How to write on sand dollars



How to write on Sand Dollars

There are a three different types of pens and markers we have found that seem to work pretty good for writing on sand dollars. They are permanent markers, paint pens and gel pens. Those seem to work best on unsealed sand dollars and when they are sealedit seems like just about any type of pens or pencils will write on them although some pencils will smear.

Personalizing sand dollar and creating your own place card settings, escort carts and favors for your wedding can be tricky and time consuming especially if you include the learning curve, the time to get all the supplies and time sealing them before writing on them so the ink doesn’t bleed. You also must have fair writing skills and a steady hand.

From our experience we have learned that you can write on them without being sealed and approximately one in every 8 to 12 will bleed so you need to just count on that or just go ahead and seal your sand dollars them.


Helpful Hints

- Keep skin oil off of the writing surface so your pen doesn’t skip by using latex gloves.

- Use good lighting because shadows will have you moving around while you are writing on your sand dollars trying to find a position where you will not be seeing shadows as you write. A small table lamp can be very handy for this. Use a mat that you are willing to get paint on.

- Don’t be in a rush! This is actually almost more like or drawing than writing. Take time and experiment on a few sand dollars using the different types of pens to see what works best for you. Make slow, consistent moves while trying to use the same pressure from start to finish.

- If you will be writing on a lot of them be sure to have a predetermined place to set them to dry. Keep them away from common house traffic areas and out of the sun.

- Be sure to give plenty of time to dry before wrapping them for transport.

- If you write on them with something that doesn’t dry and can smear (like a pencil) you can try spraying them with clear polyurethane or clear lacquer when finished but it has to be a super thin coating or that in itself will make it bleed.

- Have extras to take to the wedding so if there are any mishaps you can use the experience you’ve gained to quickly and easily produce another one real quick without the worry or stress.

 -If you seal first them you can have really close to 100% of them turn out good without bleeding but it is very time consuming but if you do not seal them just count on having approximately 10% bleed and be unusable or at least not as defined as the others.

 -Now that you know the basics, the rest is trial and error.


The following are some that we tried in-house ourselves


These are some that we used a regular #2 pencil on with a very light coating of lacquer afterwards
so that they wouldn't smear when touched.
Only a "spray" coating will work when adding a protective
coating to penciled sand dollars, brushing on a protective coating will make them smear.



These two were done with a black Extra Fine Point Sharpie permanent marker, just
remember that without sealing them first you will average one in ten that bleeds.



We tried a Faber-Castell “Pitt Artist Pen” on these two and as you can see pressure makes a difference


This one was done with a Blue Fine Point Sharpie oil based “Paint Pen”


We used a silver Rust-Oleum American Accent Metallic Leafing pen on this one


We actually did these two with a Hype highlighter


These two was with a fine point Sharpie one unsealed and one sealed.



A gel pen that is generally used to help guard against check fraud was used on this one















Alternatively you can use other creative ways to add names to them such as tie a large ribbon and write on the ribbon
itself or write names and table numbers on them or tie a card to the sand dollar. There are many items you can use
to tie cards to them including raffia, ribbon, colored string, jute cord, yarn, bow wire and more.