DIY Beach Sand Vases

UPDATE: To address the many concerns about the illegal removal of sand from beaches, please note I did not break any "local" laws! BUT in a lot of locations this is indeed forbidden so it's best to purchase sand at a local hardware store for this project.

Do you love beach decor items but not the price tag at some of the fancy souvenir stores? I have an easy solution, that is if you have access to a small amount of sand from a nearby beach. You can make customized beach decor for your home with sand, food coloring and a vase, it's easy peasy!

Wave Tealight Vases

Tools and Materials

  • Sand
  • Food coloring
  • Vases
  • Sifter
  • Tin can
  • Tea light
  • Stones

Waste particles
Sift the Sand

First I sifted with a simple kitchen utensil, I wanted the larger particles out of the sand and use only the finest for my project.

Add Food Coloring
Add Food Coloring

Next I added drops of food coloring to the sand and mixed in until I got the desired color I wanted.

Colored Sand

Here are some of the colors I came up with, along with the naturally red sand from Prince Edward Island, which is very different from our natural colored sand.

Layers in Place
Add a Tin Can

Next I added a recycled food can inside the vase upside down which saved the amount of sand I'd need to fill it, but it also acted as a base to put the candle on. The black sand came from another item that I recycled to add another color to the vase. I rolled a sheet of paper to use as a funnel to pour in the different layers in a wavy pattern.

The last layer was a Michael's bag of gold stones to add a different texture to the look and lastly the candle was put in place.

Add Stones
Add Stones

The last layer was a Michael's bag of gold stones to add a different texture to the look. Then the candle was put in place.

DIY Beach Sand Tealight Vase

I was on a roll and created several of these to give as gifts to friends! This one has the rust colored PEI sand and my province, Newfoundland, which is the gray sand.

DIY Sand Filled Vase

Red sand from a recycled craft and the natural gray along with black pebbles and a candle. This vase I etched the names of a newly married couple onto as a gift for their new home.

DIY Tealight Vase

This style I put the recycled food can in with an opening at the top so it could be used as a vase for florals or as a candle holder.

Homemade Sand Vase

It has the black, natural gray and a rose shade that I mixed up. The options are endless what you can create, go ahead and have fun is the main part! I did...perhaps too much!!! Ha-hah!

Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 22 questions
  • Barb Schmidt Barb Schmidt on Apr 26, 2016
    Beautiful, but I'd also like to know how you did the other bottle in the picture. The one that looks like it has crusty stuff on it. Could you give directions for that one too ?
  • Teresa Teresa on Jan 03, 2017
    1) How long did it take you to mix in the food colouring and how long did it take to dry? 2) Since food colourant is not stable even when dry how do you stop this from bleeding into the other sand or onto your hands when making this?
  • Leonie Long Leonie Long on Aug 25, 2018

    I joined a minute ago, so excuse my ignorance if this question has been asked, but do you have instructions for the bottle on the right?

    Cheers! Lee

Join the conversation
3 of 133 comments
  • Thanks for the great tip but I don't if I'll be making anymore.
  • Kra4765048 Kra4765048 on Jan 22, 2017
    When I was in high school we did this same project, but with Tempura(finger paint) paint. We mixed in small buckets(or plastic 1 gallon icecream buckets). Just a small amount maybe 1 tbsp. of paint per 6 cups of sand. We used a hand-mixer for proper distribution of paint. Mixer blades can be washed in a separated bucket with water while attached to mixer. Let the mixer do the work while barely submersing blade tips to rinse. Next lay sand out on newsprint at least 2 layers thick and spread out thin to dry. Next day break apart any possible clumps and transfer to dry storage containers to use at your leisure.