After digging through books, DVDs, and Web sites, we've found all you need to know to build killer sand castles.

By Kristen Shelton
June 18, 2007
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Sandcastles Made Simple: Step-by-Step Instructions, Tips, and Tricks for Building Sensational Sand Creations
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Sandcastles Made Simple: Step-by-Step Instructions, Tips, and Tricks for Building Sensational Sand Creations by Lucinda Wirenga; available at .
This is the ultimate guide to building impressive sand castles. Lucinda, a world-renowned sand sculptor, offers detailed instructions on how to create each structural element.

Sandcastles: Great Projects: From Mermaids to Monuments by Patti Mitchell; available at .
Appropriate for adults and children, this informative volume contains instructions about creating sundials, sand castles, and even a rendition of the Guggenheim museum.

A Day at the Beach: How Absolutely Anyone Can Successfully Build Sand Castles and Build Even Better Beach Memories by D.R. Smith; available at .

If your current method involves only sand, water, and bucket molds, this book is for you. Narrated by a colorful toy shovel, it explains the art of building sand castles in a clear yet creative way.

How to Build the Perfect Sand Castle with Sandman Matt Long ; available at Matt Long believes that everyone can create beautiful castles―with basic instructions. In this DVD, he gives great tips on wetting and packing sand, and other tricks.

Sandcastling for Beginners ; available at From the author of Sandcastles Made Simple, this DVD provides novice sculptors with basic instructions for creating dramatic sand castles. Learn where to dig your hole and how to make a "Texas snowball" in just minutes.

Intermediate Sandcastling ; available at The next step in sand sculpting, this video teaches you how to carve trees, letters, and even logos in the sand.

If you have some extra time at the beach this summer and want to learn more about sand-castle building, schedule a private lesson. (It's not as expensive as you might think―average prices run from $50 to $75 per hour.) Sandcastle Central offers a comprehensive list of sculptors in coastal states from California to New Jersey. See the list at
To build the perfect sand castle, you need a little more than the plastic pail you used as a child. Many Web sites offer bundles of tools from basic to deluxe. Shop around to find exactly what you need.

"Can You Dig It Sand Tools" Super Deluxe Sand Sculpting Kit is billed as "everything you need to build the best castles ever … in one box." Equipped with a bucket, form set, six plastic tools for shaping and sculpting, and an instructional DVD, it may live up to its claim; available at

Sons of the Beach offers sculptors-to-be various options from a three-piece starter set for just $16.50 all the way to the deluxe set for $90; available at

Some of the best beginners' tools can often be found in your own home. Scavenge these items in your garage or kitchen to get you started:

  • A bucket to carry water and sand
  • A plastic straw to blow away loose sand
  • A small soft-bristle paintbrush to erase knife marks and brush away loose sand
  • A spray bottle to keep the sand moist
  • Shovels and trowels to help sculpt (For bigger castles, don't use plastic beach shovels.)
  • Plastic knives, butter knives, and putty knives to carve and shape your castle