Architectural Appeal: Reinvent Plastic Sand Castle Molds

A classic kids toy becomes a work of art, when you take it from neon to neutral

Any DIYer worth their salt knows a fresh coat of spray paint is an easy way to breath new life into an old, worn out item, but it can also completely transform something brand new. In the case of this super simple project, 10 minutes and a few swipes of paint changed not only the appearance, but the function of an item I ordinarily wouldn't give a second glance, elevating it from child's play to artful objet.

I spotted these unique plastic sand toys, modeled after architectural landmarks around the world, at the craft store for $15.95 for a set of five, and was immediately reminded of the kind of artisan-crafted (and notoriously pricey) architectural models you might spot on the entry table of a classically decorated home, nestled amid leather-bound books, stone busts, and potted orchids. While my own aesthetic is far less regimented, I knew in the right sophisticated stone color, these plastic pieces could be the ultimate plaster trompe l’oeil—adding a note of eclecticism, and a sense of history to any vignette. For a moodier look, go with glossy black, or get even craftier and create a mottled stone finish.

- Drop cloth
- Mask
- Rubber gloves
- Tack cloth
- All-purpose spray cleaner
- Krylon® ColorMaster™ Paint + Primer, Dover White in Gloss Finish (available at various retailers)
- Plastic sand castle molds

Architectural Appeal: Reinvent Plastic Sand Castle Molds


To complete the transformation I grabbed a can of Krylon® ColorMaster™ Paint + Primer in Dover White, along with a drop cloth, mask, gloves, all-purpose cleaner and a tack cloth. Before getting started, use all-purpose cleaner to wipe down the mold, removing all dirt and grease.

Architectural Appeal: Reinvent Plastic Sand Castle Molds


Spray in a well-ventilated area.  Holding the can at a good distance (roughly 6 to 8 inches from the castle molds) and using smooth, even strokes, I gave each piece two light coats of paint, allowing them to dry in between each.

Architectural Appeal: Reinvent Plastic Sand Castle Molds


The paint and primer combo provides a smooth, opaque finish, necessary for covering the toys' original neon hues.

Architectural Appeal: Reinvent Plastic Sand Castle Molds


The result? A minimalist statement piece that reads completely high-end, while costing all of a couple bucks. These would elevate any stylish bookshelf vignette, or sophisticated black-and-white tablescape. Get creative and use the spires of the Taj Mahal to hold rings and bracelets, or corral bobby pins and hair ties in the Colosseum.


Slide over to reveal the color transformation.