November 17, 2023

Sand Footprint Craft – Full DIY instructions!

DIY Plaster Footprints

Summer is my family’s favourite time of year – we’re very blessed to live 5mins away from many beautiful beaches. It’s not surprising to know we spend nearly every weekend during summer at the beach.

I wanted to do a beach themed craft to celebrate the amazing summer we’ve just had. I thought it would be cool to do something that could mark this particular summer and try to ‘freeze it in time’. This is what I came up with –

We have added a Video tutorial using a handprint which you can view below.


We look forward to trying some other designs in the sand – maybe some writing or paw prints would be fun :).

Please let me know if you make one…we love to hear feedback on our crafts :). Have fun!


Sand Footprint moulds – using just a Photo frame, sand, plaster of paris and some shells for extra decoration.

Exactly what you’ll need

  • an old sheet or plastic tablecloth (to protect your work surface).
  • A photo frame big enough to fit the number of prints you wish to use. (A small frame with just one print would look great too).
  • Sand
  • Plaster of Paris (you can find this at most craft & discount stores). I used a 1kg bag to do this sized frame and it cost $4.95.
  • Water for making the plaster
  • Cardboard to use to smooth the sand (we just used some from our recycling)
  • Spray on sealer
  • Glue gun
  • Sea shells for decoration

Start by covering your work surface with something to catch the sand and any drips of plaster – we used an old tarp.

Remove the cardboard backing off the frame and carefully discard the glass from the frame (this will not be needed). Place the cardboard backing over the front of the frame and flip it over – this will create a nice box that you will then fill with sand. I used a flat piece of cardboard to smooth the sand out level with where the glass used to sit (the first inside groove).

How to prep your frame.
How to prep your frame.

Carefully stamp each foot into the sand to make a nice impression – we had to re-do this part a few times with my 1 year old – he just wanted to squeeze his toes into the sand. Once I was happy with the imprints I set about mixing the plaster of paris as per the packet instructions.

Don't worry if you don't get a perfect one - you can re-smooth.
Don’t worry if you don’t get a perfect one – you can re-smooth.

Then gently and slowly pour the mixture over the sand, starting in one corner and covering the whole inside of the frame then using a piece of cardboard level the mixture GENTLY – don’t press down too firmly.

3 easy steps...
3 easy steps…

As you can see in these photos it can get a bit messy but this is the back of the frame anyway.

Leave plaster to set as per directions on packet – mine was hard after 5 hours – it was a hot and dry day though.

Once you’re sure your plaster has set you can remove the cardboard from the front, tip the frame over and dust off the excess sand. I then gave it some more drying time in the sun before spraying with a sealer. This will help glue and seal any loose sand.

Drying in the sun


I then used a glue gun to attach some tiny shells around the picture to add some extra detail. I also wrote “Summer 2013” on the back with a little blurb about all the fun things we did over the summer.

Hanging on our wall :).
Hanging on our wall :).
My little girls feet frozen in time.
My little girls feet frozen in time.

Finished plaster footprints

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325 thoughts on “Sand Footprint Craft – Full DIY instructions!

  1. This is so nice. I’m making one for my daughter for Mothers Day. My Grandsons are 7 and 3. Great give idea. Thanks…

    1. I’m going to do this with my grand kids for their Christmas presents to their parents for Christmas 2014. Thanks for the great idea.

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I used a spray called Craft Smart sealer. I bought it at my local craft shop but I’m sure hardware stores would stock something similar.
      I’m not sure it necessarily needs it for the sealing – I used it to make sure the sand would adhere properly and not keep coming off.
      I hope that helps?
      Louise x

      1. Hi Kate,
        I think any type of spray on craft sealer would work. It helps secure any loose sand grains too :).
        It is very easy once you set everything up – don’t forget to smooth the sand down nice and flat – make a good print, if you’re not happy with it just smooth the sand out and start again. It took a couple of goes to get my 1year olds prints – he kept wanting to squeeze the sand between his toes :).
        Have fun :).
        Louise x

  2. What a brilliant idea! I’m guessing that the regular acrylic spray that you buy in the paint section would work…also, I’ve used hairspray to keep glitter from getting everywhere. I wonder if in a pinch that would work instead of the sealer on this project.

  3. Such a precious idea and keepsake. We have a 7 and 2 year old. When our twins are born, this will be perfect!!! Thanks for posting!

    1. Wow! You will have your hands full! We’d LOVE for you to share a photo of it when you’ve done! Tiny twin footprints would be adorable! I’ve seen some long landscape photo frames at the cheap shops so I’m sure you’ll find a perfect match for 4 sets of feet! Jenni x

    1. Hi Jennie,
      I don’t think you will need to. Our frame is roughly, under 1cm deep – because you remove and discard the glass it won’t matter if the prints are raised out a little.
      I hope that made sense?
      Louise x

  4. I love this! I have a feeling it will be hard to do with my 17 month old. But we are a beach family also. What size frame did you use?

    1. Hi Joanna,
      I had Jenni over to help, we did all four of our kids footprints together – It was much easier to get my 14 month olds with her help.
      The frame is 26 x 34cm inside – Just depends on the size and number of children you have as to how large your frame will need to be.
      Let me know how you go :).
      Louise xx

      1. I love the idea of this we just tried it but sadly no foot prints showed after the plaster dried do you have any tips I have enough materials to try it again

      2. Hi Amber,

        Sorry to hear it didn’t work out first go. I might suggest that you maybe dampen the sand slightly…we didn’t need to with the sand we used however sand can be different in texture depending on where it’s from.

