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If you are serious about sandcastling.

If you are serious about sandcastling

Sand sculpting has become a business fora handful of Southern Californians who've gone professional. But while they debate whether sand sculpture is art, most people still turn to it just for fun.

Whether you want to join the pros incastle-building contests or simply add artistry to your next beach trip, you'll find these tips helpful. Our pictures illustrate Southern California architect and sand sculptor Kent Trollen's step-by-step construction process.

You can probably gather most of theequipment you'll need in your kitchen and garage: shovels, scoops, buckets for water (the 4- or 5-gallon size is most useful; it's still portable when full), basic forms (almost anything open-ended will do--such as a plastic trash bin or bucket with the bottom cut out), a sturdy stick, and a variety of carving tools.

Easy steps to get started

You can build a sandcastle on any beach,but some are better suited than others. Generally, the higher its silt content, the better the sand holds together--and that's the key to successful construction.

Once you've tested the sand, choose a site.You'll want to be on hard sand near the water--but not too near; determine where the high water line is and whether the tide is coming in or going out.

Collect your water first (you'll need aboutten 4- or 5-gallon bucketfuls for a 44-gallon trash can like the one we picture).

After leveling a spot, set your form upsidedown on the beach and shovel in 6 to 8 inches of sand. Pour in the first two buckets of water and use your hands or feet to compact the sand while tapping the outside of the form around the base with your stick to compact it further. When you see standing water with no grains floating in it, your sand is tightly compacted.

Add another 8 to 10 inches of sand to thewater and compact again. Keep adding sand, a few inches at a time, to the water until the form is full. If you compact the sand solidly at this stage, your castle will resist crumbling.

Atop the base, stack a smaller formsquarely in the center; fill it with sand and water as you did the base. Add successively smaller forms, filling each before adding the next. Remove forms beginning with the smallest; use a little water for lubrication before removing each form.

Carving roof, turrets, details

Always carve from the top down. Inrough cutting, maintaining your castle's balance is important: if you carve away a chunk from one side, remove an equal amount from the other. Occasionally, step back and look. Is your castle tilting? Are roof lines uneven? If you don't like what you see, try to make adjustments. Next, carve the details.

When you've finished, you can decidewhether to leave the castle to the sea or bombard it yourself. Trollen prefers to leave his castles for others to enjoy.

Photo: 1. Ball holds together--a sign that sand packs well on this beach. Take a sample just below the tide line, where the sand is saturated

Photo: 2. Castle stability depends on alevel base. After shovering flat spot for biggest form--bottomless trash can--he checks with a level

Photo: 3. He lets nature do some work;incoming surf fills a pair of 5-gallon buckets. He'll pour water into form, then shovel in sand

Photo: 4. As if stomping grapes, he'scompacting water and sand with his weight. (Add water and sand alternately until form is full)

Photo: 5. Remove forms by lifting frombelow while tapping base with stick. They're using evenly spaced shovels to lift large form

Photo: 6. Expect a crowd. Adults and children watch as elegantpediment, gables, and flying buttresses emerge from a foundation that's incongruously still lumpy (because you sculpt from the top down). Base became tall octagon

Photo: Tools of the trade(stainless steel implements with offset handles are best; try a hardware, crafts, building, or kitchen supply store): 1, 7 masonry trowels; 2 level; 3, 5, 6 cooking spatulas; 4 spackling knife; 8, 12 pottery fettling knife and tool; 9, 11 melon baller, apple corer; 10 palette knife; 13 dental cement spatula. At right, he's using a plastic straw to blow loose sand from a detail cut with palette knife
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
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Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Aug 1, 1987
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