How to Make Homemade Kinetic Sand




Introduction: How to Make Homemade Kinetic Sand

Kinetic Sand is one of the hottest toys on the market amongst kids and parents alike. It can be molded it many different shapes and it only sticks to itself. However, to get a sufficient amount of sand to play with it can become quite pricey because it generally comes in smaller quantities. So why not make it yourself for cheaper!

Step 1: Gather Ingredients


1 Large Mixing bowl

1 Large Baking Pan

1 Measuring cup

1 Measuring Table Spoon (Pictured)

1 Measuring Teaspoon (not pictured)

Dish Soap

o Does not have to be Dawn dish soap. Any brand will be fine.

1 Cup of water

Food Coloring

Powdered Corn Starch

o Liquid cornstarch will not work as well for this project

Play Sand

o Any sand will work for this project. You can get it from the beach, the park, or any local store (Walmart, Home Depot, Pet Store).

Let’s Do it!!

Step 2: Baking the Sand

For this step we will need our Play Sand and our large baking pan. Spread your sand out in the pan so that it creates a thin layer covering the entire bottom. Your sand should be no more than 1-2 inches deep. We want as much surface area possible when we put it in the oven so most of the water will evaporate out. Once it is in the pan bake your sand for approximately 30 minutes at 120◦ F. Leave the oven door cracked open as shown so air can circulate while it bakes. Next, take your sand out of the oven and let it cool for about 20 minutes. *Optional: Stir your sand every so often while baking in case your sand sticks to your pan or becomes hard.

Step 3: Measuring Sand

After the sand has been baked and cooled take your measuring cup and fill it to the brim. Then add your sand into the large mixing bowl. If you want to make more than 1 cup of kinetic sand at a time simply double or triple the amount of sand and all ingredients from here on out to keep consistent ratios.

Step 4: Measure Cornstarch

Using your table spoon, measure out your powdered corn starch and add it to the baked sand in the large mixing bowl. Corn starch can be very messy and hard to scoop accurately so do not worry if it is not exactly a table spoon. After you add the cornstarch to the sand, stir it together until you get a consistent mixture. To save time washing another spoon I used my measuring spoon to mix! Set aside this bowl for later (step 5).

Step 5: Colored Soapy Water

For this step we will need a couple ingredients! Using the measuring cup we used earlier for our sand, measure out 1 cup of water and add it to a glass cup. Then, grab your Dawn dish soap (or whatever great brand you decided on) and measure out a teaspoon and pour it into the glass of water. Mix your solution together using the same teaspoon to get all of the soap off the spoon. Next, add a few drops of your favorite food coloring to the soap and water solution. The darker the color water the more dyed your sand will be! You may also want to make sure you get a food coloring that easily dissolves in water. Again, grab your ole’ soapy spoon and mix your solution so there are no clumps of dye left floating in the water.

Step 6: Puttin' It All Together

For this step we are now going to add all of our ingredients together. Grab your bowl of sand and starch from all the way back in step 3 and your soapy colored water solution we made in step 4. You will also need ole’ soapy once again for mixing. Begin to mix your sand and corn starch together as you slowly pour the soapy colored water solution into the bowl. You want to add a little at a time so your sand does not become a wet soppy mess. This means you may or may not use all of the water. Continue to add the water and mix your sand until all the sand has been coated and is slightly damp. Break apart any large clumps that begin to form using ole’ soapy spoon. By the end of this step your sand should be a fine mixture, slightly damp, and completely colored.

Notes: As you can see my sand is a pale green and not as bright as I would like it to be. To not make the same mistake I did add more food coloring to your soap and water until it forms a really dark solution. This will increase the chances of you getting a more attractive color than I did!

Step 7: Get Your Hands in There!

For this step all you will need is your hands. After all of your ingredients have been thoroughly mixed, knead your sand with your hands as if you were kneading bread dough. Really get in there! You want to knead it until the sand does not stick all over your hands. If it does you may have added too much of the soapy colored water solution in step 5. To fix this problem you can just add a little more sand and corn starch!