        Check that you can clearly ‘see’ the imprints in the sand before you add the plaster and be careful not to add too much pressure as you poor or spread out the plaster mixture. You could also add a little more water to the plaster to make it a bit runnier but I would e careful not to add too much in case it doesn’t set properly.

        I think the most important thing is that the impressions are deep enough that you can clearly see them as in our photos.
        I hope that helps – please let me know how you go second time around.
        Louise x

  5. Great idea! I have 2 questions:

    1.) Do you think it would help with little kids to use wet sand? I think it might make a better impression, though I imagine you would then need to let the sand dry in order for it to stick to the PoP.

    2.) Did you do anything to secure this to the frame or will it just do so naturally?



    1. Hi Matt,
      We experimented with wet sand but it kept sticking to the kids feet…I thought afterwards maybe if we put some baby powder on their feet first?
      We ended up using the dry sand, the only print that wasn’t great was my 14month olds (because he kept squishing his toes into the sand). The others turned out great.
      I’m not sure where you live but I’ve also wondered about different sand varieties – obviously they would give a different effect and may work better wet also??

      As long as the plaster spreads across the entire back of the frame (like the picture) it will adhere to the frame without the need of any glue :). We just added a picture hook to the timber at the top to hang it.

      Let me know how you go.

      Louise x

      1. Hello, we did this and our sand was a bit more coarse and you couldn’t see the details in most lightening. So we used brown eye shadow to brush around the prints and it really turned out great. It made them pop.

  6. I just found you guys yesterday and I love your ideas!!! This is so cute, I can’t wait to do this with my little ones!!!

  7. This is a great idea, in fact my Daughter is 43yrs old ,, when she was in first grade her teacher did this,only she used a paper plate nd made hand prints of the children, as a matter of fact I still have mine,its a great keepsake. Thank you for posting.

  8. I can not wait to try this….such a great idea! Do you think a matted frame would work, or am I better off sticking with a regular frame? Thank you for sharing the idea!!

    1. Hi there,

      It would look great in a matted frame, but I would be very careful not to spill plaster on it (it would be pretty hard to get out!). In saying that, we didn’t get any on the front of the frame…perhaps the advice would be ‘at your own risk’ lol! Let us know what you decide to do & perhaps send us a pic of the finished product!
      Jen & Lou

      1. I’m going to try this with the whole family (all six if us) down to new born baby.
        The sand thing looks quicker to do impression of wriggling baby feet than normal plaster of Paris methods.

        Any tips?
        Zac (keeping it mum)

      2. Hi Zac, you will definitely need two pairs of hands : ) Have someone hold the baby & the other to position the foot. You may need to do it over a few times, so I would suggest doing the baby imprint first. You could also try it whilst the bub is asleep? Hope this helps! Jenni x

  9. I LOVE this idea! Our whole family is planning a beach vacation in August this year so I am gonna buy my supplies and take them with me so we can make this keepsake together! Will make a great memory for us and the kids to all do together! I also thought about just using some old junk frames I have and finding my sea shells when I get to the beach and using the hot glue gun to attach them all over frame to cover it completely with shells. Oh, I just can’t wait to make this! I have a 19 month old daughter and my sister has a 2 yr old son and 7 month old daughter so we’re gonna have our work cut out for us! I will let you know how it goes and send you a pic. Thank-you so much for such a great idea!

  10. So, I just flipped mine over and it fell apart! Any ideas what I did wrong? I was hoping to give this to my hubby tomorrow πŸ™

    1. Hi Jenn,
      When you say it fell apart – did it crack or did it not stay inside the frame?
      Without seeing it I would maybe suggest – checking the plaster was the correct mix ratio? You also need to make sure that the plaster is spread all the way across the back and meets all inside edges of the frame. Sorry, wish I could be more help. Feel free to email us a pic if that will help too? [email protected].
      Louise x

  11. We will be making this for daddy tomorrow while he is at work! Thank you for sharing this awesome idea!

  12. I’m confused alittle by this, does the cardboard go inside the frame or on the outside and you just sit the frame on top of the cardboard :S and how deep does the sand go inside the frame? also if you cardboard sits underneath the sand then how do the foot prints bubble up?

    1. Hi Meg,

      Sorry my instructions have confused you – I sometimes confuse myself lol.

      The cardboard goes on the outside of the front of the frame…it acts as a seal to stop all the sand escaping.

      We filled the sand to just above the ‘lip’ where the glass used to sit. The sand was probably 1cm deep (we made sure we didn’t press the feet all the way to the bottom).

      Make sure the plaster goes all the way to the sides of the frame when you fill it – that will secure it when you gently tip it over. Don’t tip it until its completely dry.

      I hope that has made it easier? Like I said- I sometimes confuse myself ;).

      Louise x

  13. I am wondering how thick the sand was that your kiddos pressed their feet into. I did this project with my kids yesterday and at first couldn’t see their impressions much at all so I added a bit more sand and tried again (I didn wonder about using wet/damp sand). Just checked the finished project today and they did NOT turn out at all. The sand just fell right out. I can’t imagine what else could have gone wrong but it isn’t like the entire back of the frame was full of sand either. Your pictures look so wonderful and I fell in love with the project when I seen it but had no luck…any words of wisdom?

    1. Hi Jamiee,
      We are sorry to hear you’ve been having a hard time with the impressions – we had success first go – but we did try two types of sand before we got a good ‘impression’.
      We tested both damp and dry sand and had the best imprint with the dry sand HOWEVER I think there is probably a difference of you are using really fine sand? All sands are slightly different – I think if the sand was very fine it might need to be slightly damp?
      You will need to ‘see’ an imprint before you poor the plaster in – so try a damper sand perhaps until you can see the impressions.
      Feel free to email us if you have any further Q’s at [email protected].
      Louise x

  14. I am excited to try this tomorrow…we brought home sand from our beach vacation…so if it works, it will be extra special!

