No trip to the beach would be complete without some time spent constructing a sand castle. Although it’s a fun ocean-side pastime, there are some tried-and-true tips to ensure your creation stands tall and looks pristine, whether or not you’re a master sandcastle builder.
Here’s how to build a sandcastle step by step:
How big will your sandcastle be? Where will you build it? This is a step often skipped, regardless of whether or not you’re attempting a beginner sandcastle. Start the process by outlining the space on which your castle will stand. Preserving your lot as construction space will help you build a stable castle, as you’ll grab sand from outside the property lines you’ve etched into the beach.
As we said before, your sand won’t come from within the patch of land you’ve outlined. Instead, grab a shovel and start digging sand up and onto your property. Make sure the mound you create is larger than the castle you envision — instead of building up, you’ll whittle and shape the mound into the perfect castle.
It’s important to note that the sand you gather shouldn’t be the dry consistency on which you placed your beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas. The secret to solid sandcastle construction is to use wet sand. Try squeezing the sand in your hand — if it remains in a ball shape, it’s wet enough to build. If you’re far from the shoreline, bring buckets of water to your sand mound and add until your building material is ready to go.
Your castle’s most important feature will be its outer wall, so start building there. The mound of sand doesn’t quite have an outer border strong enough to hold the rest of your structure, so grab a shovel or use your hands to pack the sand down around the edge of your castle outline.
Make sure you pack your sand down as tight as possible — the denser your structure, the stronger it will be against beach breezes. Once the walls are done, pour some water into the middle of your mound. Then, pack that part down, too — you’ll want a level base on which to build the rest of your structure.
The buckets you’ve brought to the beach are the perfect mold for your castle’s base and towers. Fill larger buckets with moistened sand first. Pack them tightly, as you did the walls of the castle. Decide where you want to place your bucket of sand, then quickly flip it over onto that spot. Lift the bucket to reveal a cylindrical mound.
Smaller buckets of sand can be piled on top of your base row to create smaller towers, depending on your design. No matter what molds you use, always use wet sand that can tightly pack and retain its shape.
Although your bucket-shaped towers somewhat resemble a castle, it’ll be up to you to add the details to make the place really look regal. You might use your finger to draw windows or doors into the structure. Or, you could carve stones onto the tops of your towers. Dig a small moat around the outer border of your mound and fill it with water.
Of course, the beach itself is full of inspiration, too — shells, stones or sea glass are the perfect decorative elements to make your sandcastle perfect.
These are five simple steps to constructing a glorious sandcastle this summer and beyond. The most important rule of all is to have fun while you put your palace together — if you do that, you can’t go wrong.