Professional Sand Sculpting – The Archisand Process

Professional sand sculpting is an art form.  While it is an awesome job to have, sand sculpting does take a lot of work.  Anyone who has ever tried to build a sand castle while they were vacationing at the beach can tell you that it’s harder to build that work of art then you think.

That’s why at Archisand, just as much time, if not more, goes into planning our sand sculptures as it does building them.  If you’ve ever wondered what it takes for an Archisand professional sand sculpture to be built, here’s a little look into our process.

At Archisand, our sand sculptures all start in the same place – in a sketch pad.  Whether we are coming up with a design for a competition or creating a design based on our clients’ needs, we always create a sketch to work with.

You can check out our online sand sculpture sketch gallery to see the amount of work we put into our sculptures before we ever put or toes in the sand.  A detailed sketch helps us to fine tune our design and can make it easier to direct artists when it comes time to sculpt.

Once our sand sculpture design is set and approved by the client, it’s time to get started.  But we can’t just run to the beach, gather up some sand and start sculpting.  Professional sand sculptures require a lot of preparation.  The first step in preparing to sculpt is choosing the right sand for the design and creating a strong foundation. 

Building the Sand Sculpture Foundation

A fine grain sand is usually the best option and provides finer detail then courser sand grains.  The sand is layered and moistened and then compacted.  Compacting the sand ensures the sand will not crumble once sculpting begins.  You can learn more about the compacting process in our sand sculpture tutorial.

Life-Size Design Helps Sculptors Get Proportions Perfect

As you can see from the photos of this recent sand sculpture we did, we use a life-size sketch of the design to ensure we have the right proportions before we begin sculpting.  We also use a grid pattern to help us translate the design to the sand perfectly.

Grid Patterns Help Sculptors Transfer the Design from the Sketchbook to the Sand

Once the sand is prepared, we can begin forming the design in the sand.  It’s always best to start from the top and work your way down.  If you start from the bottom, sand that is removed as you sculpt upper portions of your design can ruin work you’ve already done.

Start Sculpting from the Top and Work Down

The sculpting process can take hours and professional tools are needed in order to get the sculpture perfect.  You can learn more about the tools we use to create professional sand sculptures in our sand sculptor tutorial.

Many of our clients request that we sculpt during their event.  This provides great entertainment for their guests.  Whether we are sculpting the sand for a competition, as a centerpiece for an event or as part of entertainment for guests, maintenance is required.  In order for the sand sculpture to last as long as possible, it needs to remain moist.  A quick spritz of fresh water will help to keep the sand from crumbling.   We also always take photos of the finished sculpture – that way, even when the party is over, the memory can last forever.

Completed Sand Sculpture Takes Hours to Perfect

Building a professional sand sculpture is definitely a time consuming process, but it is an awesome process to watch.  If you ever have the chance to see an Archisand artist at work, you’ll be amazed at what they can do.  We have done hundreds of sculptures and we are often hired to create engagement and wedding sculptures or to make one-of-a-kind centerpieces for parties, corporate events and galas – so be sure to look for us at the next party you attend.

And check out our online sand sculpture gallery to see the great work we have done.

It’s Summer all Year Long

It’s the middle of January.  The days are cold and short and most of us are dreaming of summer vacations, tropical getaways and warm beaches.  Well, while it might be winter outside, there’s no reason why you can’t bring summer to you today.

Some of the best parties we have made sand sculptures for have been summer-themed parties in the middle of winter.  If you’re planning a birthday party, a shower, an engagement party, a company meeting or any get together, think about making it summer or beach themed – your guests will love the idea of having a little sneak preview of the coming season.  Here are a few tips on how you can make a great summer party in the winter.

1)    Décor
Nothing sets the tone for your party like décor.  It’s the first thing people will see when they arrive and it really makes people feel transported to different part of the world.  One of the most important elements of any summer party is sand.  Sand is always a must and it really helps bring your party or meeting to the next level.  Imagine how much your gets will love lounging in hammock with their toes buried in the sand.  Or how relaxing it will be for your employees and colleagues to be enjoying a barefoot walk on your “beach.”

Another great decor idea is to have a sand sculpture as the centerpiece of your event.  A professional sand sculpture really takes your event to the next level and makes your party or meeting very memorable.  You can have Archisand build a professional sand sculpture as a centerpiece.  We even sculpt during your event so that your guests are entertained as well as mesmerized.

2)    Catering
The food you serve at a summer themed party can really set the pace for the entire event.  If you want a gala feel, upscale summer appetizers are a great option.  For those wanting a more casual tone, try firing up the grill. 

Don’t forget the cocktails.  You can find great summer cocktail recipes that will help set the mood of your event and will add a bit of whimsy to your party.  Be sure to offer a few choices as well as a virgin option for those guests who prefer non-alcoholic beverages. 

3)    Gift Bags
One of the nicest touches you can have at any event is a swag bag that fits the theme of the party.  For a summer/beach themed party, include some great items like sunglasses, flip flops, beach towels and pool toys. 