    1. That sounds wonderful :). I’m sure you’ll find it’s quite easy to reproduce.
      Please let us know how it goes and feel free to send us some photos of the finished frame :).
      Louise x

  15. I’m going to surprise my babies with a trip to the beach in Sep. I think we’ll do this when we come home. It will be beautiful hanging beside pictures of them on the beach. Thank you!

  16. I am going to try this this weekend but would like to add either a name or date under the prints. At the risk of sounding stupid πŸ™‚ I will have to write it backwards so it reads correctly when done right?

    1. Yes, you will need to ‘mirror’ the writting. Maybe write it on some baking paper then turn it over as a guide?

      Sounds like a great idea! We would love to see some photos of your finished frame too :).
      Louise x

    2. Hi Jenn,
      Do you mind me asking where you found the link for this craft? We have had a lot of views today from an unkown Facebook page – we would love to thank them for sharing it :).
      Louise x

      1. You’re welcome :).
        Thank you, what a great page they have – great to see so many of their followers have liked and shared the craft too :). Thanks again.
        Louise x

    1. Hi Janette,
      A layer of sand dries into the plaster so it doesn’t rub off when you turn it over -we then used a spray sealer for a final coat to make it set hard.
      Hope that answers your Q?
      Louise x

  17. This is Awsome I’m gonna do this with the ladies from our Church on our arts & craft day ….I can’t wait I’m happi to learn new stuff to teach them all praise GOD …..thanku for sharing them will all LOVE doin this for them self …….

  18. Would it be possible to rub off at least most of the sand from the plaster? This tutorial is going to be super helpful for a project I’m doing, Thanks a lot!

  19. I don’t know why you’re claiming you did this. Like the woman asked about above:the sand is level with the cardboard , and there would have to be no cardboard there for the footprint to be convex (sticking out). The only result anyone is going to get is a flat wall of sand because the cardboard is there. How would the footprint be able to press beyond the cardboard? I feel bad for the people thinking this is a cool idea and it’s impossible, at least the way you’re claiming you did it. For those who like this idea, it’s not as cool, but you could do something similar, although reversed, by doing the footprints and then pouring clear sealing over it so you’d at least have the footprints.

    1. Hi Carla,

      I can assure you we DID do this and those footprints are those of OUR kids.

      I’m so sorry you are struggling with the instructions – we’ve had many emails from Mums who have done it with great success.

      I’m planing on doing another one this afternoon with a handprint. I’m going to film it and post a video of me doing it so you can understand the process fully.

      FYI – if we say we did something – we did.


    2. Carla, u can ignore the cardboard (its just to stop sand seeping out of the frame when ur putting ur feet in)… u put the foot in then fill the print with plaster.. when u r finished and the plaster is set, the excess sand falls away and u are left with sand stuck to the plaster, which DOES leave the footprint… Please try something before u abuse someone… What u said is not fair or right…
      It does work…

  20. Hi. I was wondering what type of sand you used? I tried it with regular sand box sand but the foot prints didn’t shape enough I knew they wouldn’t turn out. The sand seemed too thick wet as well. I thought maybe silica sand also known as volley ball sand maybe??

    1. We used some sand from the hardware store – it looked like regular fine beach sand, similar to what would be in a sandpit or sand box.

      I have also used a crushed gravel type of sand (like the one in the UTube clip in this post)… I found the original finer sand worked the best.

      Our sand was dry – we did try to wet it but the best prints came from the dry sand.

      I hope the different sand gives you a good footprint impression – let me know how you go :).

      Louise x

  21. Hello, I just tried this with my kids with sand from our beach vacation to Myrtle Beach. I was just wondering if you could help in anyway because I got the impression but the sand is all wet now and doesn’t look like yours where yours is dry and the sand stuck all over. I did have to scrape a lot of sand off to even find the impression. Am I adding too much sand? or I know you said that you let yours stand for hours before scraping the excess sand off and I am using the same plaster as you but, our package said it would set in 30 minutes, should I try to do the 30 minutes then scraping the sand off and see what happens? My sons impression was great except the wet sand part. but my daughters was even impossible to see (granted she is 11 months and is very wiggly) But thank you for your advice and this project! Love the idea!

    1. Hi Allison,

      Was the sand wet to start with? Or does it just need longer to dry out in the sun? The sand and plaster should completely dry if left in the sun for long enough. I don’t think you could use too much sand – the plaster will only cement to the top layer anyway.

      Our sand was dry to start with and I left the plaster for a long time because I wanted to be sure it was fully set.

      It sounds like you’re doing everything correctly. The only advise I would give would be to try with the sand fully dry and make sure you can see the imprint well before pouring in the plaster.

      Have you watched this Utube clip? It is me doing a handprint one – done the same way but using crushed gravel.

      More than happy to help if you have any further Q’s :).

      Louise x

      1. Hello! That’s all it was! I was being impatient and needed the sand to dry! They look great now! I redid my daughters and it turned out amazing! Thank you so much again!

      2. Hi Allison,
        That’s wonderful news!
        We would love to see & share a photo of your finished prints…if you want to share them? You could email us a pic to [email protected] or post a pic on our Facebook wall?
        No problem if you don’t want to ;).
        So happy that they turned out well for you :).
        Louise x

      3. I just sent a picture. Once I get more I will email you! Thanks again for this project it’s been amazing!

  22. I’m so excited to try this! My son just turned a month old today and I’ve been looking for a unique way to save his footprints. This is amazing and it gives me a wonderful idea for gifts for his grandparents. Thanks so much again!!!

