In case you haven’t noticed, sand castles have become very elaborate and sand sculpture a new art form. Building them is a complicated business. We’ve used the simple methods here to build sandcastles we can be proud of without too much equipment. In our experience the most important part is finding a beach with suitable building sand. For the rest, follow this book and/or DVD.
Most beach trips I would sit and read while my wife played around in the sand building castles. This year, I found a great resource that had me building sand castles and sculptures that stopped every passerby on the beach.
The Sons of the Beach Sandcastles Made Simple book showed me how to build high-reaching towers and arches by hand, without any buckets or forms. Their tool set was perfect for giving professional looking details. Their optional DVD makes it even easier to learn their technique.
The first week I had their book, I built a 48″ tall light house, several castles (one with a monorail train), and a snowman (they teach you how to make snowballs out of sand). Many people asked me how many years I’d been doing sand sculpture!
The book and DVD teach “hand stacking.” This is a process of scooping a big handfuls of completely saturated wet sand and plopping them on top of each other. By jiggling the sand just as the excess water is running out, it fuses the new plop with the previous ones creating a stable tower.
Tools for advanced sand castling
These folks also discuss and sell large forms (5, 3, 2 foot diameter) which can be used for large competition sculpture, but that was more than I wanted to carry down to the beach.
– Chris Evans
Sandcastles Made Simple
2005, 128 pages
Available from Amazon