Extreme Science: Inertia Sticks

What you will need:

  • Fine sand.
  • Container. Make sure this is a container that is disposable.
  • Never Wet ™ paint
  • Glass of water
  • Dust mask or well-ventilated area
  • Latex or rubber gloves
  • Adult supervision

Caution – One of the sands that I purchase was red in color and I found that my hands were red every time I handled it. Afterwards, I used a white sand but didn’t try any of the other various colors they had available so I don’t know if it was just the red sand that bleeds or if all of them have a tendency to bleed


1) Pour your sand onto a cookie sheet and place it in the oven on a low heat for about an hour to ensure that there is no moisture in the sand. Let cool completely.

2) Pour your sand into a disposable container.

3) Following the instructions on the “Never Wet” paint cans, coat your sand with the base coat (can # 1) of Never Wet. Make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area and are wearing proper protection

4) Wearing protective gloves mix the sand well to ensure that all of the grains are coated with the base coat.

5) Apply at least two coats of the base coat following instructions on can and mixing the sand with your protective gloves on.

6) Once the base coat is completely dry, you may need to break up the sand (wearing your gloves) as it may tend to stick together into clumps as the base coat dries.

7) Following the instructions on the Never Wet product cans, apply top coat (can #2) to your sand. I applied two coats.

8) Once the Never Wet paint is completely dry, slowly pour your hydrophobic sand into a container or glass of water. You will notice that it will tend to float on top of the water and your sand will NOT get wet.

9) Slowly place your finger in the floating layer of sand and push your finger down into the water. The sand should form around your finger as you slowly lower it into the water keeping your finger completely dry.

10) Try pouring the sand quickly into the water so that it sinks to the bottom of your container. Even though the sand is completely underwater, it will be completely dry. You can even re-shape the sand that is underwater with your fingers.

What is going on?

The Never Wet product will add a water tight seal around every grain of sand and not allow it to get wet. It is kind of like covering each grain of sand with a plastic shell or coating. The surface tension will allow the sand to float on top of the water when you pour it slowly. When you pour it fast enough, it will then sink to the bottom of your container even though it will not get wet. When you are finished, pour out the water and your sand will be completely dry again.

Try this:

Another way to make Hydrophobic Sand is to use a product called Scotch Guard ™

Scotch Guard will also add a protective layer to the grains of sand but I have found that it will not last as long as the Never Wet product.

Radical Rick

Extreme Science