    1. First of all, congratulations on your new little bundle! It’s such a special time (hope you are getting enough sleep ; ) So glad you like this craft! The Grandparents will love it! We’d love for you to send us some photos! Jenni x

  23. I really love this project. I first used sandbox sand, which made the impressions stand out, but looked rather “dirty”. Then I used Michigan beach sand – the impressions are lighter, but “sandier”. I definitely had to use wet/damp sand and then let it dry. When I first made the plaster, adding the water to the plaster, I got lots of clumps while stirring. It was better when I added the plaster to the water. After it dried, I used a brush to wipe off the excess sand and find the footprints, probably because I used wet sand and the bottom layers of sand were still damp and clumpy.

    Thanks so much for this great end-of-summer project! Your youtube clip was very helpful.

  24. I just did this with my 2.5 year old and my 2 month old, it was so much fun! It took a couple goes to get the footprints because both kids wanted to squeeze their toes haha. For anyone interested we used an 11×14″ frame, dry brown sand from the kids crafts section of Michael and plain plaster of paris. We found it worked best to have the kids sit at the edge of the frame and then we lifted each foot and pressed it into the sand. I’m sure older kids could do it themselves though. I will post a picture when I figure out how πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for sharing this simple, adorable idea!

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thank you so much for providing this extra information – especially for our USA Fun Mums who want to try it :).
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this craft with your kids – I love the thought of all these tiny feet around the world being frozen in time :).
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and we would LOVE to see some finished photos!
      Louise xx

  25. Hi i need a little help with this. i followed ur tutorial on youtube and the print is perfect but the sand seems to be never-ending falling away from around the frame. is there a way to stop this from happening i tried sealing it but more just blew out and over the frame???

    1. Hi Holly, we just gave ours a good ‘brush’ to remove any extra loose sand. We found the sealer held it together after that. Maybe try to remove as much loose sand and then re-spray again? I gave it a very good coat ;).
      Louise x

  26. Hi, i just did this today with my kids i just flipped it over as the plaster was dry but as i flipped it the sand was all damp/wet and sticky most of it not even falling off but when i did it the sand was dry as it could be. i have left it to let the sand dry before removing any sand just incase a layer does not stick to the plaster.
    do you think it will still turn out? i did this inside is it possible the sand dampened from being in a room with door shut no air getting to it? i hope it works out as it was very very hard for me to get my 11 month old sons foot print. fingers crossed..

  27. I have footprints when I was 18 months old in cement at my parents home (55 years ago) that I want to preserve. I’ve tried clay, didn’t work. Do you think it might work to use a small bit of sand and then the plaster of paris to see if that will get the prints? Not sure how I would raise the plaster of paris up once it’s dry though. My mother just passed and my dad is sold the house. Really would like to get those footprints! Thanks!!

    1. Wow, that’s amazing that they are still there. What a wonderful treasure! I am so sorry, but I have never done anything like this & don’t want to give advice on something so precious. Perhaps your local hardware store may be able to offer some advice? We’d love to hear how you get on : ) Jenni x

    2. Nanay, when I was at school we used polyfilla expanding foam to take impressions of objects for a project. Perhaps that would work for preserving those foot prints?

    3. Hi
      Carefully remove any dust with a brush then spread a thin layer of Vaseline over the entire print and surrounding surface – use an earbud to get into all the little bits – this step is vary important. Use some sort of frame around the print area to keep the plaster of paris spreading and also so that you can lift it easily. Make the pop as per the instructions on the box and pour it slowly into the prints and frame- pour slowly to avoid air bubbles. Wait for it to dry completely and then lift carefully. The Vaseline will wipe off the pop. Good luck!

  28. I enjoyed reading all the comments & questions today (17 Jan 2014). It reminded me of my first grandchild’s handprints on a piece of paper with the verse “Children Are a Gift of the Lord” Psalm 127:3, done in May 2002. He was 4 years old. The 8 x 10 frame was painted gold satin; I will always treasure it.
    His fingers are about 1-1/2″ shorter than mine. He is now nearly 17, stands 6’6″ tall, weighs about 220-230, wears a size 3 XL, size 16 shoes, and 40 “/32” jeans. My grandson is Still Growing. Who knew?

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  30. Hello, I was wondering after it is complete what can you use to write on the front? I am having a hard time trying to find something to write the year and country we lived in at the time (where the sand came from). Thanks.

  31. I can not express how amazingly challenged Some of you are. Let me see if i can help….

    Get a picture frame, ( Needs to have a small side(Lip) to it, nothing flat) remove all cardboard, paper and glass from the frame.
    Flip the frame so it is laying on a workable surface, face up.
    Due to this project being footprints, you likely want your work area to be the floor.
    Once the frame is face up in front of you lay the cardboard that came with the frame ( Using what we have) or make a new cardboard cover to cover the hole in the frame. Once covered, gently covered turn frame over.
    You now have floor, cardboard, frame that is upside down.
    Without moving carefully fill frame with1/4 To 1/2 inch of sand.
    Firmly press feet into sand, if you do not like the sand print, brush over it and try again.
    Once you have desired prints mix plaster according to directions.
    Starting at a corner pour slowly and gently until the entire frame is full of plaster.
    Dry per instructions.
    Once dry turn over frame, it should pop out of frame but maybe not,
    Brush off excess sand, when you do this a thin layer of sand will be stuck to the plaster giving the illusion it is made entirely of sand , and the pribts will be Raised!!!!
    Spray with sealer, pollyeurathane works well.
    Tada, RAISED foitpribts in the sand.

