I needed some fine sand for basing some miniatures, instead of buying some and being far away from a beach I thought i would give getting my own a try.
Step 1: The Dirt
This is what i dug up from a particularly sandy deposit of earth, so this has about 50% mud and bits of leaves in.
Step 2: Adding Water
After adding water and shaking you can see how dirty the water gets and all the organic matter like roots, leaves and pieces of wood float to the top.
Step 3: Washing
I overflow the water to clean out the water and get rid of any detritus that floats to the top. I then put the lid back on and shake. Then repeat until the water becomes clear.
Step 4: Sieving
I put the washed sand into a sieve in small parts, then shake in a tray of water. the water makes it a lot easier to flow since its already wet. Washing the small rocks that are captured in the sieve as well.
Step 5: Drying
I drained the water simply by slowly pouring it out the tray, then bake in the oven at its lowest setting. Its important to have it below the boiling point of water and to have the oven start cold with the sand in. This is so the small rocks don't heat up too quickly and too far. Some rocks can have water trapped in them, heating fast and above 100c could cause them to explode.
Step 6: Cooling
I moved the sand around to make sure it was dry all the way through, Then let cool off before storing it in the two containers. Overall oven time was about 2 hours at 80c and cooling time of about another hour.
Quick and easy, I now have plenty of sand for basing miniatures.