Sand animation

Alexandra Konofalskaya performing sand animation

Sand animation is the manipulation of sand to create animation. In performance art an artist creates a series of images using sand, a process which is achieved by applying sand to a surface and then rendering images by drawing lines and figures in the sand with one's hands. A sand animation performer will often use the aid of an overhead projector or lightbox (similar to one used by photographers to view translucent films). To make an animated film, sand is moved on a backlit or frontlit piece of glass to create each frame.


Techniques for animating with sand were pioneered by Caroline Leaf when she was an undergraduate art student at Harvard University in 1968.[1] She created her first film, Sand, or Peter and the Wolf (1968), by dumping beach sand on a light box and manipulating the grains to build figures, textures and movement frame-by-frame.[2]

Notable artists



Sand Magic - iOs application for creating sand animation.


  1. Roberts, Eric (1998). "Hand-Crafted Cinema Animation Workshop with Caroline Leaf". National Film Board of Canada. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  2. "The Animated Art of Caroline Leaf". Film Series / Events. Harvard College Library. November 5, 2012. Retrieved 21 March 2016.
  3. Evans, Gary (30 September 1991). In the National Interest: A Chronicle of the National Film Board of Canada from 1949 to 1989. University of Toronto Press. p. 232. ISBN 978-0802068330. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
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