How-to: Make Your Own Organic Colored Sanding Sugar

cake decorated with DIY colored sanding sugar

Want to decorate your cakes without springing for expensive organic sanding sugar or settling for the cheaper (but still expensive!) conventional sanding sugar? Fortunately, making your own colored sanding sugar takes about ten seconds, and you can use the same high-quality organic sugar and natural food coloring that you already have in your pantry. Here’s how:

drop food coloring into the organic white sugar Start with your favorite organic white sugar, and pour a little into any unused glass jar that has a well-fitting lid. As you can see, we reuse glass jars of all sizes for all kinds of projects!

A little sanding sugar goes a long way, so you’ll probably want to use jars that are as small as possible. Regardless, don’t fill the jar more than half-full with sugar, because you’ll need plenty of room to shake it around in a second.

Depending on the amount of sugar in your jar, put anywhere from two to several drops of natural liquid food coloring straight in with the sugar. There are a few brands of natural liquid food coloring around, although they can be hard to find; I had to order mine on-line and have it shipped to me, which I hate to do because I’m haunted by the thought of all the energy resources used in getting that one little box across the country to my door, but fortunately a little food coloring lasts a LONG time, so I don’t have to buy it often. I’ve heard that you big-city folks can buy natural food coloring at Whole Foods–is it true? Is it wonderful? I bet it’s wonderful…

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Written by Julie Finn

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now.

Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life, and my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties.


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  1. I had to say thank you for your tutuorial on DIY resuable stickers. It inspired me to take it a step further to DIY reusuable crafts. For example, I apply the glue to my Letter Craft Foam Letter P. Allow to dry. We then stuck on petals from a flower. when the petals wither, remove and apply to letter W. Then, we can use the P for pebbles and popcorn.

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  2. If you want organic food color, check out

    We have been using these for years.

    Thank you for this post regarding how to make your own sanding sugar. I was SO excited to have finally found organic sanding sugar online and was about to pay $17 plus shipping for it for several different colors in 2oz bags. But I don’t really need all of that. So I’m glad I found your article. Now I can just make it as I need it. Will stay fresh, and not be stuck with colors I don’t need. Thank you!!!!

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