Hard Pack Forms

A previous blog explained the three ways to pack sand for carving.  Let’s take a closer look at one of them – hard pack.  This method requires the use of a form. Remember that your form is open at BOTH ends, sand and water are packed in, and the form is then removed to reveal the block of compacted sand.  

Forms can be in any size, shape, or material.  Some of the easiest forms to make are from food containers – yogurt, sour cream, cottage cheese, etc.  There are also square plastic containers from some frozen desserts.  Metal soup cans and coffee cans can be cut and used.  Keep your eyes open for anything that you can cut the bottom out of and added to your form collection.  

When ordering take out, many items come in plastic quart deli containers that make great forms.   Also in the smaller form category are foot-long pieces of PVC pipe and fruit containers from your local deli.  

Moving up in scale is the reuse of storage bins that have lost their lids.  These are great for non-round and/or rectangular shaped designs.  They come in many sizes.  I often use them as the bottom layer and pack up smaller forms as a second level.  

So far, all of these forms are intact and are lifted off after packing.  An easily obtainable item in the clamp and remove away from the pack up is a round, plastic trash can.  Cut off the bottom and then up one side.  Use c-clamps and bungee cords to keep it together while packing. Then remove those and move the plastic around and away from the sand.     Pool liner, rhizome/bamboo barrier, and other flexible and plastic material can also be used in this manner. 

Finally there is the use of wood forms.  When you see those large pieces at competitions and exhibitions, sculptors have often used 2-3 levels of wood forms tiered like a wedding cake.  The wood is held together by double-headed nails that are pried off after packing.  When you are ready to up your game and use wood forms, contact me!

So, start collecting, cutting, and filling those forms.  You’ll have a great starting shape for carving.   If you need a lesson or refresher on how to hard pack, contact SandiCastles and we’ll make a beach date!