The Best Beach Inspired Crafting… Making Mermaid Money [How to Turn Your Sand Dollars into Art]

painted sand dollar at the water's edge

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]’ve only been to the beach twice this year… And while it’ll be difficult to have a beach experience that tops swimming with manatees, finding my first sand dollar was pretty cool, too.

Some people believe sand dollars to be mythical coins lost by mermaids and washed ashore. I am fond of this lil piece of folklore, and am quite curious as to a sand dollar’s worth… Ya know, in case I decide to run away with the manatees one day.

sand dollar on painted background

Colors make everything better, right? And since we’re talking mermaid money, well… I just had to decorate it!

Here’s the how-to in case you’ve got some mermaid money just lying around begging for colors.


Cleaning and Hardening Sand Dollars

  1. Soak sand dollar in cool water until water turns brown
  2. Continue to replace water until water is clear
  3. Soak in a solution of 50% water 50% bleach for 10 minutes
  4. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely
  5. Brush with a solution of 1 part water to 1 part white glue to harden them and keep them from breaking.

painted sand dollar on the beach

Painting Sand Dollars

*Be sure you’ve properly cleaned and preserved your sand dollar before painting.

You can treat your sand dollar more like a canvas and paint pictures with acrylic paints, or you can paint your sand dollar with watercolor so that the paint soaks in and interacts with the sand dollar’s natural texture.

I wanted to enhance the beauty, not replace it… So I chose to go the watercolor route. But the only watercolors I have lying around are in the form of watercolor crayons and watercolor markers, so I improvised by watering down some of my Golden Fluid Acrylics.

DIY Felt Sand Dollar
In my mermaid money folklore research, I came across these super fabulous DIY felt sand dollars.
You should totally head on over to American Felt and Craft and make yourself some beautiful felt mermaid money!