Note: If you added too much of the soapy colored water solution in step 5 instead of adding more sand and starch to the mixture you can add All-purpose white flour to thicken it up. Flour may also make your sand softer to the touch and give it a less grainy feeling.

Step 8: Testing It Out!

Congratulations for making it this far! Our last step is to test our sand out. This can be done multiple ways but I tested my sand out for its ability to hold its shape and its ability to only stick strongly to itself. For this I used an everyday cup (but any shapely object will do! ex. bucket, pail, etc...) packed the sand inside tightly, turned the cup over and removed it slowly to for the dome shape you see below. I then proceeded to cut the sand with a knife to so see if it continued to stand on its own. As you can see it help up nicely!

Step 9: Have Fun!

2 People Made This Project!


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37 Discussions

This is not kinetic sand. Kinetic sand flows. This is wet sand. It crumbles when handled.

Dear Instructibles,

Have you looked at the I Made It post for this sand!!!???? Perhaps you should.

GTO3x2, kinetic sand is just the brand name for this type of moldable sand. If you are around kids, this is what they call it.

It is when you're not playing with it. It's more fluid and hold shapes better than normal sand so good for kids to play with.

Thanks for the description. I really think it was a bad choice of a name. Kine- implies motion; there is no motion. Ductile sand, to me, would have been better. Thanks for taking the time to describe it.

I tried this and unfortunately failed :( I don't know why, I think I did every steps from instructions, but my sand stuck to hands and I couldn't cut it or formed such nice ball. How long did You knead it? I did it for about 5 minutes, maybe I should did it longer?

1 reply

i had the same problem. Anyone have success with this recipe?

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing how to make this. Going to have to try it with the kids! :)

2 replies

Has anybody considered the effects of children ingesting this stuff. Personally I would not want my children playing with this.

Clean, not dirty, sand...
Food ingredients...
Things most kids come into contact with already.
I like this as a very non-toxic toy, unlike plastics and soft rubber toys which have occasionally come pre-poisoned from far away places.

Could one use this as a mold? In place of green sand?

7 replies

Not for metal, the cornstarch would burn away. And probably the detergent ingredients as well.

well that might leave a grainy casting, as long as the sand held the shape it might be interesting. But thanks for the reply.

You could always make the sand, then melt some aluminum cans down (provided your have the means to do so) and test it out. Sometimes the best method of learning is by doing. :)

I have never done casting, but I really wouldn't recommend pouring molten metal into anything that is still damp, so if you are going to make a mould make sure you bake it thoroughly.

Sometimes the best method of learning is doing, but I'm sure sometimes it is reading too.

Thanks AeroSpaceWatercraft, that's what I am considering.

This would be just an one time use so I do not think I care that the cornstarch and the detergent burned away as long as the sand held it's shape while the metal filled the mould. Of course I do not even know what green sand might cost.

If I understand you correctly, you are asking the total cost to make this green sand correct? If not, the sand is green due to the food coloring the poster used in their mixture. If you wish to purchase this from Amazon for example, it's 12 bucks. This article presumes you may have the dish soap, food coloring, and corn starch around the house, since they are fairly common items found in one's kitchen. The sand can literally be free from a nearby beach, sand from your kid's sandbox, or wherever else you can find sand. Even if you bought the soap, food coloring, and corn starch, you're only looking at 3 bucks and change at Wal Mart.

As for using it as casting sand, my guess is that the water and soap in the sand mix may come to a boil/steam and cause the soap to suds up. Which could in turn, produce a hydraulic effect that would push your molten aluminum out, or leave huge air bubbles when the metal cools down. Usually with aluminum, you can find out pretty fast. If I am wrong, and you tell me it worked just fine, then hey I learned something vicariously through you, :) Either way, I wish you the best of luck!

Usually childrens play sand is much finer than building sand or beach sand