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Some people just like to lie on the beach.  Some like to run along the water.  Others just float in the water like a huge Humpback whale after a meal of 2 tons of plankton... :-)

I like to make sand sculptures. Why?  Mainly because people seem to react well to them, and stop to comment.  It's also fun to challenge myself to make more intricate and difficult ones each time I'm at the beach.  Kids always stop and ask how do I make them, am I an art teacher, and can I tell them how to make one like it.

It beats having your leg gnawed off by a shark! ;-)

So click on the links (the blue buttons) at the top of the page (Sand Art ,More Sand Art, etc.) to see the photos!

How to make a sand castle!

Here's How:
  1. A flat, fine-grained sand works best for castles.  Of course, you have to use what you have available. 
  2. Assemble whatever tools you want to use. These can be plastic pails and shovels, tin cans (no lids), cups, dull knives, spoons, or whatever else you have. You can also purchase kits of tools specifically for sand castle building. Personally, I favor tools I make from coat hangers, plastic spoons and knife and a cake knife.
  3. A long-handled shovel will spare your back while moving sand.  It should have a small scoop.  Garden trowels, old, dull kitchen knives, or putty knives work well for shaping and carving sand.
  4. You can purchase professional sand sculpting tools, but it's a rip-off.  A coat hanger can be bent into any shape you'll need!  Different shaped loop tools work very well and are available both online from sand castle sites, or you can find similar loop tools at art supply outlets in the pottery section.
  5. A cake spatula or pastry knife such as those sold at cake-decorating stores is a great all-around tool.
  6. Pick a spot that's not too close to the water's edge (so waves don't destroy your structure) and not so far from the water that you have sand that's too dry.  Dig down to the water table and scoop up some of the sand.
  7. Pull handfuls of wet sand (or use your shovel) from the hold and pile it next to the hole.  Put a lot of sand down to make a base for the castle.
  8. Use more wet sand to build layers of towers by flattening it out on top of the base.   This is best done by patting handfuls of sand in a jiggling motion to compact the sand.  Don't smash it down, be gentle.
  9. Lay the sand patty on top of the base.  Make a tower by laying down ever so slightly smaller sand patties.  Press gently to adhere the layers and you will have a tower.
  10. To make walls, use your handful of sand to make a block or brick shape by holding the sand between your flattened palms.
  11. Lay the bricks down next to each other to form a wall.
  12. You can build "trees" by taking a handful of wet sand and dribbling it out of your fist.  As the sand droplets fall on top of each other, a tree shape will form.
  13. You will have to experiment to get the best consistency of wet sand.  Don't give up and you will soon have your own masterpiece.


  1. If sand is the right consistency (once again, experiment!), you can further shape a pile of it with tin cans to mold cylindrical shapes.
  2. Once you've build your basic castle, you can use your tools to carve roof shapes, windows, doors, and all kinds of decorations.
  3. You're never too old to play in the sand. Have a terrific time!
  4. Coral island (Florida Keyes) sand makes lousy castles; fine grained sand is best (Gulf coast of Florida).


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All images and text Copyright J Slemmer 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009
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