And don’t forget the packaging.  A great raffia tote or beach bag makes a great way to store all your summer goodies.  If you’ve chosen to bring your party or event to the next level with a sand sculpture from Archisand, we can also work with you to include great photos of your guests with the sculpture or other items in the gift bags.

So what if you just don’t have the time to host a great party this winter, but you still want to celebrate summer.   Here are a few things you can do alone, with your kids or family to have a little piece of summer in January.

1)    Suit Up
It’s amazing how summery you can feel by just putting on summer attire.  Kids especially get a kick out of putting on a bathing suit and have a “pool party” in the bathtub.   Break out the beach ball and water guns and you’ll be amazed how long your kids will be entertained.

2)    Get Cooking
Even if you aren’t having a party, a BBQ with just your immediately family can really make you feel like you’re on vacation.  Choose your summer favorites – watermelon, ribs, steaks, hotdogs, etc and get grilling.  The smell alone will help you get through the next few months before summer arrives

3)    Break Out the Sand
Nothing says summer like a great sand castle.  Use your child’s sandbox or head to your local home improvement store and buy a couple of bags of sand and get to work.  You can check out our professional sand sculpture tutorial and practice making sand castles all winter long.

4)    Indoor Picnics
It might be cold outside, but inside it’s the perfect temperature for a picnic.  Spread a blanket on the floor and pack a lunch.  It’s a simple and easy way to make an ordinary day special.

So whether you are planning a low-key summer family day at home or want to have a great summer/beach themed party or event, don’t let the weather outside deter you.  At Archisand, we believe it’s never too cold for summer.  If you want to learn more about how to elevate your summer themed party to a grand event with a professional sand sculpture, contact Archisand and we’ll be happy to help.

Archisand Travels to Cabo San Lucas for Sculpture and Sand Castle Competition

While most the country was knee deep in snow—even the blue skies of California saw some dark rain clouds—Archisand soaked in rays and built a sand sculpture for Hacienda Beach Club & Residences in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, part of their First Annual Sand Man Sand Castle competition.
For three days in late December, Archisand work on a 20 ton, 6’ by 30’ long sand sculpture of Hacienda’s logo, including a marlin swordfish.  The team received help from staff and from guests at Hacienda, who enjoyed being able to watch and participate in the process of building the sand sculpture.
Besides building the sand sculpture, Archisand also organized Hacienda’s first annual sand castle building contest for their guests.  Four groups entered and all turned out great.
With this trip to Cabo San Lucas, Archisand’s worked on projects in a variety of locations outside of southern California, including nearly every major West Coast city.  In March, Archisand again will be outside the U.S., this time in New Zealand at the Christ Church for a sand castle competition.
Thanks for all those who participated in Hacienda’s First Annual Sand Man Sand Castle competition, here are the results:
First Place                        Oscar Martin, Element Group
Second Place                   Brett Stocker, Abril Y Mayo
Third Place                      Nick Becker, Sailing Sand Makers
Fourth Place                    Antonio Vargas, Amate
Here is a panoramic video of our Hacienda sand sculpture!

Building the Perfect Professional Sand Castle

Learn How to Build a Sand Castle  Like the Professionals

It doesn’t seem to matter when or where you grew up, just seeing a sand castle takes you back to childhood.  All of us at Archisand are lucky enough to be able to relive our youth each day while building professional sand sculptures for weddings, corporate retreats and other special events, but we still always get such a kick out of seeing the awe on people’s faces when they check out our sand castles and sculptures.  It is as if they are transported back in time to childhood.  You can almost see the gears turning as they begin fantasizing about the sand castles they will make during their next trip to the beach.

The good news for folks like this is that you don’t have to be a professional sand sculptor to make a great sand castle.  While it’s true that all of us at Archisand have won competitions for our sand sculpting, we don’t all have degrees in architecture (though some of us do) or art or design – we all just have a love and talent for sculpting sand (check out our professional sand sculpture bios to learn more about the Archisand team).  And you can too!
While it might be cold outside, it’s never too early to start thinking about building your own sand sculpture and really honing your skills.  Practice is what sets amateurs apart from professionals and there is no better time to start practicing then now.  So no matter if you just want to get a head start on planning a huge oceanfront castle for your summer vacation or if you want to tell your Valentine you love them with a little help from the neighbor kid’s sandbox (check out our love-inspired sand sculptures for ideas), Archisand can help. So without further ado . . .
The Archisand Guide to Sand Sculpting
Step 1:  Plan
Like most things, sand sculpture doesn’t just happen out of thin air.  Yes, there are times when something awesome happens on a whim, but for the most part, planning can take your sand castles to the next level.  Here are a few planning tips:
A.    Make a Design:  Think about what you want your finished sand sculpture to look like and make a sketch.  You can fine tune your sketch prior to building and if you have others helping you with the sculpture, your sketch will help them better understand what you want.  Check out Archisand’s professional sand sculpture design gallery for some great ideas and sketches.
B.    Choose the Right Sand:  Believe it or not, the consistency and structure of sand can make a significant difference in your sculpture.  Most professional sand sculptors use very fine grain sand, as it holds water better and allows the artist to achieve more detail in the sculpture.
C.   Find the Best Location:  There is nothing worse than creating an awesome sand sculpture only to have it swept away by the tides.  Before you build, take a few minutes to learn the tide schedule and be sure to locate your sculpture above high tide to preserve it for as many to view as possible.
D.   Arm Yourself Properly:  You can’t build a professional sand sculpture without some professional tools.  For the best results, put together a sand sculpting kit that contains, shovels, buckets, a hand-held spray bottle, masons trawls and palette knives.
Step 2:  Sculpt
Once you’ve chosen your location, collected all your tools and sketched out your sand sculpture, it’s time to get started. Here’s how to make your sculpture:

A.     Build a Foundation:  A sand sculpture is only as good as its foundation, so be sure to spend some time making your base sturdy.  Start by shoveling sand into a pile and soaking it with water. Once you have your sand pile the approximate size you want, you will need to compact it with your feet, or if you’re really feeling like a professional, use a landscape hand held compactor.
B.    Work from the Top Down:  When it’s time to carve your sand sculpture, one of the most important rules to follow is to begin carving from the top of the sand pile and work your way down to the bottom.  This basic rule is rarely broken successfully.   
C.   Choose Your Tools:  Different tools will give your sand sculpture very different looks. Be sure to experiment with your tools to find out what looks best in your design.  The more you sculptures you make, the more you will be able to envision which tools will work best for your design.
Step 3:  Enjoy
Unfortunately, sand sculptures can’t last forever, but there are a few things you can do to help make your castle stay around as long as possible.  Try these simple steps:
A.    Spray it Down:  Keeping your sculpture moist will help it stay intact longer.  Simply use a hand held spray bottle full of fresh water to keep your sculpture moist.

B.    Capture the Memory:  Be sure to photograph your masterpiece before it crumbles.  So whether it’s the wind, a wave or a destruction-loving 12-year-old that topples your sand castle, at least you will have a photo to remember your sculpture.  Photos last a lifetime and you will enjoy sharing them with your family and friends

So now you know the secrets of the sand sculpting professionals.  Just remember, it takes time and practice to become great at anything, so be sure to try and try again.  And as always, if all of this seems like too much work, contact Archisand to create your sand sculpture for you. You will be amazed at what we can create for you!  And maybe seeing a professional sand sculpture up close will inspire you to try it yourself.

Archisand to construct sand sculptures at the Hacienda Hotel in Cabo San Lucas

Archisand will be creating The Hacienda Hotel’s Logo in sand as a part of the resort’s holiday celebrations. On the 29th of December the Hacienda Hotel, in Cabo San Lucas, will host a sand sculpture competition that is open to the public. Archisand will be conducting workshops from the 27th to the 29th on how to create sand sculptures. go to the Hacienda link to learn more about the event.
Archisand will post Photographs and video of the event in early January…

Archisand builds a snowman in the sand for MEA Digital

Where does one turn for a little winter delight in Southern California—but our last snowflakes fell more than 20 years ago?  The beach, of course!  Archisand spent the day building a Sandman (yes, sandman!) for the guys at MEA Digital at Imperial Beach.  Known for their creative marketing strategies, MEA Digital teamed up with Archisand to create the ultimate online Holiday Greeting Card.
With a time-lapse camera set up for the whole construction process, MEA Digital’s staff took turns posing for the camera, holding up unique signs, and showing their holiday spirit.
With Archisand’s Sandman, MEA Digital sent out a memorable digital greeting card to their clients—one we have a feeling won’t soon end up in the waste bin!
Here is MEA Digital’s Holiday Greetings Card
Check out more images on our flickr

Archisand Creates Oregon Duck’s mascot in sand

Archisand founding member Greg LeBon is an Oregon Alum from the class of 82 – BArch. He is fired up about the recent Ducks success on the football field. He has created this way cool sand sculpture to show his support

see more Duck images on Flickr.
also watch a portion of the duck’s creation below.

Go Ducks!

Archisand to be featured on Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Fed Cup Nov. 6 & 7

On Monday morning, with the Pacific Ocean as the back drop, Archisand created a sand sculpture for the Tennis Channel’s coverage of the Women’s Fed Cup Final Tennis Championship.  Tennis Channel plans to use the sand sculpture throughout its two-day telecast of the event that takes place on November 6th and 7th, beginning at noon each day.  The United States will face Italy at the San Diego Sports Arena in a rematch of last year’s final for the Fed Cup crown. 
Tennis Channel’s coverage of the event begins at noon, make sure to watch and see Archisand—once again—on national television!
More information on the Tennis Channel’s coverage and on the Fed Cup can be found here and here.

Click here for more photos of the Fed Cup Final sand sculpture