On a past trip up the coast, we stopped at this beach that had an abundance of sand dollars. At the time they were rich in color from the algae and I really loved them. I had big plans to display them. But after sitting with my craft supplies for a year, they have lost their color and turned dingy yellow. I wanted to do something different and add the bright color back into them. So I used watercolors.
Watercolors and water
Bleach water solution (optional)
I began by whitening my sand dollars with a simple bleach/water solution (1 TBS per gallon of water). Simply mist with the solution and allow to sit in the sun to dry for an afternoon. If you buy sand dollars from a gift shop or online shop, they will probably already be bright white.
They absorb color really well and you can play around to get whatever effect you want. With some I just colored the star in the center which looked nice. But since the color spreads really easily it a little difficult to keep it contained. But that’s ok because as the color spreads it reveals more of the natural texture in the sand dollar. My only real tip for painting is to use water to blend the colors and blend out any rings that may appear. They will a grey tone when wet, but that will go away as they dry.
This project is easy, fun, and super kid-friendly. It really doesn’t require much artistic ability, but I liked the way they turned out. I glued magnets to the backs of mine to use on the fridge, but they would look cute in a shadow box display or basket too.