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How to Make a Makeshift Gold Pan

You can turn almost any shallow dish into a gold pan.
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Gold pans are relatively simple and inexpensive pieces of equipment — you can purchase your own pan for about 12 dollars at most supply stores. However, when you’re in a pinch and don’t have an actual gold pan handy, it is beneficial to know how to make your own pan. Fortunately, making your own pan is a simple process that requires only a shallow dish — it's how you use the dish that will determine your success.

Look around your home, car or current surroundings for a shallow container. The ideal gold pan has a solid bottom to contain riverbed materials and has wide, sturdy edges to allow you to scoop up and shake riverbed materials.

Clean the container of any dirt or residue with a damp cloth.

Hold the container on either side and use the edge to scoop up a good quantity of riverbed materials. Tilt the pan forward in the water and allow the larger pieces to fall out until you are left with less and less material.


Your ability to sift materials determines the success of your gold pan. Whether you have a professional pan or a makeshift one, it’s how you use the pan that counts.


  • Your gold pan must be clean because oil can make gathering gold harder as the gold will slide more easily out of the tray and be harder to separate.
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