Castle Building.


Source: Reddit’s oddly satisfying thread

A friend sent me a short video of someone making drip sand castles from Reddit’s oddly satisfying thread and asked, “Did you ever do this at the beach?”

Yes, yes I did, and it’s funny it came up just now because it’s been a while since I’ve been to the beach but we have some gardening sand in the backyard, in a bag, that we bought, oh, a few years ago for some gardening project that’s forgotten now. And I’d been eyeing it and thinking it would be fun to reenact a small part of my youth and make some drip sand castles somewhere in the backyard. And then I could let the dogs run through them.

Even though sand castles are most popular at the beach because, well, that’s where you have a pretty much unlimited quantity of sand, technically you could build sand castles anywhere. It’s just that some places you have to bring your own sand. And drip sand castles are especially fun because they don’t require a lot of skill and there’s also a certain amount of randomness to them that you don’t get by filling buckets with sand and building straighter structures.

Don’t get me wrong—I appreciate the artistry of really elaborate sand castles, or even sand sculptures, and building one that looks, well, like a castle is fun too, but I really love how a drip sand castle manages to straddle the line between something made and something grown. They’re reminiscent of the architecture of Antoni Gaudi.

And sand castles are, by nature, very ephemeral. At best they’ll last as long as a summer day at the beach, or at least until the tide comes in, or until some jerk comes along and kicks them over.

Not a drip sand castle but damn if it isn’t impressive. Source:

Then there was the time I lay down on the beach and started building a drip sand castle and without even thinking about it I’d built a massive multi-turreted structure that was at least three feet tall and about four feet across…and I’d built it over my legs. There was no way to get up and move without destroying most of what I’d built. But I was okay with that. Being destroyed is what sand castles are made for.

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  1. BarbaraM

    I would have thought that as the water evaporates, the spires would collapse?

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I think you’re right but I’ve never seen that happen. All the sand castles I’ve ever made or even seen have been washed away before they could dry out. I should try that though to see what happens.

  2. M.L. James

    You have to get pictures before you destroy them. That’s the thing. That sounds fascinating and something I could really get into…just not in 105 degree heat. And not in the house where it’s only 95 degrees. Not really that hot in the house, but sometimes it feels like that! Perhaps in the fall, when things cool down a little. Loved the giant octopus. Where was I reading that scientists can’t really pin down where octopi come from like they can with humans and cockroaches and fish…not necessarily in that order? There’s a lot of unique strangeness about them. Again, maybe I can look into that more in the fall. Also, they’re supposed to be incredibly smart and so eating them, while allegedly delicious (I don’t know firsthand), is frowned upon in some circles. Which circles those are, I’m not sure. Ask me in the fall, after I’ve looked more into this. This may be frowned upon in some squares, rectangles and triangles as well for all I know. I nice dip in some pool somewhere would be wonderful right about now! Mona
    M.L. James recently posted…Cherry PieMy Profile

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      I used to eat octopus when it came with my sushi combo. It wasn’t tasty at all—extremely chewy, and I’ve learned too much about their intelligence to ever want to eat one. They really are amazing creatures and I recommend the book Soul of An Octopus. Also thanks for the reminder that I’d like to get back for a dip in the pool. It cools you down but it’s also very good exercise. Swimming with octopuses is something I haven’t tried, though.

  3. mydangblog

    I’ve never made a drip sand castle but now I want to! I love watching sculpting competitions—ice, sand, or other mediums—my spatial perception isn’t the greatest so I appreciate it in other people!

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Drip sand castles are fun because they’re so easy to make and yet still always end up looking really cool. But I also admire anyone who can sculpt in any medium. Each one is different with its own challenges.


    Growing up near the beach, I built many a sand castle but never a drip one. I wonder what I’ll do first — create one of those or see some architecture by Gaudi. Thanks for building this post for us, Chris.

    1. Christopher Waldrop (Post author)

      Seeing some architecture by Gaudi is high on my list as well. I love his work and think it’s quite wonderful. It’s unfortunate that there’s an English homonym of his name that generally doesn’t mean wonderful.


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