  32. I just made this using my 11week old by myself. It turned out fantastic, thankyou so much for creating and sharing this. The only really frustrating part was getting him to not curl his toes or squeeze it with his hands. Just some tips for people, I found that if you do the print in dry sand then spray the sand with some water helps it to bind with the plaster, when mixing the plaster make sure you pore it as soon as possible that way the sand will stick better and also if your crazy like me and want to attempt this with a new born it is better to make a model first using another diy project on this page called baby keepsakes after you have made the model use some modelling clay to make an impression from the model then it is as easy as using the modelling clay to make the imprint in the sand. I know it sounds like alot more work but trust me it will save you alot of time and you can make other projects from the modelling clay cast like painting without having the worry or mess of painting your childs hand.

  33. I love this. Going to make some as gifts for the grandparents too. Can I ask what sealer you used? X

  34. I can’t wait to try and make this. My parents are coming to visit the end of the month and they both have birthdays this month, with them living 18 hours away and us living at the beach this is going to be an awesome keepsake from their grandchildren. It should be interesting though making one with five boys ages 7 months, 2, 8, 9, & 11 though:)

  35. These look like such a great idea πŸ™‚ I am going to try it this weekend with my partners kids. Nanna’s birthday is coming up too, so i think she will love it…

  36. Absolutely love this! When we go to the beach we always make a sandprint with all the family’s feet within a heart shape and scribble in the date and location. This is SO much more fun!

    1. So glad you like it! Just be sure to ‘mirror’ any writing so it comes out the correct way :). Louise xx

  37. So sad tried this 3times and it wouldn’t work they came out where you could barely see the footprint πŸ™

  38. The Youtube video was quite helpful I wasn’t grasping the concept too well but that helped a BUNCH!! can’t wait to try this with my son!!

      1. I just had to say thank you for this idea!
        I never understood how people got the bottom of the foot print to look like that!
        That is really amazing!
        My family took a vac. to Florida and we all did our footprints in the sand and then took a pic, this will go great with that!
        Thanks again

    1. Love this. Good job. Will try it. And if you don’t mind I will post on my web site and give you full credit of course! Thank you so much for your craftiness . Sharon at

    1. Hi Kapil, you can get this from most craft stores…it comes in an aerosol can & helps to protect craft projects : ) Jenni

  39. It would be really cute to write the year/beach in with the feet. You’d write it backwards for it to come out right.

  40. Would the sand eventually fall out of the frame? Could you put the glass in to keep it all in as I would like to post this once made and thought it would protect it a little more.

    1. Hi Kerrie, If the glass will fit back on that would be fine. Ours wasn’t deep enough for it to go back in place. Louise x

  41. Did this today and could not get a good print at all. Is there a trick do get it like yours.

  42. I can’t find the spray sealer in any stores I have tried, Canadian tire Walmart and home hardware.. Can you use hairspray as an alternative? Haha

    1. Hi Becky, I think Hair Spray might be a bit sticky? Have you tried a craft store like Michaels? Louise x

  43. I am wondering if you could do this with dirt? We don’t go to the beach (live too far away), but we are always in the mountains, so it would be more fitting with our family to use dirt. Or I will just buy some sand.

    1. Hi Michelle, as long as you use ‘loose’ dirt that you can get a footprint into it should work fine :). We would love to see a photo when you try it :). Louise x

    2. I’m not sure if this would work, but I’ve seen lately a product you can buy. It’s sand that you can mold into anything you like (sand castles, etc) and the sand stays all together without making any mess. It says you can use it over and over and it doesn’t dry out. Seems to me it might make a better print and once you seal it, it should look like this project does. I believe it comes in a few different colors but of course it comes in a sand color. I don’t get to the beach very often either so I’m gonna try this stuff with my granddaughters.

  44. Going to try this this afternoon with my sister and use my son and neice’s footprints to give their grandpa on Father’s Day for his beach house! So excited to try!

  45. Do you know how much sand you used? I’m using an 8×10 frame. Just wondering how much I need to buy. Thanks!

  46. It would be nice to make a few at one time & give as gifts at Christmas time. Give to mamas, aunt, daddy’s, uncles, grandparents ect. These you could make ahead of time like months ahead & not worry bout last minute christmas shopping for those certain people. Make Christmas shopping a little easier.

  47. I added a little bit of water to the sand to get the impression to stay in place when I was pouring the plaster over it, Thank you for this awesome idea and was a great birthday present for my mum πŸ™‚

  48. If you’re making more than one, get your Plaster Paris from Home Depot or Lowe’s. MUCH cheaper when you buy it in a big bag there.

  49. i followed your instructions and it came out fine.i also used brown decorative gravel mixed in with the sand and it turned out the next day everything was dried….unfortunately i tried to help my friends two sons do one for their father and the sand crumbled and the plaster wouldnt dry. i think since they used water for theirs they might have used too much water.

  50. Baby #4 is due in September. We may have to do these for Grandmas and Daddy for Christmas!! Some shells glued to the frame would be cute as well

  51. Hi,
    I’m living on the sea and i would like to try this but in my country i can’t find plaster of paris. Can i use something else to do this. I am from Croatia.

  52. I tried doing this with the two kiddos I watch for their moms birthday and I couldn’t get their footprints to stay. How can I get the prints to stay?

  53. I see that one of the finished projects the foot prints were risen and in another they were set in, like actual foot prints. I would like to do one where it looks like its actual foot prints in the sand how did you do that?

  54. Idea for y’all, buy a shadow box frame 1 size bigger than picture frame used for footprint, then you can put small things (shells, starfish, old wood/sticks) inside with some sand at the bottom, to give it a more decorative 3d effect… Can’t wait to finish mine, thanks for the idea!

  55. What I’m trying to figure out is if you’re doing this from the back of the frame and that’s where you are pouring the plaster, what keeps the sand in the front from falling apart before you sesl it, when you go to flip it over and seal it?

