Family Unity Sand - Custom Colours & DIY~!




I fell in love with the idea of Unity Sand!  We blended two families together when we got married this April, for a total of four kids and the two grown ups.  A new family, coming together... though the unity sand sets can be a bit pricey, plus, the extra vases, plus, purchasing the different colours of sand....

The idea is that each member of the family puts their color sand in to the vase during the wedding ceremony.  It represents the creation of something beautiful from each persons individual colours.  I love it!  And it's a lovely keepsake of the wedding!  A reminder of how each person is equally important and part of the family.

The symbolizm was important to me... but the kids were more interested in the fun part!  Coloring the sand!  It became a family project!  It's easy to color sand, and each member was able to create their own colors using food coloring!  (Which for me, added even MORE to the symbolizm!)  And I loved getting them involved in the wedding planning!

Extra Plus... buying coloured sand at the craft store is $5 each little bag.  Buying a 50lb bag of silica sand to colour at the Home Improvement store, $10!  Family Fun to make coloured sand... priceless ;)
This is entered into the Wedding DIY Contest.  Browse the entries for more great ideas... and vote for those you like!

Step 1: Gather the Materials


Bag of Silica Sand (I got mine from Home Depot. I got a 50lb bag)
Silica Sand is the best type, in my opinion, as it's nice and white.  But online I found that people also colored play sand.  I would assume it would be darker colours though.
Food Coloring (The liquid kind is what I used)
Water, bowls, Spoons, Newspaper
Glass vase (Value Village find for me! Second Hand Stores are goldmines!)
Small glass vases (Micheals Craft Store is where I found mine, Dollar Store would work too!)

Step 2: Colour the Sand

Sand takes forever to dry!!! 

Put the sand into bowls or platic containers.
Add enought water to make the sand wet.  Do not over water!!!  It takes a long time to dry!  And if you pour off the water, you pour out a lot of the food colouring.  Just make wet sand!
At this point I did not cover the table with newsprint.  Bad idea.  As the kids stirred, they spilled a bit, and as they stirred some more, damaged the table a bit because the containers pushed the spilled sand into the surface of the table. 

I put out the blue and green food colouring... the colours of my wedding.  I did make a request that so-and-so's be more green, and so-and-so's be more blue, but other than that, I let creativity reign!  They added some blue food colouring and then a bit of green, Yellow was available too, and the made their own sand colours.

Don't try to colour match to your wedding too much.. the sand really really lighten's up when dry. 

Oh, and make way more than you need... I made at least three times more than I need in each colour.

Step 3: Dry the Sand

Do this project well before the wedding!   My sand took over a week to dry!  Some people mention drying it in the oven... meh.

I found that if I laid it out on parchment paper, the paper soaked the food colour a bit.  Sitll worked, but I wanted as much pigment to stay on the sand as possible.  So, I re-dyed it... added more green.  The green came out darker, worked great!

My favorite was stirring the sand on the trays and the bowls as the sand dried... as the water evaporated, the colour rose to the top tips of the sand... very pretty, fun, and satisfying!

So I continued to stir my sand every time I came into the kitchen.  And eventually... it dried! 

Step 4: Measure Your Vessels

I measured how much sand fit in each smaller vase, and how much fit in the larger vase...  It was almost perfect!  We had add an inch more sand after the ceremony!

I practiced adding the sand using left over white sand.  I added sand to the smaller vases using a funnel made out of paper.

I found that I got a lot more sand in if I covered the top with my thumb and tapped the vase on the table to settle the sand.

If you have a smaller final vase, just put a bit less sand in each individual vase.

I did all my measuring with the white uncoloured sand.

Step 5: Practice With the Fam!

We decided, based on the colours, which order to pour the sand.  My husband was first, I was last, kids in the middle.
And since we made more than we needed, we were able to practice!
I dumped the finished practice product and saved the mixed sand for a future project!

Step 6: Get Married!

We did the sand before we did the signing of the registry.  As we filled the vase, the pastor talked about the symbolizm of the sand, and the beauty of a family joining.  We had a music video while we signed the registry! 

The youngest 5 years old, was the ring bearer and sat with my mom in the front row for the majority of the service. 

Just before the exchange of the rings, he was called forward, and was up front for the vows. 
He handed the rings to the best man.
We exchanged rings, and then we did the sand right after that... he was up there and ready.   Then we moved to the signing table, and he sat back down with my mom.  
He was up there for the most important parts!  And wasn't up and down.  I just thought that might help some other couples who were including their kids.  The older three we in the wedding party, two groomsmen and a bridesmaid, so they were up there already too.

Step 7: Use the Extra Sand...

What to do with the extra sand?  Make more sand art!  Just for fun!!!



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    10 Discussions

    Franklin Studio

    3 years ago

    While on holiday in San Francisco we came across a Boutique set up on the waterfront where you could purchase vases and then fill them yourself with a wide selection of coloured sands. It made a fun souvenir item. I'll now try your tips and make some more!


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Love this idea. I'm having a hard time finding silica sand. Could you please be more specific. No one seems to know what it is. Thank you so much in advance.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    We are getting married and also have 4 kids. I refuse to get married without incorporating the kids into the ceremony. I love the idea of the untiy sand and was looking all over the web for supplies! I'm glad I found this my kids will love making their own sand and having the exact shade of their favorite color and it will save us money. Thanks!

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! I am so glad you are able to use my discovery!

    I too really wanted to let the kids know how important they were as a part of the new family! They live with their mom, and we have them on the weekends, so some ideas were a bit too "serious" (ie, presentation of a necklace, and me saying I will love them as my own, which I will, but they have a great mom already, I didn't want to over do it!).
    And the money saving idea of silica sand... I want to proclaim it so everyone knows they don't have to spend $$ on colors that don't even look good together!!!
    Enjoy your wedding! I had a blast!

    Dream Dragon

    7 years ago on Introduction

    I've not heard of a "Sand Ceremony" before, but it seems like a nice idea. The sand should not mix as long as the jar/vase is COMPLETLY full and sealed.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Really? That sounds interesting! I looked all over for ideas. I saw that chalk powder, made from chalk and sandpaper, was used to colour salt for children's sand art at camps and daycares, etc. Interesting that powder would work so well!
    Thanks! >^,,^<


    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is a cool idea, one I've never heard of before.

    I have seen layers-of-coloured-sand-in-a-jar sold as tourist gewgaws before - how did you solve the problem of layers slowly mixing as the ornament is moved?

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    We try not to move it too much! But I think the best solution is that we added sand all the way to the top, and tapped it slightly to pack it in, and filled a bit more before putting the cork in. (This done after the ceremony, of course!) Also, next we are going to strengthen the cork closure using wax, or rubber cement.

    Thanks for the comment!