Zen gardens are fun to tend with the little rakes they come with, but it’s also easy to spill sand everywhere. Instead of keeping a sand garden on your desk, try making a magnetic sandbox. A magnetic sandbox is more fun and entertaining than a zen garden and you’re less likely to spill sand everywhere while using it. Here’s how to make a magnetic sandbox:


  • 1 Shadow box
  • A few small sphere magnets
  • 1 Bar magnet


  1. First, fill a shadow box with sand. You can use different colors of sand to improve the aesthetic or to match your office decor.
  2. Then, add some small sphere magnets to the sand in the box. The number of magnets depends on the size of your box and your preferences. You can add one or ten, it’s entirely up to you. You can also paint the sphere magnets to add more color.
  3. Close the box securely so no sand can fall out.
  4. Finally, use the bar magnet from outside the shadow box to move the sphere magnets around in the sand.


You can find shadow boxes at most craft stores. Also, if you want to, you can spice up the bar magnet with paint or go a step further and attach it to something else. You can glue the bar magnet to a pencil or pen so it looks like you’re drawing in the sand when you move the bar magnet over the shadow box.


Because the shadow box has a clear glass top, you will be able to see the magnets move around and create designs in the sand. You may even learn to do real magnetic sand art like this magic machine!


Image by Len Williams