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Create a Sandcastle

Enjoy this video on how to create your very own Sandcastle

Cannon Beach Sandcastle Building Tutorial 2021

Date: June 5, 2021

Hi, my name is Amos Callender co-captain of Team Form Finders and I’m going to walk you through how to build a sandcastle. What do you need to know about sandcastles? Well, you need to know a few parts about how sand comes together, what holds it together, you need to come up with some design work, some ideas sketches, and then what kind of tools you're going to have to use to get it all to come to your vision to make it happen.

Design and Concept/Brainstorming

So, working out your design and concept, you want to get a team of people together and just have fun with it. Get a vision and idea, what is it that you want to do, is it something fun whimsical. We like to do some concepts of ‘play on words’ is really fun. The crowds really like that or other things like ‘small things big’ or ‘big things small’. Just something that's creative and unique and then start sketching. Take those ideas to do some brainstorming.


So, go through some of the tools you might need to build a sandcastle, starting maybe with the form. So really getting the sand wet and compact it you need something to contain that. So, in wood forms or buckets, buckets with the hole cut out at the bottom so you can put that upside down in the sand pack that with sand and water. Really, the key to keeping the sand standing up vertical is to get all the water and sand mixed together. The sand is really pieces of glass; you get two pieces of glass you get the surface tension between them that holds it all together.

So, round forms, wood forms, whatever you need. You could build the wood forms, you could build the round forms but start with a bucket that's probably the easiest. Cut the hole out of the bottom of the bucket and then you can use that fill that with a few inches of sand, cover that with water, tamp it down with whatever you got make it nice and firm, and then just keep building that up in layers. Four-inch layers is probably ideal or you just keep building that up however high you want to go. I wouldn't do more than two feet vertical lift at a time and then kind of make like a wedding cake or a tiered cake.

You want to start with a big base then the next level up, a little bit smaller, a little bit smaller. Sand naturally wants to lay flat I think maybe 20/30 degrees is your kind of angle for a natural slope, so think of it as a pyramid shape that's really the root mass shape of what you're looking at and then you can start taking it away from there.

Building Tools

So, what kind of tools do you need to get that sand in the buckets that you have? Definitely, a shovel, a long handle if you're going up high just to fling that sand up. Your buckets with the hole cut out so you can pound that in and layer that up. Here's a little tamper that you might use to help get that compacted. Another tools be helpful would be a rake so when you're done with your plot, and everything's finished you can clean up the edges and make it smooth and just really finish it out well. Or if the sand consistency you want it to be wet. This is too wet but if you work it little, that's just about right. If you toss it up in the air and it doesn't fall apart you know that's going to be a pretty good consistency.

Description of Completed Sculpture

Here we have been working on a piece. You can see we've already got the top detailed out and the bottom form peeled off and the last form we still have up we'll get to that later. The concept you want to do is you want to work from top down. You want to do all your detail work at top and then just keep working down. If you start your detail down below and still leave that top unfinished when you start getting back to that you're going to carve off from sand and that's going to fall down and mess up your pieces below. So that's the idea; top down. Get that finished and then just keep working your way down to the bottom. We're going to walk you through a few sand carving techniques.

Type of Sand to Use

So, when you're working with sand, you don't want to carve into dry sand. If you do, it's loose it's just going to fall right off. You want to make sure and have a sprayer or if you're carving off of just a freshly pulled form it's going to be nice and wet already. But spray down the sand; you could use a little spritz bottle those work as well too, get it nice and wet that way the sand grains will hold together.


And then I like to score my lines first come in with the shape that you want to cut, get it to lay out just right and then if you like what you're doing then you can come in and start carving. Cut away from the line and come again from the top. What you're looking for is a nice crisp line in the sand, it gives you kind of a shadow detail effect, so it really accentuates the piece you just sculpted carved. Loop tools, other details you can come in. You can do letters and carve out letter shapes.

Again, you want to be careful of those edges, when you're carving you want to try to carve away from the edge so you're not breaking off the sand level at the sand corners. Sometimes some quick shapes you need to first start roughly get a rough idea of what kind of quick rough shape you want, so you might do some really big bold moves. With sand it's really hard to put sand back together, so just be mindful when you're carving that you're always taken away it's subtractive; very difficult to add sand back to a pile, a piece. And here we have our final piece.


So, another part of sandcastle making is composition. When you do your layout you also, kind of want to position things in different ways. Work with your elements; tall stuff in the back, shorter things up front so then nothing's blocking the stuff behind it. And in composition also, you want to have things like the eight steps; you consider your background, your landscape things like that. We have a seal, the beach ball, the giant sun, our theme ‘Here Comes The Sun”, a little boy with a rabbit in front, another child working on a sandcastle, and our surfboard sign here on the left ‘Here Comes The Sun’.

So, Team Form Finders you can find us on our Facebook page Team Form finders. We've been together for about 12 years now going to various competitions here up down the Washington, Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach, Long Beach, ocean shores. We have a team of about 15, we cycle through most competitions allow eight to ten people so we kind of take a pool every year to see who can actually compete. Lots of people want to join us, help out. It's always great fun and by far Cannon Beach is our favorite beach to show up at.

Form Finder Team