Summer may be coming to a close as kids are heading back to school; but that doesn’t mean the days at the beach are over. Some of my best memories were spent on empty beaches in Ocean City, MD after the tourists left well into late September. If you find yourself exploring a local beach after the summer season; or live at the beach year round, here are 4 tips for sand sculptures like the pros make.

Try out these 4 tips to create sand sculptures like a pro.

Try out these 4 tips to create sand sculptures like a pro. Photo Courtesy of Team Sandtastic

An empty beach after the tourist season is a glorious site. You can sit back with a book and the kids can expand their imaginations and build sand sculptures. In Maryland, we can visit the beach well into October; we won’t swim but can enjoy the cool sand and calm surroundings.

Do your kids tire of the basic sand castle and moat only for it to be knocked down by a huge wave? Mark Mason is the owner of Team Sandtastic, a professional sand sculpting team recognized as one of the best in the world.  They’ve won numerous competitions and hold the world record for the tallest sand castle ever hand built.  From August 26 – Sept 4, their work will be on display at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort as part of Sandtastic Weekends.

sand sculpture

Explore Sandtastic Weekends at Swan and Dolphin Resorts in Orlando

If you’re not planning to go pro, Mason offers the following simple tricks to take your sand sculpting to the next level:

1) Make the most of household items

You likely already own most of the best sand sculpting tools available.  They are common household goods that can typically be found in your garage and your kitchen.  In the garage look for small paint brushes; gardening spade shovels and something flat and 2×4 in size.  In the kitchen, look for spatulas, melon ballers, cake icing spreaders, measuring spoons, straws and wooden shish kabob spears.  All of these are great carving tools.  We always take our own spade and mini shovel (not plastic) to the beach with us. My husband is not one to just whip a castle together, he takes hours to work on a masterpiece.
4 Tips for a Novice to Create Sand Sculptures Like a Pro

4 Tips for a Novice to Create Sand Sculptures Like a Pro Photo Courtesy: Team Sandtastic

2. Use a bigger bucket 

If you want a bigger sculpture, you’ll need a bigger bucket.  Those plastic children’s sand buckets offer the right idea; put sand inside a bucket and turn it upside to start your sculpture, however they aren’t nearly big enough to get a good starting block to carve.  Instead, take a 5-gallon bucket and cut the bottom out.  Filled with sand, the bucket would be too heavy to flip. But with the bottom removed, you can pack it with sand from the bottom up once you place it upside down in the sand.
TravelingMom Tip: You can use an empty paint bucket or buy one at the local hardware store; we use ours to carry sand tools to the beach.

3. Sand consistency is important 

As you pack your sand, be mindful of the consistency.  The sand should be wet, but not too soupy and not too dry.  Pack in the sand 3 inches at a time, tamping it down with a 2×4 piece of plastic or wood to make sure it is packed in tightly.  Keep adding sand 3 inches at a time until you’ve filled your bucket.  If your sand consistency is good, you should be able to tap the sides of the bucket with your piece of wood and remove the bucket to have your starting sand block. 

4. Tell a story

As you decide what to create, remember that creating a collage of several shapes is easier and more interesting than holding yourself to one shape.  Instead of a person saying, “It’s a dog,” try to get them to say, “It’s a dog that’s dug a hole where a you can see a snake has been because there’s a snake coming out of a hole on the other side of the plot and it’s biting at the dog’s tail.”
Visitors can watch the pros and learn tips directly from Team Sandtastic as part of Sandtastic Weekends at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort Aug 26 -28 and Sept. 4 – 6.  The event will feature 100 tons of sculpted sand, sand sculpting clinics, amateur sculpting contests, speed sculpting demonstrations, food, entertainment, games and more.  For more information, visit
What tricks do you use when doing a sand sculpture? 
4 Tips for a Novice to Create Sand Sculptures Like a Pro

4 Tips for a Novice to Create Sand Sculptures Like a Pro Photo Courtesy of Team Sandtastic