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Stress-Relieving Mini Sand Gardens
Stress Relieving Mini Sand Garden
Playing with sand is always a fun way to relax!

Product Code: SANDGARDEN


Stress-Relieving Mini Sand Gardens

Mini sand gardens combine sand and aromatherapy for a fun, relaxing experience! They look great on display and make unique gifts!


  1. Container: Any wood, glass, or ceramic container will work—it's up to you how you want your garden to look. For the Japanese garden, an inexpensive jewelry box with a lift-out tray allows for storage of tools and accessories below the sand garden. The beach and Zen gardens use unfinished shadow boxes. You can also use decorative ceramic bowls, planter boxes, and wood trays, among other things.
  2. Sand: Any clean sand will do, but decorative and colored sands are easily found at most craft or floral supply stores. The Japanese garden contains a coarse, white decorative sand. The others contain a finer, tan-colored sand. The amount of sand you will need depends on the container.

  3. Essential oils: About 15–20 drops are used for the initial scenting, but you may want to add more later to recharge the scent. You may also need more for a large container of sand.
  4. Jojoba oil (optional): Jojoba oil is used only if you want to create a wet sand garden that can be used to build sand castles at the beach.
  5. Other items: The sky's the limit on this one. Use your imagination to come up with different tools, accents, and other accessories for play in your garden. For the gardens shown, accessories include dowls (to create rakes for the sand and other accents), smooth river rocks, small shells, pictures (your own, postcards or magazine pages), wood (cut into the shape of the Japanese arch shown above: click here for the pattern—and also to make the small shovel and rake below), a battery operated diffuser pad (for decorative accents that can also recharge the aroma) a colored ping-pong ball (a beach ball), and a small cap (a bucket).
  1. Make sure your wood, glass, or ceramic container is clean, dry and ready to use. If you are using a wood container, you may want to paint or stain it first. Attach any decorative items you wish to your container, and make sure any paint or glue is completely dry.
  2. Prepare your sand. If you are using natural sand you collected outside, make sure it doesn't contain any bugs or other living creatures. For your sand garden, you can use either a dry or wet sand.
    1. Dry sand: This is the type typical for a Zen or rock garden, where you want the sand loose and able to be easily shifted and raked. To create the dry sand, place about 1–1 1/2 cups of sand in a bottle, jar, or other small container with a sealable lid. Add 15–20 drops of essential oil or blend to the sand. Place the lid on the container with the sand and essential oils in it, and shake the sand and essential oils until they are mixed together well, and no small clumps of oily sand remain. Transfer the sand to your wood, glass, or ceramic garden container.
    2. Wet sand: This type works well for a beach garden so that you can use the sand to make mini sand castles and sculptures. To make this type of sand, mix 15–20 drops of essential oils with 4 oz. of jojoba oil in a small plastic bottle. Place 1–1 1/2 cups of sand in a small bowl or other container. Add about 1 Tbsp. of the oil mixture to the sand, and stir until well mixed. Continue adding the oil mixture a little at a time, and then stirring, until the sand is able to hold its shape well when pressed together. The amount of oil you will need to add depends on the shape and texture of the sand. Once the sand has reached the right consistency, it will be moldable for days without drying out (you may wish to make a small bottle of jojoba oil mixed with essential oil or to recharge the sand. Pack the wet sand into your garden container so that it is level and smooth.
  3. Create or find tools and accessories that can be used to play in the sand. Many shops sell miniature tools like shovels and rakes as key chains or novelty items. You can also simply use a fork for a rake and a spoon for a shovel. You can also making your own custom tools.
    1. Zen garden rake: Cut a 1 1/4" piece from a thicker dowel (about 3/8" or 1/2" diameter) for the base of the rake. Cut a 3"–4" piece from a medium dowel (about 3/16" or 1/4" diameter) for the handle. Cut four 1/2" pieces from a thin dowel (about 1/8" in diameter) for the tines of the rake. Drill a hole the same diameter or just larger than the piece of dowel you cut for the handle in the middle of the thick 1" dowel piece for the handle. Place a small amount of wood glue in the hole, and push the end of the 3"–4" piece of medium dowel into the hole. Allow the glue to dry for 20 minutes. Drill 4 holes (the same diameter or just larger than the four 1/2" thin dowel pieces) evenly spaced along the length of the thick dowel, but only going in about half way. Place glue in these holes, and push the ends of the 4 thin dowel pieces into these holes. Allow the glue to dry for 20 minutes.
    2. Mini shovel and rake: Many scrapbook and craft stores sell die-cut wood shapes pre-made (and often already painted) as part of sets for scrapbooking or doll houses. If you want to make your own, use this pattern, and carefully cut the shapes for the shovel and rake from a piece of 3/16" thick solid wood (a soft wood like pine or balsa wood may work best) using a scroll saw or a coping saw. Use chisels, knives, saws, sandpaper, rotary tools, or other tools to continue to shape your mini tools. A curved chisel can carve out the basic shape of the shovel blade, and sandpaper cab finish shaping and curving the corners. Use a drill to cut a hole for the handle. For the rake, use a small coping saw to cut out the area between the tines, and then use it to cut out part of the area behind the tines. Finish with sandpaper to continue to shape and round the corners.
  4. Add other decorations like river rocks, polished rocks, small figurines for statues, bonzai trees, fake moss or grasses, arches, bridges, and so on to embellish your garden.
  5. If desired, add a battery operated diffuser pad either on the garden container, or disguised as a decorative element in your garden. Place a few drops of essential oil on this pad to to help recharge the aroma of the garden without having to mix the essential oil into the sand again. You can also pour the sand into another container with a lid, add more essential oils, shake to mix thoroughly together, then pour the aromatic sand back in your garden container.
  6. If you are giving the garden as a gift, you may wish to include a small bottle of essential oil for recharging the aroma.
  7. When stressed, get your garden and just have fun playing in the sand while breathing in the aroma of essential oils.

More Ideas:
  1. Have your own garden party with friends. Assemble containers, sand, essential oils, decorations, tools, and other items (or assign other to bring items). Then have fun creating your own unique gardens (while talking about the benefits of essential oils).

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