Introduction: Sand Keepsakes Using Epoxy

What do you find at beaches? Definitely sand - and lot's of it.

This Instructable is designed to offer some inspiration in creating keepsakes for yourself or gifts to share with others when you have sand from a special beach. This is something my children and I have done with family and friends and it is always a popular activity and memento.

I want to note that it is against the law at some beaches to remove sand, so check the local regulations.


Epoxy - many brands are available for this, I used Bob Smith Industries BSI-203 Mid-Cure Epoxy. It is about $12.00 and lasts a very long time for small projects like this.


Beach theme, or ocean life charms with a concave surface ( You can design on Tinkercad to 3D print a charm if you'd like!). I find charms on Etsy and local craft stores.

Waxed thread or hemp cording




Paper plate for work surface


Coffee stirrer or craft stick

Step 1: Tinkercad Offers More Options!

If you can't find charms, or you want more options for customization, design something in Tinkercad! I made the sunglasses charm in a couple of minutes. The only thing you need to do is make sure you have a "well" that can hold the sand/epoxy mix. I have included the file of the sunglasses if you'd like a place to start. This would make an awesome keychain!

Step 2: Mix the Epoxy and Add Sand

Put on safety gloves and make sure you are in a well-ventilated area.

Use your paper plate as a mixing surface and squirt out equal amounts of the epoxy compounds on the plate. (I used about the size of a quarter of each ingredient for this project.) The epoxy has 2 different bottles of compound, that when mixed on a one-to-one ratio, make the epoxy. It does not have to be super precise. Just make sure you are set up in advance, because once you mix it, you have 15 minutes to use it before it cures, but in this application, it will become increasingly challenging to work with as you go along. I've had to mix new batches before, which is OK, because it uses such a small amount of your materials to give it another go.

Use a craft stick to mix the two ingredients together and start the chemical reaction. Then, sprinkle on some sand. Think of taking pinches and dusting the surface. You want more epoxy than sand. Then mix it all again.

Step 3: Place Your Sand/epoxy Mix Into the Charms

Using toothpicks, you can collect drops of the mix and drop into the charms. The consistency should be like honey. I used another toothpick to hold the charm in place while I gently moved around the mixture to fill the shell. The epoxy is awesome because it is self-leveling and ends with a shiny finish. Note, these charms can be unbalanced when the hollow side is up. Make sure the shell is positioned correctly so that the epoxy does not want to flow out of it. If needed you can use a toothpick to prop up the charm to make it level.

Like more texture? While the starfish charm was still tacky, I sprinkled a little sand over the top. I like how it turned out.

Although the charms harden in 15 minutes, you'll want to allow the charms to fully cure for about 3 hours before you begin to attach them. Handling too quickly can dull the shine.

Step 4: Make a Bracelet or Necklace With a Sliding Knot

Bracelets are very easy to make. For a charm with two attachment rings, this is a simple, popular style I've made many times. The cord I am using is waxed cotton cord that is 1mm thick. You can use almost any type of cord for this design, but just make sure you can fit it through the holes of the charm.

Bracelet: Cut 2 pieces of thread that are 18" long

So simple! Thread one end through the holes on each side of the charm. Bring it through half way and then tie both with a simple overhand knot. Follow one of the tutorials below to make an adjustable sliding knot.

Necklace: Cut 1 piece of thread 20" long

Thread one end through the hole of the charm. Bring it through half way and then tie both with a simple overhand knot. If you don't want it to be adjustable, just tie an overhand knot at the ends of the two threads, otherwise, follow one of the tutorials below to make an adjustable sliding knot.

Then, follow one of the two tutorials to make a sliding knot. I've done both and these folks explain it better than I could.



Of course, the charm could be attached to anything with a jump ring. (The dog? He's got a charm on his collar so he's got beach mojo even when he's not at the beach.) I've made keychains with an added personalized stamped charm with the beach name, too. Have fun!

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