How to build sandcastles

With such beautiful beaches in Whitby and along the Yorkshire coast, it would be a shame to visit without knowing how to build sandcastles! We’ve seen some really impressive structures on our beaches over the years.

Check out our tips for making impressive sandcastles to help with your next trip to the seaside.

How to build sandcastles

We’ve searched and practiced and come up with some top tips for creating sandcastles you can be really proud of!

Wet the sand

You can’t work with dry sand, it just doesn’t want to join in the fun. You need to use wet sand to make sure your castles stick together and hold.

But, you don’t want your sand to be too wet! Excess water needs to be able to drain away or it’ll be unworkable and sloppy.

children on the beach learning how to make sandcastles

Compact it down

Squish the sand down so it’s nice and compacted after you’ve wet it to give you a solid material to work with. You needs you walls and towers to be nice and strong so you can admire your work and play with it once it’s complete.

Pick the right tools

To do your sandcastle justice, you need to have some tools to hand. Yes, you can make them with nothing more than your hands, but if you really want to wow tools are a must. The very least, you’ll want a bucket and spade to help you reach the good wet sand under the dry top layers and to help you compact it down.

Carving tools are essential if you want to do some intricate decoration. A pastry knife can be really helpful to bring with you for this, but any rounded knives or handles from your picnic cutlery can work after you’ve had your food. A small, soft paintbrush is also really handy for getting rid of loose bits of sand from your carving.

Make it tall

If you’re after a really tall sandcastle, you’ll need to be careful and make sure your sand keeps hold of its moisture. Damp sand is strong sand, and you can shape it carefully and grow your towers handful by handful.

First, make sure you’ve got a nice compact base to build on. Then, gently plop handfuls of sand on top, gently patting them into the desired shape.

Where you can, jiggle the sand as your build and shape your structures. The vibrations you make helps the sand stick together. Jiggling gets rid of any gaps in the towers and walls which help them stay strong.

sandcastle on the beach decorated with shells


You’re at the beach, so you’ll want to decorate your sandcastles with the objects you can find! Hunt for driftwood, shells, seaweed and even fossils on Whitby’s beaches.

If you’re going for intricate designs with your tools and carve into the sand, make sure you work from the top down. You don’t want all your hard work getting covered in fine bits of sand dust as you work your way up!

Share your work

Now you’re an expert in how to build sandcastles! Have fun trying different designs and using a variety of decorations for your castles. Don’t forget to send us pictures of your sand creations on Facebook or Twitter!

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