A variant on the sand castle is the drip castle, made by mixing
extra water in with the sand, and dripping this wet sand from a
fist held above. When the sand/water slurry lands on existing sand
structures, the water is rapidly wicked away leaving the blob of
sand in place. The effect is Gaudi-esque.
Sand Sculpture Contests
Sand castles are typically made by children, simply for the fun
of making them. However, adults sometimes engage in contests
making sand sculptures, in which the goal is to create structures
which don't appear to be constructed just from sand; they can
become large and complex. Other vulnerable media are ice and
snow, leading to ice sculptures and snow sculptures.
On the other hand, adults can find sand castle
construction to be almost "Zen-like" in its ability
to create total focus and relaxation. Whether an hour or a day,
alone or with
of friends or family, sand castle play is increasingly seen as
adult leisure time activity for beach vacationers.
An example of extremely sophisticated sand art is the Buddhist
Sand Castle Construction
The sand must be fine, or the wetted grains will not stick together.
Dry sand is loose, wet sand adherent, except when it is too wet.
Sand used in the construction may dry or get wetter, changing
the integrity of the structure; "landslides" are common.
The main tools for construction are a shovel (although
using the hands only is also common) and a bucket or other container
water from the sea to the "construction site". Also pieces
of wood etc. can be used to reinforce structures.
Sand sculpting has been around for many decades
and has become very popular more recently with hundreds of competitions
over the world every year. It has become quite sophisticated and
can be found in the book of world records as well as in many commercial
and promotional applications. Some advocates are purists using
no artificial materials, no forms or coloring, no glue or heavy
machinery. One such artist, G. Augustine Lynas, has been doing
public sculptures for 50 years. He designs them to be gradually
destroyed by the tide, encouraging emotional attachment to the
disappearing art. His works are usually representational, and often
combine anatomical forms with architecture and landscape. Some
pieces are enormous, some small. A few are dry and low relief,
while others are tall and highly detailed. Some employ optical
illusions or gravity defying undercuts. His book and film, both
titled "Sandsong", have been available through his website
Alternatives to Sand Castles – Other
Forms of Sand Sculpture
One of the main attractions of a sandy beach, especially for
children, is playing with the sand, with more possibilities
than a sandbox.
One can make a mountain, a pit (encountering clay or the water
table), canals, tunnels, bridges, a sculpture (representing
a person, animal, etc. like a statue, or a scale model of
etc. Tunnels large enough to enter should be strongly discouraged;
children have been killed by collapses of underground chambers
and such a collapse is guaranteed if wave swash reaches the
structure. If a small stream enters the beach, one or more
dams can be constructed
to hold back lakes of stream water. Almost as much fun as building
beach dams is deliberately breaking them to cause a flood.
If the beach is at an ocean, or at a sea connected to an
there can be tides. These tides add attractive dynamics: on
flood-tides the rising water enters previously dry ditches
and pits, and
one can try to keep areas dry by dikes, etc.; on ebb-tides
one can try to keep water in a canal by deepening it and
it, keeping it connected to the retracting sea. If one returns
the next day much erosion is apparent—in fact only large
excavations at all survive one excursion of the tide, and beach
dynamics soon enough smooth out the surface, erasing everything.