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How to Build the Perfect Sandcastle - 7 Top Tips

Say goodbye to those crumbling castles; with these 7 secrets you'll be crafting towering sea-fortresses and fairytale wonders in no time.

All you'll need is sand, water and a few tools to make some extra-special seaside memories – and if you're feeling adventurous, you can use these tricks to create epic sand sculptures too!

1. Tool Up

Before you even feel the sand between your toes, you'll want to gather up some tools to help craft your masterpiece

Spade - bring a small plastic one for little hands, and a larger wooden handled shovel to help you with the heavy lifting.

Spade
Spade

Bucket - great for collecting water and mixing, but to build sandcastles like a pro you'll want a large bucket with the bottom cut out.

Carving tools - a range of smoothing and shaping tools make it easy to add variety to your stronghold. A trowel, spatula, fork, spoon and even a ruler are all perfect.

Spade
Spade

A drinking straw - a nifty accessory for blowing off excess sand (remember to recycle!).

2. Location, Location, Location

We'd suggest a spot just below the high tide mark to begin

Just look for any bits of seaweed or a waterline. That way you’ll avoid the tide washing away your masterpiece – and you don't have too far to run for water

Top Tip: If the sea's too far out, dig a hole below the high tide line for an unending supply of water. Stop digging once you see the water starting to pool.

3. All About the Base

Your best-ever sandcastle needs a strong foundation to support it.

Start by sketching out an area in which to build and then shovel sand from outside the lines into the centre to create a large mound.

Pat it all around and make a small bowl right at the top (think volcano!).

Fill the bowl with water and get the sand really wet. Then jump, stomp and step all around the top of the mound until it's flat and compacted.

4. Build it Up Like a Boss

Grab your bucket because it's time to get building!

Plant it on top of the base, with the largest end face down.

Fill it 3/4 full with sand and pour in the water. Hop into the bucket and stomp about - you want to get it really compacted. Repeat this until you've filled it right to the top.

Clean the sand from around the bottom of the bucket, tap the sides, put your fingers underneath and whip it off!

5. Sand Designs

To add towers, bridges, archways or anything extra to your castle half-fill a bucket with sand and add an equal part of water.

Then grab a handful of the wet sand, stack it, hold it, jiggle and pat (the trick is to move quickly!).

6. Slice, Sculpt and Smooth

With your knife, trowel or spatula in hand, thinly slice into your sandcastle working from top to bottom.

You want it to look as different as possible from the simple, round shape created by the bucket, so carve out smooth sides, stairs, spires and anything you can imagine. (Don't forget your straw to blow off the loose sand!).

Top Tip: Contrast is the secret to especially enchanting castles. Use forks to make ridges, spoons to carve out arched doorways and slice undercuts and ledges to create striking overhangs and shadows.

7. Dramatic Details

Shells, stones and flowers add a bright pop of colour to your creation. Add battlements cut from a brick of wet sand and dot them evenly across the top of your fortress.

A courtyard, arches and a classic moat add extra oomph. Then down tools and grab a snap with your construction crew before the tide comes in – one for the Beach Bingo photo album!

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