In this quick tutorial, I'm going to combine two of my favorite things: excavations and thrift stores! Thrift stores are loaded with all kinds of things that can be used as fun items to include in DIY excavations. From rocks, toys, trinkets, and coins to cool containers like old tins, thrift stores are loaded with numerous and unique treasures to use to make awesome excavations. For the sake of this post, we are going to focus on jewelry and finding rings for our Thrift Store Ring Dig.
 Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Jewelry is often located a display cabinet near the cashier. Depending on the thrift store, there may be offerings from inexpensive costume style jewelry, up to real gold rings with gemstones and diamonds. We are looking for inexpensive yet interesting rings, but you may just get lucky and find a real treasure that was overlooked sitting there waiting to be discovered!
  • Container. You can use anything, but I often like to get creative and use containers that match the theme of the excavation I am creating. For the Thrift Store Ring Dig, find an old jewelry box... you may even get lucky and find one at the thrift store! Remove the inside components so you have room to pour your excavation. 

Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Can't find an old jewelry box? Visit your local craft store and check out the unpainted wooden boxes. You can customize, paint, decorate, add plastic gems and sequins with a glue gun, and make these as awesome and personalized as you want. 


  • Sand - Optional: Use colored sand! 
  • Plaster of Paris
  • Measuring cups
  • Water
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon
  • Rings - As mentioned above, have an adventure hunting around thrift stores for these fun little treasures. You may also have luck finding rings in old jewelry boxes and drawers in your home. Just be sure to get permission and that you are not taking something valuable, special to someone, or an heirloom. 
  • Excavation tools - Safety goggles, small brush, and a chisel, large nail, wooden dowel or some other tool to use to excavate. 
  • Optional - Gold glitter


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Use a little water to soften the excavation if needed during digging.  


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  1. Remove the inside components of the jewelry box. Use a glue gun to patch up any holes to keep the excavation mixture from leaking out. 
  2. Place your rings in the jewelry box. 
  3. Dry mix one cup of sand with 1/3 cup of Plaster of Paris. Increase the recipe as needed to fill your chosen container at a three parts sand to one part Plaster of Paris ratio. 
  4. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake like consistency. 
  5. Optional - sprinkle gold glitter over the top of the Thrift Store Ring Dig for a little extra sparkle and flair. 
  6. Allow to dry overnight. Depending on the size of the excavation, you may want to allow an additional night or two for the Thrift Store Ring Dig to completely dry. If the excavation remains moist, it will be crumbly and will fall apart easily. 
  7. Once the Thrift Store Ring Dig is completely dry,  find an area that can get a little messy and be easily cleaned up. Distribute the safety goggles and excavation tools and let the fun begin!


Pro tip: The Thrift Store Ring Dig is inexpensive and a lot of fun to make. There are often loads of inexpensive jewelry at thrift stores and not just rings. Feel free to add bracelets, necklaces, earrings and more to the Thrift Store Ring Dig for an even more exciting treasure hunt. 


I hope you enjoyed this super quick tutorial and had fun creating a Thrift Store Ring Dig. These excavations are very easy to make and a lot of fun!
Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Thrift Store Ring Digs make great excavation activities for sleepovers and birthday parties. Just make sure to have an excavation for each participant, safety goggles, and excavation tools!
If you love rocks, geology, and excavating as much as we do, be sure to check out our Excavating Adventures monthly subscription by clicking the link below and get an awesome new excavation delivered each month loaded with rocks, minerals, gemstones, fossils, and more!
Happy Excavating!
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