About Sandcastles


The history of sandcastles is something hard to rigidly define. Many sources begin by refering to the time of Ancient Egypt, when the Egyptians used sand models to outline the design of pyramids before actual construction began. Actual documnetation of the art doesn't begin though until the 16th century, and even then evidence is still rather light.

The art of building sand sculptures really gains momentum though in the late 19th century. One of the earliest documented accounts comes from a man named Philip McCord, who created a sand sculpture of a woman and a baby in 1897 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. He did it as a means to make money, which is where a lot of the documentation comes from.

In the 1970s, Todd VanderPluym and Gerry Kirk (both avid sand sculptors) created Sand Sculptors International. It is an organization that sets the standards for the art form.

Hobby.net, Sandcastle Building

Different types of sandcastles

Sandcastle construction consists of two main ingredients, sand and water. The design possibilities are endless, seeing as how a lot of it relies on the mixture of imagination and creativity. However, there are generally two types of sandcastles. One form is the "typical" sandcastle, consisting of some kind of base with some kind of tower, or towers, on top. The other form is the "drip" sandcastle, which is a when very wet sand is dripped on top of other wet sand and creates a tower of sand globs.

A variety of different consrtuction techniques can also be used when building a sandcastle. Other techniques that can be included within the design include moats, tunnels and bridges.

Art History Club, Sand Art and Play


Events surrounding sandcastles began around the late 19th century. The earliest account is that of James Taylor, a man in New Jersey who built a variety of sand sculptures while visitors would give him money.

The biggest compeptition though for sand sculpture currently is the World Championship in Sand Sculpture. It takes place every year in Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia.

An upcoming event is the 2009 International Sand Sculpture Festival, located in Cairo, Egypt. This will be the 12th year of he festival, with past themes ranging everywhere from Ancient Egypt to Films of Hollywood. This year's festival will take place from June 26, 2009 to July 1, 2009.

Kid's World article, Harrisand 2008

Professional Sand Sculptors

Some individuals have perfected the art so much so that they have been deemed "professional sculptors." Scott Herel is a two-time North American Sculpting Champion. Karen Fralich is also a professional sculptor and has been sculpting sand for 14 years. She has competed in 65 contests and is a three-time World Champion as well as a three-time North American Champion.

Sandqube, Profiles