  56. Mine didn’t come out at all once I flipped over don’t understand followed everything took me over hour to get footprints right too is there a trick I’m so very upset please help

    1. Mine as well redone with thicker plaster as for prints I wet sand then had kids do prints it helped stabilize sand long enough I also let dry overnight as its cold and rainy the days I did it…..

      1. My son coincidentally hates sand. I bought everything to do this on Friday and as we went to the beach on Saturday I realized how bad of an idea it turned out to be, but we tried anyways! I can’t get good prints to save my life though. Could it be that the sand isn’t deep enough or should I try dampening the sand?

      1. This project honestly brought me to tears. first of all there is no specification on how deep the frame needs to be, that might help. second, as I see now from the comments(which i should have read before) this project obviously doesn’t have a huge success rate. So I think that you guys are not mentioning something on here that is important. I really was excited for this and read the instructions problem 40 times. I tried redoing it 3 times. I’m feed up, and upset. thanks a lot.

    1. The plaster that you pour in will be the item that’s framed because the plaster hardens down into the feet crevices. So when you flip it over it pops out at you as you wipe away the extra sand that didn’t stick to the plaster

  57. I am having issues getting my plaster of paris to a runny texture like yours. It is more like sour cream, thus it has to be spread by hand and causes the sand to shift. I tried adding more water, but still never got runny like yours, just kept looking like more and more of it. Can you tell me what brand plaster you used and is there a trick to getting it that texture? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie, The brand we used was ‘The Craft Warehouse’ in Australia. We mixed it per the packet instructions. Maybe your local craft store could give you some advice on a alternative brand to try? Sorry you are having issues.
      Louise x

    2. There are 2 things can change the consistency of plaster. 1 how much water you add and 2 how much you stir it. If you stir it to much it will thicken very quickly.

  58. So I did it using plaster of Paris and it dried took fast and I didn’t mix enough so I had to keep going back and mixing more..but since its dry can I flip it or should I wait? I’m scared to ruin it

  59. Hi…we LOVE the sand and bring some back from all our travels I really want to do this….what is the”sealer”?
    Thank you!

  60. I’m a grandma ,want to try this with my 5 yr old grandson,I have shadow boxes to use for frames hope they work.

  61. I tried to on a large scale. My two sons and me, when I flipped it, the plaster cracked. Was so disappointed. I guess I’ll have to do each of our feet separate.

  62. I was really excited to do this, but never got past the first step. The kids’ footprints didn’t even look good in the sand, so we didn’t bother moving forward with the plaster. I tried smoothing the sand, misting it with a little water, but still no luck. Cool concept for the crafty… I must not be that.

    1. Try having the sand damp so the footprint is crisp- just like at the beach footprints are clear when the sand is damp. I did this with a class of 6year olds but we used a dry starfish instead of a footprint then partially buried shells so they stayed in the plaster of Paris. It turned out beautifully!

    2. Try mixing the sand with vegetable oil to help stabilize the sand for imprinting. One cup oil to 10 cups sand. I saw that tip for a different plaster sand imprint craft.

  63. Mine turned out great! Thanks for sharing the how to with this awesome idea! Did 2 while at the obx, one for me and my mom since we vacationed with Nan πŸ™‚ collected lots of shells, will add a few! Next plan to try a larger one with the whole family including 2 dogs prints. Lol was glad my 8 month old cooperated somewhat to make this beautiful keepsake!

    1. Hi Melissa, That is so great to hear! Are you on Facebook? We would love to share some pictures of your creations with our readers? You can message our facebook page directly here if you wish - :).
      Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know!
      Louise x

    2. I am wondering what kind and brand of plaster you used? Also, what mixing ratio? I really want to try this again, but want to make sure it will go as planned this time.

  64. Can you tell me where to find the sand foot prints on your Pintrest site. ? You have too many for me to go thru all of them. It’s a wonderful page but don’t have time to do them all. TIA, Carol

  65. You should be able to fix minor imperfections and to repair cracks, etc, by using Elmer’s glue and sprinkling sand on top before it dries. The glue dries clear.

    1. I tried this and ruined my piece. The glue idea is great, but the sand turns wet and dries that way. Now I have dark wet looking spots. It looks very ugly. I have scraped as much as I can off the art , filled in the groves with just elders glue, and when it dries I need to figure out how to cover the dark spots with dry sand with that happening again. I am thinking spray glue.

  66. What a beautiful idea! My husband and I would like to do this with our son as a gift for a family member, did you just use sand from the beach you went to? We live in the Northwest and are within driving distance to a beach, what kind of sand might we be able to use and do you have any suggestions as to where to purchase it?

    1. Hi Elizabeth, you can use both beach sand or sand that can be purchased at most craft stores. Good luck with your project!

  67. Hi, I was wondering what kind of spray on sealer you used because we can not find any in the stores. I thought about substituting a very strong hair spray instead if we didnt find the sealer. Do you think this would work or would it ruin the prints?

    1. I would more so recommend a clear spray paint? I think hair spray would be too sticky and might not seal the sand? Have you tried looking in a hardware store? Louise x

    2. Clear spray paint works awesome!! I’ve used it to seal n the paint on our painted rocks we did from our vacation. The rocks stayed beautiful all year!! Just have to occasionally add another coat, depending on where you keep the finished project. Cheapest to buy at a hardware store vs a craft store

    3. I got spray sealer from Walmart for mine; cheaper than the craft store. Good luck–I was ready to pull my hair out leveling the sand each time my 1 year old kicked it lol

  68. This is a great idea! I can remember doing something similar as a child with my Mom, only at the beach we made pictures in the sand with sticks and stones and things and then my Mom poured the plaster over them, at the end of the day we dug the out of the sand and took them home. I wish we had thought of doing our footprints.

