On our recent trip to California, we stopped at a lovely beach just south of Aptos. Sunset Beach has a long stretch of coastline that never gets too crowded, and is the perfect place for a day at the beach, complete with BBQ. We enjoyed some boogie boarding, castle building, and relaxation. As the fog slowly began to roll in, and the sun was preparing to go down, it made for the perfect time to take a stroll along the shoreline. With our feet just out of the ocean’s reach, what we saw was really quite beautiful. There were hundreds of these unique Velella Velella Jellyfish being washed ashore (which apparently is a very rare occurrence), and dozens of sand dollars that were actually whole. Excited, my dad, Brooke, and I went on a mission to collect as many sand dollars as we could fit in our hands. We must have found about 50 in just a short distance. I figured it would be fun to bring them back home with us, and display or craft with them. Unfortunately, on our flight home we lost more than half of them, but I’m just thrilled that any of them made the over 3,000 mile journey home to serve as a momento.
Obviously before I could think of displaying them, or using them in a fun project, I had to clean them. Below is how I did just that, as well as preserve them.
How to Clean Sand Dollars
2. I took the sand dollars out, and rinsed each one individually, shaking them from side to side in order to get out any leftover sand from inside.
3. Next, in the large container I set up a 50-50 bleach and water mix. I put all the sand dollars in, and let them whiten for about an hour (or until they were done whitening, which for some was very quick). Once they were done, I scooped them out with one of Brooke’s toy shovels (to lessen how much bleach I touched), and laid them on a paper towel lined wire rack. I then sun-dried the sand dollars (which helps them harden).
How to Preserve Sand Dollars
I made a 50/50 water and Elmer Glue mix, and using a paint brush, I painted the front side of the sand dollars. Once dry, I turned the sand dollar over, and painted the backside with the glue-water mix. Once dry, they are ready to be displayed or used for crafting.
What do you do with sea shells you find on the beach?