Sand dollar crochet square pattern

While designing this sand dollar crochet square pattern, I was transported back to a memory I have of a family beach holiday many years ago. For some reason I was upset and went for a walk along the waters edge to clear my head. In the busiest part of the beach; the area between the flags where everyone is allowed to swim, the waves washed over my feet. I just happened to look down and there at my feet was the most beautiful (intact!) sand dollar (or as we call them here locally, a pansy shell)!

These shells are very delicate and very rare and it is almost unheard of to find them in the middle of the day, washed up during the height of the busy beach season. How the shell was not smashed to smithereens with all the beachgoers rushing by is beyond me. I couldn’t help but feel like the shell was meant for me.

Sand dollars (also known as sea biscuits, snapper biscuits or pansy shells) are a species of burrowing sea urchin. Legend has it that these shells (or tests/skeletons) are coins lost by mermaids or the people of Atlantis. Many Christian missionaries found symbolism in the radial pattern and the 5 dove-shaped structures hidden within the shell. I’ve shared a charming poem I found about the symbolism of pansy shells at the very end of this post.

Crochet square pattern next to a sand dollar (pansy shell) and a driftwood cross. The background is of textured wood and a lightweight sea foam green fabric.

The Mélange blanket mystery CAL

This free crochet square pattern was specially designed as part of the Mélange CAL (Crochet-a-long), hosted by Underground Crafter. 48 designers from around the world have designed new squares, a different one released each week, which can be joined together to make a blanket. Click the image below to find out all the event details!

Sand dollar crochet square pattern

Free sand dollar crochet square pattern requirements

I worked this square in 2 sizes, one using Aran weight yarn and the other using DK/light worsted cotton yarn. Note that the Mélange CAL is worked using the Aran weight yarn.

6mm / size J crochet hook if using Aran* weight yarn
2.75mm / size C crochet hook if using DK/light worsted** yarn
Yarn needle

*Aran/worsted/size 4 weight yarn: Bella Coco Woolly Chunky (color: Oak): 100g (3.53oz), 120m (131yds), 75% acrylic, 25% wool

**DK cotton: Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton DK (color: mist (light grey), anvil (medium grey), cobblestone (dark grey)): 50g (1.76oz), 124m (135yds), 100% hand dyed cotton

Two crochet granny squares in different ocean colors, next to a sand dollar.

Special stitches

Bead stitch: The bead st is worked around a dc base st. To make a bead st, first work a dc. Then work the “bead” around the dc post as follows; *yo, insert hook underneath the dc post (from right to left), yo and pull up a loop. Repeat from * 2 more times (7 loops on hook). Yo and pull through 6 loops, yo and pull through last 2 loops. Note that “bead st” in this pattern includes working the base dc.

Puff stitch: *yo, insert hook into ch-sp, yo and pull up a loop. Repeat from * 2 more times (7 loops on hook). Yo and pull through 6 loops, yo and pull through last 2 loops.

Sand dollar crochet square pattern notes

  • Need help with front post and back post stitches? View my FPdc and BPdc tutorial.
  • This pattern can be worked in a single color or in multiple colors. To create a colour gradient you will need 3 different shades of the same color; light, medium and dark tone. Work Rnd 1 + 2 in a light tone, Rnd 3 in a medium tone, Rnd 4 + 5 in a dark tone and Rnd 6 in a medium tone.
  • Finished square: 15cm (6″) square using aran weight yarn and 9cm square using DK cotton after wet blocking.
  • This square is not worked in continuous rounds. Make sure to slst or invisible join to close each round as instructed by the pattern.
  • This pattern uses US terminology (see abbreviations)
  • Don’t know how to do the magic ring? Head over to my magic ring tutorial.
  • View my recommendations for my favourite tools on Amazon


Sand dollar granny square crochet pattern

Rnd 1: Make a magic ring. Ch 3 (counts as a dc), work 7 more dc into ring. Slst into top of ch 3 to close ring (8)

Rnd 2: Ch 2 (counts as dc), bead st, *into next st work [dc + bead st], rep from * around. You should have 8 bead stitches and 8 dc. Slst into top of ch 2 to close round (16)

Rnd 3: Ch 2 (this does NOT count as a dc), *3 dc into top of bead st, FPdc around the next dc, rep from * 6 more times, 3 dc into top of next bead st, FPdc around the next dc (note that this will cover the ch 2 from the start of the round). Slst into the first dc of the 3 dc cluster (not the ch 2), to close the rnd. (32)

Rnd 4: Ch 2 (does NOT count as dc), *FPdc around next 3 sts, around FPdc work [FPdc + ch 1 + FPdc], rep from * 6 more times, FPdc around next 3 sts, around the next FPDC (below the ch 2) work [FPdc + ch 1 + FPdc] (note that this will cover the ch 2 from the start of the round). Slst into the 1st dc of the round, not the ch 2, to close. Fasten off (40)

Rnd 5: Join yarn in any ch-1-sp between two FPdcs. 

*Into ch-1-sp work [3 dc + ch 1 + 3 dc], skip 1 st, dc into next st, hdc in next 3 sts, puff st into ch-1-sp, sk 1 st, hdc in next 3 st, dc in next st, rep from * 3 more times. Slst into first st of rnd to close. Fasten off (60)

Make sure not to work into the ch 2! Completely ignore them for this rnd.

Rnd 6: Join yarn in any ch-1-sp (corner) and *work [3 dc + ch 2 + 3 dc], sk 1, 14 dc, rep from * 3 more times. Slst into 1st st to close rnd. Fasten off. Block. (80)

Sand dollar crochet square pattern, in blues, greys and shades of pink. The crochet squares are on a wooden textured background.

I hope you enjoyed this sand dollar crochet square pattern! If you are looking for more crochet square patterns, click the button below!

The Pansy Shell (Author: unknown, source)

There’s a pretty little legend
That I would like to tell
Of the birth and death of Jesus
Found in this lovely shell

If you examine closely
you’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by the Roman spear

One on each side is the Easter lily
its centre is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
and led them from afar

The Christmas poinsettia
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His birthday
our happy Christmastide

Now break the centre open
and here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread goodwill and peace

This simple little symbol
Christ has left for you and me
To help us spread His gospel
Through all eternity.

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