to live only a 15-20 minute drive from 5 different beaches.  And we love it.  In fact, we love it so much, we decided to go with a beach theme in our living room. Not a nautical, lighthouse, blue and white kind of theme.  (Please don't take offense if this is you, just not our scene.)  We're using neutrals, with a couple featured colors.  About a month ago we found these great couch covers at Target, and these awesome kind of tribal-looking pillows that gave us the color-scheme.

Now, on to today's project.  Sand bowl.
What you'll need is:
White Elmer's School Glue
A bowl
Plastic wrap
Disposable bowl and spoon

And that's it!

Dan and I went to the beach a couple weeks ago, to go shelling, and we took a ziplock with us to get some local sand.
When we got home, I put the bag of sand in the freezer, to make sure all the critters that live in the sand died before I glued them to death.  (Apparently freezing to death is more humane, go figure.)
After three days in the freezer, I figured it was good to go.  
I used a disposable bowl and spoon to mix about a 1/2 up of sand with the white glue, until it has a runny texture.

Next, I wrapped a bowl I liked the size of in plastic wrap.

I poured a little bit of the sand mixture onto the bowl.  

Pour some, wait for it dry a little (hour or so), then pour a little again, wait, pour it again, wait... until it looks how you want it to.

Then you just have to wait.  I would say 72 hours.  Then, lift the plastic wrap off the bowl, then gently pull the wrap off the sand, and voila!

Now, I poured too much, and my first layer went a little crazy, so it pooled at the bottom.  I had to take some scissors to it, and cut it to where I liked it.

I tried to follow the natural lines, and give it the look of the "waves".  
After that, I simply sprayed a clear sealant, to harden it up a little bit, make it so it wouldn't crumble, and keep Bella from being tempted to chew on it.

And here's my awesome sand bowl!

I put sea glass in it, and set it on our new crate coffee table,
for which there will be a blog entry up very soon!

To help you out, here are a couple tips:
1. Start off only pouring a little bit at a time.  I poured too much, and it made everything else harder than it needed to be.  
2. Set the bowl on some plastic wrap, just in case it overflows. 
3. Try to get the plastic wrap under the sand mixture as wrinkle-free as possible, because the sand will mold to whatever it looks like.
4.  The more layers it has, the longer it'll take to dry, however the harder and sturdier it'll be too.

Hope that helped some people out there, who have seen this on pinterest, but felt it was too overwhelming.  It was super easy, inexpensive and fun!  In fact, I think I might have my kids make them for mother's day.

Enjoy!  Let me know if this works for you, if you've tried something else that worked better!

ps: I've changed every setting in the comments section, but people still aren't able to comment on my posts.  Any bloggers out there have any ideas on how to fix this?  I'd love any help I can get!  Email me at


  1. So seriously love this! Thank you for the great humor and the easy to follow instructions. I am definitely going to try it <3

  2. I grew up close to the Gulf of Mexico but I don't live anywhere near the beach. I try to get there as often as possible and I always bring a bag back when I am forced to leave so I coud definitely do this. Thanks for the great instructions.

  3. So glad you found the instructions helpful! I'm sure you miss the beach, now having lived at the beach, I know it'll be hard to ever leave. Thanks for the sweet comment!

  4. This is so awesome! I also live in Jax and saw this on Pinterest.
    My friend is getting married on the beach and i am definitely going to try these for her bridal shower! :) Thanks for the easy instructions! :)

  5. Hi Victoria!
    I'm so glad you found the instructions helpful! I love the idea of a beach wedding. These would be perfect for a bridal shower!

  6. I saw something like this in Galveston so got some sand and mixed and put over bowl. While I am letting it dry I found your page and thought.......note to self, check Pinterest BEFORE starting project. How well does it hold up? Can it take a bit of knocked around? (I would like to blame it on the cats and dogs but I am just a klutz)

  7. Haha, how many times have I done that! For me, it's usually in the cooking department. I love Galveston! I was born around there, so we visited a few times when I was a kid. Honestly, they're not very durable, a lot of it depends on your sand to glue ratio, as well as how many layers you put on top of each other. I suggest at least three layers, making sure that if there seem to be any "weak spots" after layer nr. 2, that layer nr. 3 goes over them. Let me know how it goes! I hope your bowl is a success! Glad you stopped by!

  8. Help! I can't get the plastic to release the bowl! ?????

  9. Did you wrap the original (mold) bowl in plastic wrap before you poured the sand on?

  10. What a fabulous idea and you bowl turned out so wonderful! I too am doing a beach theme in my home and I really want to try this. Thank you so much for the tutorial!

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed the tutorial. If you try it out, let me know how it goes!

  11. thanks...this is a good told tutorial. Groeten uit Nederland. Elizabeth

  12. I have made sand bowls with a craft group I run for children - and for a seaside shower. I tried the plastic wrap over the bowl method but didn't have as much success as using a balloon. I blew up the balloon to the size I wanted and taped it (knot end down inside) a yogurt container. You have to tend to this method for about 30 minutes - air bubbles, making sure it doesn't run too far down, making sure the edge doesn't get too thick and separate from the bowl - but in the end, two to three layers give you a great organic shape. When dry, you remove the tape from the container and then pop the balloon - it peals right out.

    1. I love this idea! I'll have to try it this way next time. Thank you for the input!

  13. Replies
    1. I'm glad you like it! Let me know how it goes, I hope it's a huge success!

  14. This is really neat... I think I'd like to try it with different colored sand for the different layers... Might try mixing a little cement powder in there too just for fun... see if it holds up a little stiffer. Thanks for the ideas.

    1. Those are all really great ideas! I definitely think the cement powder would help it not be quite so fragile. I also think the colored sand layers, especially when the light goes through it would be very pretty! Please let me know how it goes!

    2. I'm so glad I happened upon this post! I may make a bunch for centerpieces for my wedding! I think they would make great vessels for sand, shells, sea glass and candles. Thanks!!!

    3. I'm so glad I happened upon this post! I may make a bunch for centerpieces for my wedding! I think they would make great vessels for sand, shells, sea glass and candles. Thanks!!!

    4. I'm so glad you found it helpful! Congratulations! I think it would be perfect for centerpieces. I'd love to see a picture of how they turn out!

  15. puede ser que las recetas sean publicadas en castellano como tengo que hacer para traducirlas gracias

  16. Thanks so much for sharing all the steps to making these bowls. I too collect sand from the beaches I visit. I wonder how sand with little bits of shell would turn out. Thanks for the humor too. I love your coffee table (I wonder why we call them 'coffee tables' not tea tables) Anyways. I love it.. thanks for sharing..