Introduction: Non-Toxic Craft and Sensory "Sand"

About: I play with light

This Instructable will cover how to use craft paint and salt to make a non-toxic rainbow play or sensory "sand".

Preparing the sand is simple and easy. It takes about a half hour of prep (mixing) and at least an hour of dry-time,-but this depends on relative humidity and temperature.

I had an entirely different Instructable planned for the Colors of the Rainbow Contest. However, I was shopping for a couple of items to finish that other Instructable when I saw 1lb containers of salt for $0.25 and I couldn't pass it up. I had made sensory tubs with playground sand and thought I'd give salt a try since it's something our students would have access to, it is a low cost activity for kids stuck at home, prep is quick and easy and it really keeps kids from toddles to tweens engaged for a while.

As it turns out, the salt is much easier to paint, it requires less paint, and the final dry colors are more vibrant than playground sand.

Toddlers will love the colorful sandy fun. Let them play, dig, squeeze, scoop, and explore the texture. Older kids can make Sand Art Bottles, draw with squeeze bottles, or anything else that sparks their creativity.

I used salt containers, one for each color and one tub without color, since every time I have made these for 4-6 year old, they remind me that rainbows need white fluffy clouds. Its also a good way to sneak in a little physics lesson about the make up of white light and why and how rainbows form.


  • Salt (1 lb for each color and an extra to leave white)
  • Tupperware container ( 16 oz works well)
  • Painter's Spatula
  • Non-Toxic Craft Paint - One 2 oz container of: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet
  • Plastic Spoons or scoops (one for each color)
  • Flour Sifter


  • Funnel
  • Squeeze bottles ( one for each color)


  • Sal (1 libra para cada color Y uno extra para dejar blanco)
  • Recipiente Tupperware (16 oz funciona bien)
  • Espátula
  • Pintura escolar no tóxica: un bote de 2 oz/60ml de: rojo, anaranjado, amarillo, verde, azul, índigo y violeta
  • Tamizador de harina


  • Embudo
  • Botellas transparente (uno pa

Step 1: Place Salt in Container

  • Place the salt in the container.
  • Break up any chunks
  • Coloca la sal en el recipiente.
  • Romper los pedazos

Step 2: Add Paint

  • Take your container of non-toxic craft paint (or food coloring) and squeeze about 1/2 (1 oz or ~30ml) of paint on the salt


Tome su recipiente de pintura y exprima aproximadamente 1/2 (1 oz o ~ 30 ml) de pintura sobre la sal.

Step 3: Mix

Take your spatula and mix the paint into the salt.
Paint blobs will form, so take care to break them up by squishing them against the container with a spatula.


Toma tu espátula y mezcla la pintura con la sal.
Se formarán gotas de pintura, así que tenga cuidado de romperlas apretándolas contra el recipiente con una espátula.

Step 4: Add More Color

If you want a more vibrant color, add the other 1/2 of the paint to the salt and mix until uniform.


Si desea un color más fuerte, agregue la otra mitad de la pintura a la sal y mezcle hasta que esté uniforme.

Step 5: Repeat

Repeat steps 1-4 for each color.

Take care to wash and dry the spatula between each color.


Repita los pasos #1 a #4 para cada color.
Tenga cuidado de lavar y secar la espátula entre cada color.

Step 6: Dry

If you live in Souther California or anywhere sunny and with low humidity, just place the painted salt in a sunny spot for about an hour.


Si vive en unas de las Californias o en cualquier lugar soleado y seco, simplemente coloque la sal pintada en el sol por aproximadamente una hora.

Step 7: Breaking Up the Big Chunks

I wanted the yellow to be bright and saturated so I may have use a little more paint than necessary. As it dried, big chunks formed. If this happens to you too, simply use a flower sifter to sieve the salt.

Just drop the bits in and turn the handle back and forth. If you go all the way around salt will just fly everywhere.


Quería que el amarillo fuera brillante y saturado, por lo que es posible que haya usado mas pintura de lo que era necesario.

Step 8: Make Matching Scoops

Paint plastic spoons to make matching scoops for each color.

Add a thin coat, allow to dry and add a second coat of paint.


Pinte las cucharas para que hagan juego con la sal
Pinta una capa, deja secar y agrega una segunda capa de pintura.

Step 9: Play

For young children, place the rainbow sand in large bins and give them scoops and containers to scoop into. Use the color coordinates spoons from the previous step.

Any container will work, try muffin tins and ask them to scoop a particular color. Large silicone molds can also be fun and help toddlers develop fine motor skills.


Para los niños pequeños, coloque la arena/sal en recipientes grandes y entrégueles cucharadas y recipientes.
Cualquier recipiente funcionará, moldes para muffins son mis favoritos. Los moldes de silicon grandes también pueden ser divertidos y ayudan a los niños pequeños a desarrollar habilidades motoras finas.

Step 10: Prep Bottles

Fill small squeeze bottles with the play sand and let kids doodle with them.

Don't forget to save the mixed up salt/sand. You can use it or sensory play later.


Llene botellas pequeñas con arena y deje que los niños coloreen con ellas.

No olvide guardar la sal / arena revuelta para juego sensorialmente.

Step 11: Draw

Encourage the kids to draw and create something colorful


Anime a los niños a dibujar y crear algo con todos los colores.

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest