Use moist sand. Squeeze a ball of sand in your hand for a few seconds. "If the ball stays together when you roll it around in your palm, it's perfect sand for a castle," says Justin Gordon, an award-winning professional sand sculptor in Massachusetts. "The best place to find this sand is below the tide line," says Gordon.
Start with a densely packed mound of sand. To get the best density, build up the mound gradually: Add 6 inches of sand, pack down firmly with your fists, then pour half a bucket of water on top. (You can never add too much water; any excess will just drain out.) Repeat until you've reached your desired height.
Shave away sand in thin layers. This way, you'll have more control when you're carving design details. Plus, it's easier to take away sand than it is to add it back.
Work from top to bottom. You'll lessen the chance that falling sand or an ill-placed knee will ruin your work. As you create finer details like windows and stairs, blow away excess sand using a straw.
Build towers. You'll need:
Household tools work too, though not as well: putty knife, butter knife, melon baller, two 5-gallon buckets (one with the bottom cut out), straw.
Place the bottomless bucket upside down on one side of the sand mound. Fill it a quarter full with sand, then pour in half a bucket of water. Pack in more sand until the bucket is full. Remove bucket and repeat process on the other side of the mound. For the tower roof, pack sand tightly into the funnel, place funnel upside down on top of the bucket-shaped tower, then remove by wiggling gently from side to side (see photo). Repeat on second tower. Use your hands to gently smooth the tower and roof into one shape.
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Add details to towers.
With the medium shaper, carve roofs, walls, and windows (pictured). Leave sand behind on the side of the left tower for stairs.
What child doesn’t enjoy making sandcastles? Even if it’s in their sandbox at home! We had so much fun creating this Sandcastle Keepsake and my daughter was very pleased that her baby brother wouldn’t be able to knock this one down!!
Cut your egg carton so you have the inside dividers and cups. Use the tape around your plastic cup and then tape the egg carton pieces to create a castle shape. Tape your castle to some cardboard or a thin art canvas.
Mix one part glue with one part sand using a wooden craft stick (for this project we used 2 cups of sand with 2 cups of glue) you should get a thick mixture. Use your craft stick to spread on the thick gloopy mixture onto your castle like you would ice a cake. We added some shells to the sides and sprinkled some extra sand on top while the mixture was still wet.
Once your castle is fully dry you should be able to tip off all the excess sand. We gave ours a light coat in some clear aerosol varnish to help seal and preserve it. *Ours dried in 8 hours when we placed it in a warm spot in the sun – it may take longer depending on your climate.
We think this sand mixture would be perfect for making lots of creative school projects – we have some great ideas that we plan to create and share here on the blog soon…watch this space.
Click HERE to see more FUN activities and crafts that use sand!
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The latest release of Sandcastle can be dowloaded at https://github.com/EWSoftware/SHFB/releasesThe following step-by-step guide will help you to set up Sandcastle with Visual Studio 2015
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With the weather warming and summer just around the corner, trips to the beach are slowly becoming a part of the routine again. But sometimes making it to the beach as often as we would like to isn't always feasible. Here’s a great craft that will bring you and your child right back to those lazy, sand-filled days at the beach, and tide you over until your next trip. With some sand and some cornstarch, your child can create her very own sand castle at home that won't wash away.
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I knew as soon as we decided on a mermaid theme for Trouble’s 4th birthday that a sand castle cake would be perfect. I had seen a few really photos on Pinterest, I just couldn’t find any detailed instructions. Since paying hundreds of dollars for a professionally decorated cake was out of the question, I decided to go with plan B: wing it!
I kinda prefer plan B anyways. 😉
Let me just start by saying that I am not a professional baker, or even anything close to it, but what I lack in technical skill I make up for with sheer determination. I’m not going to lie, this cake took forever and a day to make. It was truly a labor of love. But, when all is said and done I was so happy I put in the time because it truly was the focal point of the entire party. Luckily I already had most of the cake ingredients already on hand in my stockpile.
Now, a word about cakes. I am not a professional baker, but I do love to bake. After trying lots of from-scratch cake recipes, I decided that boxed cake mixes are much easier, the texture is often better, and they taste just as good. However, the frosting makes HUGE difference! I almost always make this homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting for my cakes. It is super easy and SO much better than the store-bought stuff!
4 boxes of cake mix vegetable oil eggs graham crackers coconut white or brown sugar 4 sugar cones 5 coconut marshmallows (optional) 1 large batch cream cheese buttercream frosting candy melts seashell candy mold & starfish candy mold 9″ square cake pan 2-8″ round cake pans 1-6″ round cake pan metal cocktail shaker paper flags wooden skewers toothpicks
Step 1. Make the white chocolate seashells & starfish. This is a very easy process! Simply melt the candy melts in the microwave per the bag instructions, then place melted chocolate into a decorating bag, cut off a small hole at the tip, and pipe into the molds. Place in refrigerator to harden for 15-20 minutes, then pop out of the mold. I found that one bag of melts was enough to exactly fill my starfish mold and seashell mold 1 time each.
Step 2. Toast coconut for the sand mixture. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then lay out several cups of coconut on a baking sheet. Toast in oven for 10-12 minutes until coconut is completely golden brown, stirring several times throughout the process to ensure it is toasted evenly.
Step 3. Make “sand” mixture. Place 2-3 packages graham crackers, toasted coconut, and several cups of white or brown sugar (I used white to get a lighter sand) into a 12 cup food processor and process until mixture resembles a fine sand.
Step 4. Begin making cakes according to the box directions. This process will take a while since you will have to re-use the same pans multiple times. Be sure to grease and flour your pans VERY well each time, especially the cocktail shaker.
Here is the breakdown of how I baked them:Box 1 (strawberry): square pan, 6″ round pan, cocktail shaker; reserved small amount in bowl. (See photo below) Box 2 (strawberry). same as Box 1 Box 3 (coconut). 2 8″ round pans, cocktail shaker filled with excess strawberry from boxes 1 & 2 Box 4 (coconut). square pan, 6″ round pan, cocktail shaker
Tip: Before baking, tap each cake pan firmly on counter several times to release any air bubbles. This will improve your cake’s texture and help it to bake flatter!
Step 5. Let all your cake layers cool completely; refrigerate if desired to make them firmer and easier to work with.
Step 6. Make your “turrets” and “battlements” out of sugar cones and marshmallows. First, cut the tip of the cone with a sharp knife enough so that the flags will fit in the hole. Next, smooth frosting over the cone and roll in “sand” mixture until it is completely covered. Repeat process with marshmallows. Set aside or refrigerate until needed.
Step 7. It is almost time to start assembling your cake, but first you need a base! Cut out a piece of cardboard in a rounded wavy rectangle as shown.
Step 8. Make your “towers.” Cut the bottom of your cooled and chilled cocktail shaker cakes so that the stand up straight. Roll in sand mixture, much like you did with the sugar cones and marshmallows. I found this was easiest to do by sticking a few skewers through the tower so I had something to hold on to. Be sure to get the top as well!
Step 9: It is finally assembly time! If all went according to plan, you should have 3 square layers for your base. Level the layers with a cake leveler if necessary, then place the first layer on your cardboard base, add a thick layer of frosting, the add the second layer, followed by more frosting and the third layer. Frost most of the top and the sides, then carefully add “sand” so that it sticks to the frosting. The goal is to get the whole cake covered with sand.
Step 10. Level the two 8″ round cakes if necessary. Lay the first cake flat side down on top of square cakes. Spread a thick layer of frosting, then add the second 8″ cake flat side up. Spread sides and top edges with frosting, then once again cover the frosting with sand mixture.
Step 11: Repeat this process with the three 6″ round layers. For that section, I found it easiest to assemble the three layers on the counter, then frost and roll the sides in sand like with the tower pieces. Once the top 6″ round layer is in place, push some skewers through the top of cake through all layers to add extra stability, then frost and sand the top of the cake.
Step 12. Once the entire cake has been frosted and sanded it is time to add the towers to the four corners. Use the cocktail shaker to cut out each cake corner, then spread frosting over exposed cake pieces and press tower into place. Add a dollop of frosting to the top of the tower to secure turret in place, and push straw flag through the cone into cake so it stays in place. Cover any cracks or exposed frosting with sand.
Step 13. Add the battlements to the top of the cake by placing a toothpick in each one and pressing into place.
Step 14. Add the finishing touches to your cake! Use the seashells and starfish to embellish the top and sides, then, when the cake is in place on the table, use remaining sand to cover the cardboard and make the cake look like it is sitting in a patch of sand. Your guests–and your guest of honor–will be blown away!
Do you bake your own birthday cakes? What’s the most creative cake you’ve made (or ordered)?
I want to attempt this for my daughter’s 1st birthday but I’m terrified. How long did you bake the various sized pans? Each would be different times, no? I suppose I’m asking mostly for the shaker and 6″. Also, how many packages of coconut vs. how many cups of sugar for 2-3 packages of grahams? I can imagine running out of “sand” and by then being totally DONE. Any specifics would be SO helpful!
This great! Thank you so much! My husband and our daughter share a birthday so I always try to make a party that works for both of them…this year will be The Little Mermaid, her cake will have scales and a mermaid and his will be a sandcastle – I am so glad I found your tutorial. I want to make this the day before, should I store overnight in the fridge? I’m worried about the coconut mixture getting soggy
Could you make the “sand” without coconut? My daughter is does not like coconut.
Also, Do you add anything to the cake mixes to make them more firm? I notice that my cake mixes turn out quite “airy”.
Thanks! It looks amazing! This is project for the weekend.