Sand Castles that will Last

Today this project and my blog are going to be featured at The Life of Jennifer Dawn.  Please stop by her wonderful site to show her some blog love.  She always has great stuff at her site, and I think you’ll have fun poking around at what she has to offer.

This is a sand castle that will dry and last, making it a permanent, air-hardened sculpture. When working with this material, It feels like wet sand, but it sticks together well. It is like working with a rough play doh, moon doh or anther sculpting material.  It has a really fun texture and is a great material to work with – my kids loved the feeling between their fingers.  It dries completely within a week.  I can imagine making some cool centerpieces with it for a beach party. I got the idea from my sister.  She had cut it out of an old magazine and had it in her craft file. I don’t have a reference because there was no indication of what magazine it was on the page. Sorry.  We made a few different castles together, but this one was my favorite.

 Materials Needed:
* 1 cup sand (you can use beach sand, but I bought this at the craft store)
* 1/2 cup cornstarch
* 1 tsp alum (sold in the spice section of the grocery store)
* 3/4 cup water
* shells and rocks (optional – I bought mine at the Dollar Store)

I doubled the recipe, and I would highly recommend you do too.

Pour the sand, cornstarch and alum into a saucepan. I always like to let my kids do it.  Yes, Kenzie spilled a bit of the cornstarch, but that’s easily cleaned up.

Stir together your ingredients with a wooden spoon and then add water.  Stir again until the mixture is smooth and the cornstarch is dissolved.  Cook the clay over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.  It should start to thicken within a few minutes.  Stir more vigorously, making sure to scrape the mixture from the sides and bottom of the pan.

After a few minutes, the clay will have thickened to a dough-like material that can be molded and sculpted to your liking.  Please allow for it to cool to the touch before you begin sculpting.  For best results, use the clay within a day or two of mixing it.  Your kids will love building their own creations.

I’ve been featured:
I Can Teach My Child Photobucket
I was featured on Fun Family Crafts


  1. says

    Wow was the first thing that came to mind.
    Building a sandcastle that will last – love it.
    Thanks for the recipe.
    Visiting from TGIF

  2. says

    I just wanted to let you know that I will be featuring this craft this week. Please feel free to stop by Crafty Moms Share for a featured button if you would like. Thanks again for sharing with us!

  3. says

    I can’t wait to try this one out with my girls. I’ve tried to do this in the past on my own by taking homemade play-doh and working in tons and tons of sand from the beach. It worked awesome in our home in South Australia (very very dry with no humidity) We made them a second time once we had moved to Queensland (tropics) and they never dried properly and some resulted in gooo. Hopefully this recipe will hold up to Tropical conditions! Thanks!!

    • says

      You’ll have to let me know if it works out. I have no idea how it would respond to tropical conditions, but we had perfect success, so I have high hopes. Keep in touch.

  4. Heidi says

    Thanks for sharing your sand castle idea with me. my bedroom is done in ocean theme.
    I was looking for some ideas for completing it and will be making a few castles to be in my room. I also have a 8 year old and we do crafts so i know she will be excited.thanks again.

    • says

      You made me smile because I kind of forgot about this post and activity, yet it was so fun for us. I can’t believe I forgot, and I want to revisit now. I’d love to see you final result. I bet your 8 year old will love it! Blessings!

  5. says

    I’m the Editorial Assistant for Fun Family Crafts and I wanted to let you know that we have featured your sandcastle project! You can see it here:

    If you have other kid friendly crafts, we’d love it if you would submit them. If you would like to display a featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above. Thanks for a wonderful project idea!

    • says

      Thanks so much for the feature! Looks great. I’ll keep you in mind for other ideas I have, and you are always free to browse around.

    • says

      Ooo…I don’t know. I’ve never tried it with beach sand. I’ve done it twice with craft sand and it worked both times. I wonder if it work work if you washed it pretty thoroughly in a sieve. I don’t know any other ideas. Sorry! It’s good to have this comment for other who might want to try it though.

  6. Karie says

    OH! What a wonderful idea! My son had great fun and loved every moment. Thanks ever so much.


  7. Karie says

    Wow what a wonderful idea! my son had great fun and enjoyed every moment. thanks ever so much.


  8. JJ says

    if using beach sand, i would definitely recommend boiling the sand first and draining it letting it dry.. all sorts of things live at the beach and die in the sand, you wouldnt want your castle to stink a few days after making it…

  9. Terry says

    You posted this as a fun craft for children – well, my 28 year old child is having a beach wedding and I wanted to make a beautiful sandcastle as a centerpiece for the gift table. I just tried your sand castle recipe on a ‘trial run’ and it worked great! It was quick and easy and it really looks like sand rather than play-doh, It even worked well with molds. Thanks so much!

    • says

      What a great report. I love the idea for a beach wedding. I actually used them as centerpieces for my daughter’s mermaid party too, so great minds think alike. So glad to hear it worked well for you, and I hope you have a great wedding for your son or daughter.

  10. Lesley says

    Do you think these will keep in the outdoors? I was thinking how cute these would be in a beach themed fairy garden.

    • says

      Hello! We have used them to decorate tables outside. However, I’m not convinced that it would keep up under different weather conditions like rain. If you do try it, I’d love to know your experience. I think you would have a lot of fun with the project, even if they didn’t last forever in your fairy garden.


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