Make a beach keepsake for all the family.


The beach is loved by everyone who stays at Chichester Self Catering. West Wittering is our most famous beach locally, quite rightly so. It is famous for its fine white sand and beautiful wide beach when the tide is out, looking out to The Solent, Isle of Wight and the English Channel.

The fine white sand is the most important ingredient to make our charming and unique beach keepsakes to take home to remind you of your holiday here, and they are so simple to make.

I’m excited to share this new recipe with you which we tried and tested out ourselves until we made it just right. It uses real sand to create a modelling clay that can be cooked and hardened to make long-lasting keepsakes and models, and dries to look just like damp or modelled sand!

With the addition of little shells and pebbles collected at the beach, it becomes such a sweet memory making plaque of a moment captured in time.

Sand-clay-handprint-keepsakes-craft-667x1000 Make a beach keepsake for all the family.


2 cups sand

1 1/2 cups plain flour (all purpose)

1 cup warm water

1 1/4 cups salt

Mix together the sand, flour and salt in a large bowl and slowly add the warm water, mixing as you go with a large spoon. This is a dough recipe and as with all doughs, the measurements of dry ingredients can really make a difference to the stickiness/ dryness of the finished dough, so add the water carefully and just balance it out if it feels a little too sticky by adding some more flour or sand.

Shells etc to decorate.

Once it is all combined, take it out of the bowl and begin to knead it on a lightly floured surface. It will take less than a minute to come together into a soft and pliable ball very similar in feel and consistency to play dough or salt dough.

Proceed to roll, cut and air or oven dry the sand clay in the same way as salt dough from this point forward.

I split the ball into four pieces (one part for each child) and then rolled the dough one by one, into a circular shape which was about 2 cm thick. I rolled this directly onto a large baking sheet so that it wouldn’t need to be moved. It is even better to put it onto baking parchment on the baking sheet.

This ball of sand dough is quite big. It was the perfect amount for four kids to have a decent size piece each, so if you are just using this for one or two children you may wish to halve the recipe or use some of it for another project! Alternatively enrol all the parents / grandparents etc to join in too.

DIY-sand-clay-recipe Make a beach keepsake for all the family.

Once the dough discs were rolled into circles, each child pushed their hand into the centre of their piece, and either I or they helped to push each finger down firmly, one by one, using another hand on top. Then they lifted carefully off to reveal the handprints in the dough.

Then, using small shells from beach trips and party craft supplies, they decorated around the borders to turn these into real beach keepsakes treasures!

Put them straight into the oven – set to 120 degrees Celsius (approx 250 F) and left them to dry out in there for around 4 hours. The sand dough will dry hard at differing times depending on your oven and, importantly, the thickness of the dough discs.

It’s important that they are not too thick or else it takes too long for them to dry hard and they can remain a little doughy in the middle. If you find they are hard on the top but not underneath, take them out and gently turn them over, then put them back into the oven for another hour or two to harden the underside.

The girls loved finding their own sand clay handprint when they were ready, matching them up by finding the hand that was a fit!

I absolutely LOVE the finished look of these, as they look just like fresh handprints into damp sand at the beach, captured beautifully as keepsakes to either display or give away. Footprints would look fantastic too I think!

You can try adding a clay glaze over the top to seal them and/or make them shiny, but I like the feel and look of them as they are as they seem so realistic!

I hope you are inspired to try this sand dough recipe and to make your own beach treasure keepsakes! Please share with me either in comments below or on Facebook or Instagram. If you do have a go, as I’d love to see them.

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