How to Create a Sand Mandala

by Jill Dutton
Mandalas help people experience mindfulness and creativity.

Mandalas help people experience mindfulness and creativity.

Tibetan monks create sand mandalas as a form of meditation, but also as a way to experience the impermanence of life. The mandala is created, and then allowed to blow or scatter away naturally. Creating a sand mandala is an easy way to experience this form of mindfulness and creativity. The process is therapeutic and provides an opportunity for the mind chatter to stop. Read on to learn how to create a sand mandala.

Gather your materials. You can purchase the colored sand at most craft stores. The templates are available free online; find one you like and print a copy. Monks use a cone-shaped metal funnel called a chak-pur to direct the sand, but you can either purchase a small funnel or simply take apart an ink pen and use the outer shell.

Draw the mandala with chalk on the ground or make a smaller mandala using the template you printed as an outline.

Flow the sand through the funnel to create lines and fill blank spaces. Use your creativity to pick colors and designs. The paintbrush helps to smooth lines and clear away extra sand.

Focus on the process, not perfection. The point is not to create a "work of art" (even though it may well be one). Traditionally, Tibetan monks dismantle the mandala after its creation. They do so to experience the impermanence of life. Creating a sand mandala is a chance to experience a moment of mindfulness and to then let go of attachment.

Items you will need

  • Colored sand (available at craft stores)
  • A mandala template
  • Small paintbrush
  • Drinking straw or outer tube from ink pen