Tips For Building A Better Sandcastle

Each year millions of Americans flock to the beach for their annual vacation. Although it may be winter in various parts of the country many people are currently day dreaming of their sunny getaway. While the world continues to evolve the beach remains a timeless escape. At the beach one’s troubles slip away with the tide and one’s thoughts focus on what matters most: sun, surf, and sandcastles. Here are a few helpful tips to make your sandcastle the envy of the beach.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sand
  • Water
  • Shovels of Varying Sizes
  • Plastic Knife
  • A bucket
  • Paint trowel
  • Soft-Bristled Painbrush

Tip 1: Dig A Water Hole

The key to successful sandcastle is to use sand that’s really wet. The best way to get lots of water (if you’re at the beach) is by digging a water hole. Start digging & keep at it until water starts puddling at the bottom of your hole. When you’re building you’re your castle, start by using the wet sand from the bottom of your water hole and add dry sand as needed (if the sand isn’t holding its shape. Ideally, the perfect sandcastle sand will be the consistency of cake batter). You’ll want to form your base about a foot from your water hole. Start with a base that’s about 2 feet in diameter for a solid foundation for whatever architecture you dream up.

Tip 2: Hand Stacking

This modified dribble technique can actually lead to some of the best, most intricate sandcastles on the beach. Start with big handfuls of soaking wet sand and then gently plop the sand onto your base, keeping your hands to the side of your “plop.” Very gently, jiggle the pile of sand so that it fuses and molds into the layer beneath, settling evenly. Avoid trying to pack the sand into submission; if your sand is wet enough, gravity will do all the work for you. Continue juggle until the sand stops flowing. Use your hands and your tools to shape the sand into your desired look.

Tip 3: Building Towers

Contrary to popular belief, you should actually start building your towers before you build the walls. Have in your mind a basic outline of how you want to shape your castle and put towers at the edges and corners of your design. The key to a good tower is to make flat patties of sand using the hand stacking method above. At the bottom, apply some downward pressure to your sand patties as you jiggle them. Keep stacking until they reach about 1 foot high (ease up on the pressure as the tower rises). Each patty should be slightly smaller than the one below it so that your tower grows more in height than in diameter.

Tip 4: Walls

Once you’ve built your towers, you’ll want to build some walls to connect them. You’ll start by making bricks with the hand stacking method mentioned above. Get some wet sand from the bottom of your hole and then plop it down on the space between your towers. Let it settle naturally and then carefully, without disturbing the towers, jiggle the sides to help it settle even deeper. Once it’s settled, place another plop of sand on top of it and repeat until all of your towers have walls separating them.

Tip 5: Finishing Touches

Using your plastic knife and trowel and start at the highest point to flatten and add designs to your towers and walls. Use your soft bristled brush to gently brush away loose sand so as to add more definition to your castle.

Built a sandcastle you’re seriously proud of? Share it with us on Twitter & Instagram using the hashtag #MySurfside.