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Saturday, April 23, 2011
Sand Castle Building 101: The Drip Castle
During our stay at Panama City Beach, Son-in-Law and I managed to create two sand castles. The first was sort of a test model, to work out our technique. The second was much more elaborate, complete with moat, outer wall, and multiple turrets. We were using the drip castle technique, rather than the artsy sand sculpture method. Our royal sand abodes came out more Disney-esque instead of Windsor-esque.
Now, I've always considered the drip method sort of ghetto. It doesn't take much skill - just a steady hand, a little patience, and the ability to endure sand and salt water in - ahem - uncomfortable places. It's perfect for those of us who are sculpturally-challenged.
If you're heading to the beach any time soon and want to leave (however briefly) your architectural mark near the surf, here's a Drip Castles For Dummies (though you are certainly no dummy):
Choose your property. Take stock of current tides. It's no good staking out something in the deep soft sand or too close to the water. There's a sweet spot near the water where the sand is nice and damp, but not too drippy. You'll know it when you see it.
Round? Square? Other? Decide the basic shape of your castle. Our first one was round; the second, square. Hexagon works, too.
Scoop out your moat. A moat helps as waves encroach on your turf (is sand turf?) and protects your creation until high tide.
Do you want a battlement wall around your castle? If so, start building up a wall, packing the sand as you build (you'll cover it with drips later). Be sure to leave a nice opening on one side so that you can work on the main building.
Start building up your castle with packed sand. We use a bucket to load in the sand. Give it the shape you want.
Now for the drip part. If you're close enough to the water, you only have to dig down a little way to hit the water you can use to help with the dripping. If not, fill a bucket about 3/4 full with water, then add sand. Yeah, you'll have to make lots of water-totin' trips.
Grab a handful of wet sand from your bucket and let it drip over the packed sand. Drip it over the whole thing. Then start creating towers and turrets. The sand has to be really wet to build up delicate spires. It's easy-peasy, once you get the hang of it.
If you've built a wall around your castle, cover it with drips, too. And add shells or seaweed to decorate.
That's all there is to it. People were really impressed with the results, and we were pleased with our morning's work. And remember, you'll always knock one tower down as you create another, and/or destroy a wing when you step wrong or spill a bucket of water. But that's the fun. Creating. Re-creating.