Magic Sand

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Introduction: Magic Sand

I'm Mike, from The Geek Pub. I'm a maker. I love to make things. from woodworking to electronic...

Magic sand is awesome stuff! It's based on hydrophobic material. It's also one of the coolest science projects you can do as a kid. I mean come on. What kid doesn't love this stuff?

Magic sand can be bought at lots of places like hobby stores and craft stores, but its super easy to make at home and you can make large batches of it for a lot less! Plenty to share with your friends!

Step 1: Watch the Video!

Before you follow along with the rest of the steps, take a minute to watch the video on making magic sand. It provides insight and additional details on making this projects.

Once your'e done, head on over to step 2!

Step 2: Acquire the Items

To make your very own awesome magic sand you're going to need several items. Most of them your probably have laying around the house.

Items List

1. A flat pan or baking dish (even a pizza pan)
2. A sheet of aluminum foil
3. Some sand
4. A can of spray Scothgard Protector

Notes:

Beach sand works fine. However, I've found that hermit crab sand from your local pet store give superior results when making magic sand,.

Be sure to acquire Scotchgard protector. The cleaner product does not work. The cans look identical, one says cleaner, one says protector.

Step 3: Cover the Pan (Optional)

Either use a pan you don't ever plan to cook with again or use aluminum foil to cover it. You don't want to mix Scotchgard with your next meal. If you don't care about the pan and don't ever plan to cook on it again, the feel free to skip this step. This is not a joke. Scotchgard will not come off the pan.

Step 4: Spread and Coat the Sand

Spread the hermit crab or other sand out over the pan. Make as thin a layer as you possibly can. The thinner the better. Then spray a good amount of Scotchgard over the sand. You want to completely saturate the sand but do not allow any of the chemical to pool. Use just enough to get it nice and damn.

Now stop and wait 15 to 20 minutes for the protector to dry completely.

Step 5: Re-spread and Re-coat the Sand

Once the first coat is completely dry, use your fingers to stir up the sand. You're going to want to try to move every grain around. Lightly shaking or vibrating the pan also works well. Then smooth everything back out into a flat surface.

Coat the sand once again, exactly as in the previous step.

You'll probably want to repeat these last two steps three to four times (three to four total coats). If you find your magic sand isn't working well, you need more coats. With hermit crab sand three to four seems to be sufficient. With something like beach sand, you may need more.

Step 6: Test It!

Before you use your magic sand, its a good idea to test it. Do this by putting just a small portion of the batch you made into a spoon, and drizzling it with water. If the sand is getting wet, you need another coat or two. If it's staying dry and the water is repelling to the edges of the spoon, you're ready to go!

If you enjoyed this project, you'll probably like my other ones too! Check me out here on Instructables and at my website The Geek Pub. Also, be sure to check me out on YouTube at YouTube.com/c/TheGeekPub.

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30 Discussions

@kirk.taylor.9659

To answer the question on chemical toxicity:

Permanent Link to this record is:
http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search2/r?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+7099

1 reply

This link references PERFLUOROOCTANESULFONIC ACID while scotchguard is made with Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid. theyare similar but one is a known carcinogen while the other is the less toxic replacement.

is there another thing or spray which works as scratch guard protector !!!

I'm sorry, but your information is incorrect. Not sure where you're reading that.

Very cool project, but I have one question: what is the safety-with-toddlers factor of the Scotch Gard? I.e., my dil is uber-careful about what her kids handle, so without knowing the potential toxicity of SG, I'd be hesitant to let my grandsons play with the stuff. Maybe the stuff for sale in toy stores is just as chemically-laden, though, who knows?!

2 replies

I wouldn't let any child who might put it in their mouth play with it.

Well, yeah, of course...but I'm thinking that even the tactile component of being exposed to that many chemicals might not be something that every parent today would appreciate. Whatever. It's a very cool project. Just maybe not for cautious types like me!

In step four you seem to have used the word damn instead of damp.

3 replies

Perfluorobutanesulfonic acid (PFBS) was substituted for the original ingredient which has been determined a Persistent Organic Pollutant. If you check the literature for (PFBS) you will find the following - "While PFBS is expected to be persistent in the environment, multiple studies indicate that PFBS is neither toxic nor bioaccumulative."

Where did you find a reliable reference to this substance being carcinogenic? Please enlighten us.

And kirk.taylor.9659 how do you know the non-toxic magic sand from the store doesn't have the same coating? And how do you know the Scotchguard is toxic? Where do you get the information that a persistent organic pollutant is indeed toxic and or carcinogenic. Maybe so, but really irresponsible for you to post when what you post may or may not be true and is in fact just your opinion. Do the research and then post. We really don't care about opinions, "just the facts, madam".

Buffalo dung was an organic pollutant, and the western moving wagon train people used it for their cooking fires. Don't know how persistent it was. But organic pollutant doesn't mean toxic. Human or animal bones are organic and pretty persistent, but not toxic.

This was a very good post. An informative post about something that is not generally known. The man didn't advocate letting children play with it, but did mention it would be a good science project. A project where it would certainly be mentioned what the true potential for toxicity would be. That being of course part of the project.

i wrote this advertisement for a product that has yet to be made. If you guys like it, you might want to make it for anyone to use it. You may tell them they are welcome to glue the poem on their bottles if they wish. I wrote it in the 5th grade as my poem for the following day. As I read it in class the kids went crazy laughing.

OOZIE GOOZIE HAIR OIL

BYREV MARVIN E PURSER, JR.

THE BEST HAIR
DRESSING EVER MADE

TRY OOZIE GOOZIE HAIR
POMAE

COMES IN YELLOW, RED
OF BLACK

GUARANTEED TO PLEASE

OR YOUR MONEY BACK.

IT WILL SHINE YOUR
SHOES

OR POLISH YOURCAR

OR TAKE THE PAINT

OFF YOUR OLD GUITAR.

IT UNSTOPS SINKS

CLEANS KITCHEN FLOORS
TOO,

MAKES YOUR OLD FALSE
TEETH

LOOK JUST LIKE NEW.

SO, IF YOUR HAIR
STICKS UP,

AND YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO,

GO DOWN TO THE
DRUGSTORE

AND BUY SOME OOZIE
GOO!