Edible "Sand" Art

We go to fairs and amusement parks all of the time with the kids and they always ask to stop at those sand art booths. We must have a hundred different sand art creations in our home by now.

A few years ago, the sugar art booths starting showing up and that was the new “excitement” in our adventures.

The problem was, they were really expensive, and as a chemist I wondered if the food dyes and preservatives used in mass production,(who knows how long that sugar has been in traveling), are safe for my children.
I did some playing one summer, and came up with an easy, inexpensive alternative.
I make these for the fairs at my school, birthday parties, or when I have a group of bored kids looking for something fun to do.

Ingredients - Repeat for each color desired:
1 cup of sugar
5-10 drops of food coloring
1/2 packet of unsweetened Kool-Aid for flavor
1/4 tsp cornstarch
Fun containers


Place 1 cup of sugar into a blender or food processor along with 5-10 drops of food coloring (the more coloring, the darker the final sugar).
I pick a color that complements the flavor (yellow for lemon, blue for blue raspberry, purple for grape, etc).

Now for the fun: Fill one squirt bottle with a single flavor of sugar (we took our coupon to Michael’s and bought a set of food safe bottles).
Let them squeeze the sugar, in layers, into the container chosen.
We work outside or over a cookie sheet to make clean-up easier.

Choose a container that is fun, but small. I don’t use anything too large or the kids get a HUGE sugar rush.
We have used the sand art bottles from mail order as the vehicle to store and "squirt" the sugars as well as from kits that we had laying around (they must be clean and unused).

If you are not sure if the containers are clean, they can be washed with warm, soapy water a few days before they are to be used (make sure they are dry or the sugar will stick and clump after it is in the container).
I generally use 3-5 flavors and let them “create” a design. The best part is that when they are done, they can eat it. Then, the container can be recycled or even re-used for an actual sand art project.

Note: test tubes can be ordered from various websites that are fairly inexpensive and they look very scientific. Also, the openings are large enough that they don’t clog when the kids are eating the sugar. I have gotten them from “Shot Wizard”, where they run about $35 for 250 tubes and caps (sold separately). This place can even print on the tubes for a special occasion. I do suggest the ½ ounce to ¾ ounce size: they are plenty large enough without being too much sugar all at once.

As for amounts of sugar needed: there are 8 ounces in a cup, so 2 cups of sugar will fill just under sixteen ½ ounce tubes. When you are making the sugar, just do the math but keep in mind that this means total sugar, not per flavor. I had a friend make that mistake and she had to order more tubes just to use all of the sugar.


  1. How fun! This would be a lot of fun for my daughters bday, she's born the day after xmas so finding things that are fun enough to follow that holiday are hard. I found you on mom bloggers club. If you have a chance I'd love to have you come by and visit my site's as well.
    PS I'm now following you and I'm heading over to your other site!

  2. Too Cute!! I will be trying these for my son's 7th birthday in 3 weeks! Great Fun!
    Thanks for sharing.

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