  69. I was wondering what size frame did you use for the foot prints? The frame I would like to use is 8.5in x 11in, so I’m trying to figure out how much plaster I need.

  70. I did this technique a few years ago on a wolf print I came across while in Canada. The print was in the mud so i didn’t have quite the sand affect as you have. I put my print in a shadow box and have it hanging on my wall. It’s a great project.
    Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Judy,

      That’s sounds like such a cool project! I look forward to visiting Canada one day! Louise x

  71. When I mixed the plaster I used a gallon sized ziplock type bag. It made for a mess free solution and I just clipped the one corner to get it into the frame! Super easy and no mess at all (just make sure you get the air out before fully closing)

  72. Ours has been a disappointing and now expensive fail! Plaster of Paris (now 3 different times) never comes out runny – won’t pour. Various ratios tried. Fathers 70th bday present sadly unobtainable. Deflated!!!

      1. Thank u for the information! What size frame do u usually use and does it mater how deep the frame is?

  73. i have tried this three times and no luck. I wanted to send this to my mom for Mother’s Day. I’m very frustrated:( is there anyone that can help me. When I put the kids feet in the sand the print barley shows up. Idk why. Please help thank you πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Dev,
        We’ve tried both and found dry was best. Other people have said theirs worked with wet, I think it depends on the texture of the sand? Louise

  74. It worked for me! I tried to post a pic of it but it won’t let me. I bought a folding picture frame so I could put a picture with it. I did it with my 3mo old. When I sprayed the sealer on it melted the paint off the frame. Next time I’m going to cover the frame before sealing.

    1. That’s wonderful Valerie! Strange that the sealer reacted to the paint though. Louise x

  75. this is the coolest thing ever! my sister is redoing her bathroom. and i wonted to make her something. and this is perfact. love it. thanks carol

  76. I am very exited to try this with my son, as a gift for father’s day. I was wondering if it glass could be left on? this might be a dumb question, but I’m more of a visual person.

    1. Hi Sonya, you might be able to leave the glass on if its a really deep shadow frame. I had to remove ours so their was enough depth of sand to make the imprints.

      Louise x

  77. I see that multiple people ate having issues and there questions are not really being answered, yet you took the time to thank all the others that had good results or like the idea. Seems you would take the same time out to help those needing help….

    1. We’re sorry if you are having issues Kris, if you could perhaps tell us what they are, we can assist. We did a video to help those such as yourself – have you watched it yet? Jen x

  78. This is happening right now! Anxious about the results….
    I made sand playdough with our own beach sand (foot prints looked perfect in the sand) Not sure if the sand will stick to the plaster…. Found a frame on clearce at a craft store that fits all four pairs of feet πŸ™‚ Plaster of Paris worked fine so far…I just used a wisk to mix thoroughly. No matter what the kids and I have enjoyed the days project πŸ™‚

  79. Ooh boy now I’m nervous this is my father’s day present to my son, I’m on a fixed income and just purchased everything to do with my 4 yr old gbaby tonight, if this fails I’m out of a present BUT I didn’t purchase a thick frame price reasons I’m praying this will be my saving grace please please keep us in your prayers, father’s day is so important to him as because he don’t hardly see his child so please please pray, God knows I’m not a crafty person

    1. It will fall out or be stuck to the back?? Depending where you placed the cardboard? Louise x

  80. This is the first time I have ever commented on something but I felt like this one needed one. First of all this does work for the ones who said it didnt. It took me three tries before I got the one I was happy with but I didn’t expect to get perfection on my first try with this being something I have never done before. I can say that it worked best when I had a thicker layer of sand. The first two times I didn’t have as much and the prints didn’t get very deep. And I also used a spray bottle and misted the sand then stirred it up. That way the prints held better. This year was the first year for 2 of my 3 children to ever see the beach so I did all 3 kids prints in the sand now we will have their little feet in the sand to look at forever.

    1. Hello Natasha, thank you for your comment! We are so happy you were able to capture their footprints :). Louise x

  81. Hi! I absolutely LOVE this idea! Last year I tried to take a picture of all my kids footprints in the sand but I couldn’t get the lighting to show right…. is there a way to do this so the footprints are the original way they look in the sand instead of seeing the other side?

  82. I tried it once with decor sand from the craft store, because I wanted to try it with a specific color, and it was too difficult to get the prints with my kids, without them ruining them. I also didn’t quite think it through and tried to put a couple shells in the sand under the plaster, but that didn’t work too well. Then I tried again with regular sand. I noticed that someone mentioned their plaster was too clumpy, I used a kitchen wisk to stir it the second time, and it seemed to help a lot. The second turned out as good as it could be with the prints I was able to get from my 2 year old. The frame doesn’t have to be deep. The deeper the frame, the more plaster you need. Almost all the sand will come off, because you are really just getting a thin layer of sand that sticks to the plaster. Then I hot glued a few shells as well. Thank you for the idea. It was a great birthday gift for my mom from the grandkids.

  83. thank you NATASHA for sharing the how and what you did for it to actually work, there has been so many comments above of people asking for help and any advise on the what might have gone wrong to their project and no replies what so ever from paigingfunmums, only one where she mentions a video but WHERE CAN WE FIND THAT VIDEO!? sorry but you seem to reply to the people who had success, how or why can’t you reply to the ones who need help. It does looks like a great project but maybe some of us are not to good with the arts and crafts parts and a bit of guidance can help .
    thank you tho for the idea

  84. i am wondering if you put the plaster in first and then the sand on top and then make the print what would happen.

