June 30, 2011

Sandpaper Art

I recently shared this little project as part of the Summer Staycation series at Moms by Heart.  We loved it because you get the fun effect of sand or glitter art, without the mess!

When I was a little girl, I remember doing an art craft where we colored on sandpaper then ironed it onto a piece of paper to get a copy made up of lots of tiny dots (similar to the pointillism art movement).  I wanted to do the same project with my kids, but unfortunately, our ironed copies didn't turn out as well as I hoped.  However,  when we looked at the pieces of sandpaper with the melted wax, we LOVED it.  It looked just like those sand art pictures you see, but without the mess!  We ended up making several and loved them all.

Here's our project and how we did it:

Here's what you need:
  • sandpaper (we used both 60 grit and 100 grit with slightly different results, both cool.  The coarser grit just had more defined grains of sand on the finished piece)
  • crayons
  • paper ( I used white paper hoping to get that pointillism copy, but newspaper would probably work fine too if you just want your sandpaper piece)
  • iron and press cloth (old rag or thin cloth to use when ironing)

Here's what to do:

1.  Cut your sandpaper to the size you want your finished piece to be.  We planned on making popsicle stick frames for our artwork, so our pieces were about 5.5" squares.

2.  Using crayons, color your picture on the sandpaper.  You'll want to press pretty hard to get a nice layer of color.  You'll also want to have your picture cover the entire piece of sandpaper, so make sure you color the background too.

Coloring away!

Notice how the whole piece is covered and the crayon is on nice and thick.

3.  Next, put your sandpaper with the picture face up, put your paper on top of the picture and your press cloth on top of that.  Using a warm iron, iron over the picture for about 15 seconds.  (If you lift up your cloth and see the melted wax on the paper, it's ready.)

4.  Carefully lift up the paper to reveal your picture.   You can see how ours did make a copy, but it just wasn't quite what we were hoping for and was a little blotchy in spots.

5.  However, if you look at your sandpaper, you'll see that the crayon wax has melted onto the grains of sand in the sandpaper, making it look like you glued on lots of different colors of sand.  The picture doesn't quite pick it up, but some of the crayons were sparkly, so it had the effect of glitter in the finished piece.

6.  Of course, every piece of art looks better in a popsicle stick frame, so we painted some popsicle sticks to match our new masterpieces.

7.  Glue your Sandpaper Art into your new frame ( I used hot glue because it worked better than the Elmers on the sandpaper) and your project is complete.

Pretty cool and there's no messy sand or glitter all over your house!  



  1. I also remember using sandpaper with art,as a kid1 This looks like a really great and fun art project!

  2. I looooove this idea!!!! :)
    Your blog is such an inspiration for me :)

  3. oh I love this! Maybe we'll have a sleepover and do this with friends!

  4. Simple and beautiful!Have a nice month!

  5. Wow...!!! Really cool stuff. Lovely art and very innovative.

  6. What a find this site is. Great ideas for my kids this summer. Thanks so much.

  7. I have never seen this before, but I LOVE it and am looking forward to doing it with my girls. I have been trying to think of a way to melt crayons without a mess and I love the sandpaper effect! I found you on the It's Playtime hop.


  8. I love this idea... perhaps you would like the copy better with a different grit sandpaper... would be a fun and interesting experiment at least!:)

  9. New follower ( I am loving your blog!!)
    This is a fabulous idea...
    Would you be willing to share this at our Weekly Playdate link party? This week's party is here: http://beneaththerowantree.blogspot.com/2011/07/playdate-link-party-blog-hop-15-all.html

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  10. been wanting to try this too! love how the sandpaper looks —sometimes it's the accidents that turn out better than the project, and that's great too! thanks so very much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  11. Love it! Picking this as my favorite this week. And my boys will be trying this soon!

    Jo @ SmileMonsters

  12. I love it. I totally remember doing this as a kid. Amazingly (sadly?) I think I still have my project (a snowman) - but the sandpaper part, not the picture! This would be something fun to do with my kids. Thanks for sharing.

  13. We did this yesterday and I linked to you in my post! I knew about sandpaper art, but didn't know where to begin. Typed it into my search engine and your blog came up!! following you on GFC now.

  14. We do this, but iron the paper onto canvas-fabric and it comes out really bright and full! We bought a cheap kids apron at the craft store and did this...colors are still bright!

  15. Love this and I have done greeting cards in this style!

  16. hey, this looks like great fun!
    I think you would have had a better copy if you put it on a flat surface (cardboard f. ex) and then ironed it.

  17. I like both the white paper impression and the sandpaper painting. I have a big box of crayons I didn't know what to do with. Thank you for this wonderful idea.

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