"I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

Thomas A. Edison

Sand Sculpting Research & Development

  We here at Sand-Isle are constantly pushing the limits with sand.

Thinking outside the box, we are continuously experimenting with formwork, inventing and reinvented forms making the previously impossible with sand, possible.

Below are pics and short narratives of a few of our ‘Frankenstein Forms’, showing untried sculptures that worked…and those that didn’t.

Simply put, these are sculptures that are living on the edge.


Hollow sculptures have always been the elusive unicorn amongst sand sculptors, as no one has been able to safely create a successful hollow sculpture taller than 4' (the size at which people can reach down and pull the forms out of the middle). Sand-Isle changed that.

When altering and designing new forms, we try to make these forms with materials that can be found at most master level sand sculpting events and competitions in case we want to use our ideas there. Such is the case when Chris was asked to create a 8' tall hollow jellyfish sand sculpture on Travel Channel's 'SandMasters'...the tallest known hollow sculpture ever made. Made from a combination of 5 gallon buckets, round (rhizome barriers) & wooden forms and a bit of ingenuity. Click on the pics to read more.

Wanting to create a vastly more hollow sculpture, I replaced the 5 gallon buckets with 55 gallon drums in our 'experimental' sand box in Key West. Click on pics to read more.

Even though the barrel forms didn't work as well as I had hoped, it forced me to pursue hollow sculpture form work from a different angle. The pics below show our 'tube' form. This form allows for any size sculpture to be hollow upon building it (vs. pounding up tons of sand inside forms just to remove it again). It can be as long, as tall, as wide, and just about as tapered as you want (depending on the stability of the sand). All made from materials from Home Depot. Click on pics to read more.

Wanting to make a better, stronger jellyfish, I used the tube form in Revere Beach, Boston for a portuguese man-of-war.

Teammate Rusty Croft and I used the form to create a hollow steampunk angler fish in the Duo World Championships in Siesta Key, Florida.

Below is a hollow skull and it's process. Exceedingly simple. Click on pics for the specifics.

Other hollow sculptures. Click on pics for more.

Below is a an idea that was stewing in my head for awhile. The objective is to make a massive arch using less sand in less time than can be done with normal box forms. This is accomplished with two sets of forms set in symmetry, with longer forms on top connecting the two sets while using a 'bridge' inside the connecting form to keep the sand in. Worked like a champ. Pulled it together in Huntington Beach on another Sand Masters episode. Arch proved to be extremely durable...could of walked across it. Click on pics to read more.

Even though the above pics show a successful and easier way to make a large arch, I wanted to improve on that design, using even less time and less sand. Below shows the first attempt to do so. Click on the pics to read more.

Yet another simple idea for making an arch (w/help from Thys van Bourgondien). A series of 5-gallon buckets with the bottoms cut out and each one sliced on one side, then duck taped shut. The pic below show it's ease, each one filled with sand while making the arch. A piece of wood is set in between to keep the buckets from toppling inwards. When done, simply cut the tape and remove each one individually. Note, this is only the arch section, you can make this as tall as you want by setting this arch on 2 separate towers of round forms.

 
 

This was an experiment to test the strength of the sand we use in the Florida Keys. It sets at 16 feet high with only a 3 foot wide base. It sat there for months in hard blowing 25 knot winds all day...completely intact. We called it 'Beastie'. Click on pics to read more.

A year after we created 'Beastie', I was out filming the season finale of Sand Masters at the Southern Ohio Machine gun shoot. There, I was creating a large .50 caliber bullet out of sand. The sand in Ohio proved to be very dense, which made the sculpture too top heavy for such a narrow base. Bombs away.

 
 
 
 

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