    1. I’m not sure how old your question is, and I’m guessing the idea is so you can get an actual impression, rather than a bas-relief. However, you would likely have to leave the feet in there (caked in Vaseline) until the plaster of Paris sets to get an imprint, and feet being the way they are, you won’t get a clean impression. The way the tutorial is set up, the sand acts as a mould for the plaster.

  85. I am trying my 3rd time today… I did a large frame and didn’t know exactly how much plaster to mix I mixed 3 4lb packs and one pack turned out to thick and looks bad. Next time I mixed plaster and it seemed to runny thought maybe put to much water… Drove 2 blocks ran an got another pack by the time got back it turned thick and was hard to spread everywhere… Today is my 3rd try! I really hope it turns out I want a nice keepsake of my 4 kiddos.

  86. I’m so excited to of found this. We brought sand back from California when we took our daughter to meet her great grandpa for the first and last time and this is the perfect thing to treasure the trip.

  87. This is a great Idea Im going to try it for christmas gifts for parents and grandparents, for the kids I Nanny for. I hope it turns out.

  88. Okay I tried these today.. Epic Fail… The sand i picked was way to fine.. Going to try and find better sand tomorrow. Anyone have any suggestions and where to get it. I have limited resources for stores. Live in small town…

  89. I have tried this 6 times now and for some reason none of my sand wants to stay showing all plaster basically is there something i can use to glue the sand on :/… not sure what i am doing wrong. Any ideas please let me no product names for adhesives. Helppppppp!!!

    1. I am having the same issue!! however I just used Modge podge (PVA glue would work too I guess!) and covered the plaster with it and sprinkled the dry sand over it!

      Ta Dar!

  90. I went to a small town craft fair when my daughter was very small they did this project in a tote they pressed my daughters feet into the sand then did the plaster and aroud that they made an ovel around the footorints and mine was a keepsake that and sat on the coffee table there was no frame so it was an oval and her feet prints were raised up with sand on top of them I had it for many many years until it broke in a move for people who are asking the sand was damp where we had it done it must have not taken long to dry because we took it home that day they used regular beach sand from the beach in west palm beach fl thats all i know to help anyone good luck to everybody I am going to try and do my boyfriends beloved dogs prints this same way in the next day or so I will let you know I do know that I will be using sand from the beach here in port st lucie

  91. If you are buying sand, what would you recommend? I bought sand box sand from the closest home improvement store and it didn’t work out well at all. Looking for suggestions for other sand to try (since I don’t live close to a beach).

    1. Hi Beth, We’ve used decorative sand from craft stores and florists before. Perhaps a larger grain? I hope that helps. Louise x

  92. Hi you mentioned something about the spray at the end. What kind of spray?? I planning to do the project with my little one πŸ™‚

    1. Any clear sealant will do the trick. Maybe ask at your local hardware or craft store.

      Have fun.
      Lou x

      1. we just looked for sealant for another project at the big box hardware store; they sent us to the craft store

  93. About how much sand do you think I would need for an 11×14 frame meant for two sets of prints?

  94. Just tried this today for a Fathers Day gift – another Epic Fail. I probably did everything wrong, but I followed instructions as much as possible. I had the cardboard underneath everything, over the front of the frame, filled with sand (pool sand was all i could find?), kids footprints looked great. Then the plaster – this is the bad part.. I couldnt find “plaster of paris” so i used another brand, and tried mixing per instructions. I’ve never really used plaster before, but it looked runny. When pouring the plaster it poured into the sand and made “rivers” and holes – i could tell right away that it ruined the footprints.. After drying the front was just a rectangle with holes plastered to the frame…. Also, the cardboard plastered to the sand and broke off in pieces when removing. Help, anyone? I’d like to try again even though the gift is ruined…

    1. What a bummer! Plater of Paris isn’t a brand, it is a plaster type. There are many plasters used in construction, but plaster of Paris is mainly for crafts, so it’s properties are important to have for this and many projects. Once the plaster stays above the sand, the other issues should go away as well. Good luck!

  95. I love this idea, but am also having a couple of issues. I’ve tried it twice and both times, some of the Plaster of Paris got on the front of my frame. Also, when I poured it, I there were some added intentions from the actual pouring. I’m ready to try it again, but don’t want these same problems. Any thoughts on what I might be doing wrong?

  96. Hello, so I tried doing this yesterday with sand from here in NYC. The imprints of the feet were clearly there. Tried with plaster, one more runny then the other and neither turned out. When I took the backing off this morning there was nothing there, the cardboard backing was damp. Does this mean it didn’t dry properly? Or my sand wasn’t good? Do you think it would be a good idea to leave my sand out to dry first then try it? Help!?!?! I want to do this as an art class craft!

  97. This worked amazingly! I did it with 3 children in 1 long frame. Waited 24hr for plaster of paris to set with frame inside (Raining outside!). Definitely set but still seems damp to touch. Does this disappear or should I spray with the sealer now? It is for my MIL’s 70th – she will be thrilled πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Amy, We’re so thrilled to hear this. If the weather has been wet it may take a little longer to dry. If the sun comes out I would suggest gently placing it in the sun for a couple of hours. It needs to be dry before you seal it.
      Louise xx

  98. I tried and tried to do this, as this was the only gift I had to give to my wife and I bought so many different types of sand and tried so many times and it never worked! I tried for days and without any progress at all the footprints wouldn’t come out no matter what I did, I’m very disappointed and now I don’t have a gift for my wife, I’m not sure how you did this but I’m pretty upset!

  99. Thank you for this project. We created one a few years back and it’s still a great memory for us. We really enjoyed it and thinking of making a new one to show their growth. How fast they grow. πŸ™‚

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