So, here is my tutorial on how to make a mini zen garden!

They are really so cute, and really functional. The Zen gardens are extra calming when you add essential oils.

Now, to the tutorial!

Tutorial – Mini Zen Garden

You will need –

  • Small wooden box, mine had dimensions of: 1.2 x 7.2 x 10 inches
  • Either store-bought sand (enough to fill the box with a little space on the top) or beach sand (double the amount you need!)
  • Water (hot, if possible)
  • Soap
  • Thin mesh strainer or thin mesh sifter
  • Oven
  • Baking sheet
  • 2 wide popsicle sticks
  • Hot glue gun
  • 4 Toothpicks
  • Tape and/or Washi tape
  • Small rocks, shells, gems, etc. (optional)
  • Glitter (preferably the color of your sand) (optional)

Part 1 – The Box

  1. On my box, there were some labels and words. Sand it down if there are!
  2. Get some wood stainer. According to the instructions, use it to cover the outer-bottom of the box, the sides, the inside sides, and (optional, it won’t be seen) the inner-bottom. Dry.
  3. Repeat step 2 until you have the desired finish, then wipe of excess.
  4. You have finished your box!

Part 2 – The Sand

If using store-bought sand, you will only need to make sure you have enough – skip this part! If using beach sand, follow the next steps.

  1. Make sure you have DOUBLE as much sand it will take to fill your container!
  2. Strain/sift your sand into a container, and remove anything that doesn’t fall into it. If your sand is already a bit damp, I found that you should run water over your sand and use your hand to press it. I had it easiest when my container was mostly filled with water, and the strainer went below water level. If your sand is dry, just sift it!
  3. In the container with the sand that you sifted, pour some water and soap and then mix it up with the sand so lots of the sand touches it. Pour out the water and try not to pour a lot of sand out!
  4. Repeat step 3 about three times.
  5. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  6. Remove as much water from the sand that is possible without getting rid of a lot of sand.
  7. Spread the sand evenly on a baking sheet.
  8. Put the sand in the oven for 45 minutes to sterilize it.
  9. If the sand is wet when you take it out, either bake it longer (10-minute intervolts) or wait for it to dry. I was impatient so I baked it longer 😉
  10. Optional – Mix some glitter in with your dry sand! I used the same color, and just enough to see some random sparkles out of the corner of my eye.

Part 3 – Making the Rake

You can also buy one.

  1. Cut off the rounded edges of a popsicle stick.
  2. Snap it in half the long way as cleanly as you can. This takes a few tries!
  3. Hot glue the two sides on top of each other to make a sturdy base for your rake.
  4. Cut of the rounded ends of another popsicle stick, and snap it the long way, then cut one of the thin strips into thirds. Hot glue two of the thirds on top of each other. This is the head of your rake.
  5. Take 2 toothpicks and cut them in half.
  6. Hot glue the toothpick halves evenly spaced onto the flat side of the head. MAKE SURE THEY ARE STURDY.
  7. Hot glue the head of the rake at an angle to the handle.
  8. Optional – Decorate with washi tape and more!

Part 4 – Making the Detail-er

This is for single-line details.

  1. Take two toothpicks.
  2. Tape them together to make a thicker toothpick.
  3. Finished!

Part 5 – Assembling!

  1. Pour your sand into the wooden box. Level it out by shaking side to side.
  2. Optional – Add a few drops of essential oils and mix it into the sand
  3. Add decorations in any way you want! Don’t use too many, otherwise, it’ll look cluttered.
  4. Rake the sand into any pattern you like!


I think the hardest part is cleaning the sand. Mostly just time consuming, but not as hard as I made it seem. Tell me how yours turns out!

Comment below with questions or anything else, I like to know who is reading 🙂