Tips on How to Make Sand Sculptures

Sand Sculptures

Sand sculpting, like ice sculpting, is a particular artistic form of sculpting that isn’t permanent. Some sand sculptures are treated with acrylics and other materials when they are finished to make them last longer and make them more durable but even “permanent” sand sculptures are very fragile. 

Even though sand sculpting isn’t considered to be traditional sculpting it is still a very popular form of sculpting that is done at high end competitions and exhibitions by professional sand sculptors. Apart from that, it is also done by part time crafters and parents that are looking for a fun art project they can do with their kids.  

It doesn’t matter if you want to be a professional high end sculpture artist and you want to experiment with sand sculptures to get your feet wet when it comes to sculpting or if you’re just a part time crafter who thinks making sand sculptures to sell will be fun, you can make great sand sculptures easily by following these tips. 

Buy more sand than you think you need

Sand is cheap and plentiful. It’s probably one of the cheapest crafting materials out there so don’t skimp. Buy more than you think you need and don’t be afraid to add more. You will end up using it. 

Get the sand as wet as possible

Just dampening the sand won’t be enough to make it pliable and easy to work with. Have you ever built a sand castle at the beach? If so then you know that sand has to be soaked through in order to be wet enough to be worked over and sculpted. 

Don’t use water

This may surprise you but water is not the best way to keep your sand wet. Water will eventually dry out, and then your sand sculpture will crack. Use sand mixed with motor oil, or clay, or another type of binder. Some of these binders will add their color to the sand, so take that into consideration. You would be wise to experiment with different sand and binders to see the different colors that come out of the combinations. Then you can choose the one you want for your specific project.  

The only time that you can successfully use water to create a sand sculpture is if it’s going to a permanent sand sculpture that you plan to spray with an acrylic sealant to keep it from falling apart. Then the sealant will trap the water and prevent it from evaporating.

Make the base wide

The wider the base of your sculpture is the better it will be able to support the sculpture on top. Because sand tends to shift it can make an unsteady base for a sculpture but if you pack the sand as tightly as you can and make it as wide as possible there’s a better chance that the sculpture sitting on top of the base will stay in the correct position.

Work from the top down

Once you have a basic outline of your sculpture start from the top and work down putting in all the details. It will make the sculpture a lot easier to clean off and to repair if you’re working from the top and moving down to the base.

Use a straw

To clean off fine grains of sand or to get the sand out of fine detail work, use a straw and blow gently. That will clean off your sculpture without knocking it over or loosening the sand.


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