Ocean – Sandpaper Transfers (Weekly Unplugged Project)

By , September 6, 2009 9:41 pm


This week’s Unplugged Project theme was ocean.  Not having anything in mind when I chose the theme (it was the first thing that popped into my head as I wrote last week’s post), I decided we should try an art technique that I have been wanting to experiment with for some time.

Well, my plans fell through a bit.  The two oldest were invited to a sleepover tonight and the little one needed to go to bed, so I decided to go solo on this week’s Unplugged Project.

I am not sure what this is called, but I call it “sandpaper transfer.”  It is super easy and produces really remarkable results!

All you need is sandpaper (I used a coarse grain and a fine grain to see what different results I would get), crayons (we have PLENTY of those), and an iron.

Draw a picture on the sandpaper and color it in with crayons.  Of course I chose an ocean theme (plus sand is found by the ocean, so sandpaper fit the theme too, right?).

I drew a colorful fish on the coarsest grain of paper and a green/blue/brown artsy ocean wave scene on the finest grain.  Be sure to press hard for best results.

The next step is the really exciting one!  Place the sandpaper picture-side down on top of a sheet of paper (or cardstock, which I used).  Iron over the top.  It will only take one or two passes of the iron to transfer the image.

NOTE:  Don’t iron too much or you might notice wax soaking through the sandpaper backing and onto your iron.  Also, if you use paper rather than cardstock, I would recommend putting an old towel underneath the paper so melted wax doesn’t soak through onto your ironing board.

Peel off the sandpaper and you will “ooh and aah” over what you have produced!

This is the coarse-grained fish:

Here is the fine-grained ocean:

Quite different results.

These are very pretty on their own, or they would make a great backdrop for more coloring, collage, paint, stickers … anything you want!


If you did an ocean Unplugged Project this week, then thank you!  Please link to your project post below.  If you don’t have an ocean project to share, then please do not link.  You can read more about how to join in here.  Everyone is welcome, and the more Unplugged Projects we have, the more fun and inspirational it is for all of us!


The theme for next week’s Unplugged Project will be:


I don’t know what we’ll do yet.  What would you do?

Have fun and please join in!


13 Responses to “Ocean – Sandpaper Transfers (Weekly Unplugged Project)”

  1. I love the crayon transfer! I actually read instructions for this technique this very weekend. I couldn’t visualize it though, and didn’t think it looked that interesting. Boy was I wrong – I love the way yours tuned out. It’s going straight into my “must try” file.
    .-= almost unschoolers´s last blog ..Recycling Old Birthday Candles With An Ocean Theme – A Weekly Unplugged Project =-.

  2. Can’t wait to try this!
    .-= Homespun Emily´s last blog ..When a Beloved Pet Dies =-.

  3. Melitsa says:

    Think we’ll be off today to get some supplies. What a great project!
    .-= Melitsa´s last blog ..Guess the Rhyme 6 =-.

  4. Mom Unplugged says:

    Let me know how it goes!

  5. Mom Unplugged says:

    Yes, I wasn’t really sure what to expect either, but the effect is really stunning. Even better than in the blog photos.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Melitsa Avila. Melitsa Avila said: These sandpaper transfers are great http://bit.ly/EsRax Love unlplug your kids unplugged projects […]

  7. The sandpaper transfers look like fun! We are thinking of trying them as wrapping paper patterns and also for backgrounds to our collages. We made a sea shell memory game for this weeks theme.
    Can’t wait to try the transfers. :)
    .-= happy birdycake´s last blog ..Sea shell memory game =-.

  8. Mom Unplugged says:

    They would be lovely for those purposes! I’ll be over to check out your memory game. Sounds fun!

  9. Mom Unplugged says:

    Be sure to post your results. I’d love to see what others do with them!

  10. […] Unplug your kids predlaže jednu ošmirglanu aktivnost. […]

  11. […] Unplug your kids sandpaper art […]

  12. Leslie Ackel says:

    This activity will be experimented with by all my children. It seems that the imagination can go free and the results a reminder of fun times.
    Leslie Ackel

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