Sugar Mandalas

Years ago I had the pleasure of seeing a group of Tibetan monks create a sand mandala of healing for the city of Detroit. It was so beautiful and inspired this simple version to do with your kids.

You can learn more about Mandalas here:

And as winter begins to release its hold on the earth it’s a great time to try it out!

I love making mandalas, and you can make them as easy or complex as you want, depending on your mood. Traditionally, they are made with colored sands, however, I never seem to have any sand when I think of the project. Since I always have sugar, we have started coloring some white sugar with food coloring and it’s worked wonderfully!

What you will need:

A cookie sheet with a rim

Piece of tinfoil or paper that fits in on the cookie sheet


Food Coloring (however many colors you want to use. I like to have at least 3)

Sugar (start with a cup, but the amount will vary depending on the size of the design and its complexity.)

Toothpick or skewer to mix with

Bowls (one for each color you intend to use)


  1. Draw your design on the paper or foil (see the above link for some inspiration)
  2. Lay your paper or foil onto the cookie sheet
  3. Choose your colors
  4. Separate your sugar into the bowls (one per color)
  5. Stir just a few drops of food coloring into a bowl of sugar and keep adding, drop by drop, until you’ve achieved your desired hue. Always start small, if you add too much too quickly, your sugar will clump!
  6. Once you have all of sugar colored, begin to sprinkle it onto the foil/paper, following your design (or go rogue! This is your project!). You can sprinkle it with your fingers if you don’t mind that the food coloring might tint your skin or you can use a spoon
  7. When you’re finished, you can take a moment to reflect on the meaning of your Mandala.

Now that you have a cookie sheet full of sugar, you can do whatever feels right for you with it. Here are some options:

Bake something with it! Your baked goods might have a different hue than they normally do, but now they’ll be infused with all of your creative and loving energy (and they’ll still taste just as delicious as they normally do).

Or, my favorite, you can take your cookie sheet into the garden and let your kids distribute it and let nature reclaim it.

They can watch the wind blow it through the yard, leave it for the faeries, and just have fun with it!

Some of our favorite times to create mandalas:

Earth day as a way to bless the earth.

To celebrate the seasons or a holiday

To create healing energy

Just a fun and beautiful activity with your kids

Use it to talk about your beliefs

Other things you can use:

Use herbs and flower petals, crush or grind them for the colors


Even marbles or legos

Your imagination is the limit!