Wednesday | August 31, 2016
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Swept away: Elevating the sand castle to an art form

Basic tools

• Shovels and tapered buckets; Consider graduating from a child’s pail to a larger bucket from a home improvement store. Siebert took it to the next level by cutting the bottom out of a 5-gallon bucket — "definitely not something I would even let a teenager do," he said. "You will need a strong razor knife and lots of muscle." Because 5 gallons of sand is too heavy and clumsy for someone to flip over, removing the bottom lets you fill the bucket when it’s already inverted.

Is building an impregnable sand castle on your family’s summer bucket list? Ted Siebert of The Sand Sculpture Co. ( can dig you out of the holes in your technique.

Siebert, who wrote “The Art of Sandcastling” and “Sandcastle in a Box,” has built more than 600 professional sand sculptures in 35 countries and 42 states during the past 25 years.

Siebert and his teenage son Gus met us at a local Chicago beach recently to construct a 2-foot-tall, one-bucket wonder, drawing a crowd of young onlookers licking ice pops.

“Every kid at some point in his life has pushed sand together,” Siebert said. “There’s just a fascination, whether it feels good on your hands or because it lasts for a day and then the tide takes it away. It’s like a rose or a baseball game; you enjoy it and then it’s done and gone.”

Like summer.

But take heart. Some of his tactics can be applied to another medium: snow.

We’ll think about that after the equinox.


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