West Cork Sand Circles


Sand Circle Tutorials Introduction

So you are thinking of diving into the engaging world of sand circles? You have come to the right place. We have a growing selection of tips and tutorials taking you from the basics of geometry (some might call that sacred!) to the more complex tasks of reconstructing crop circles!

There are a few things to keep in mind before you begin.

  • Your design should be reproducible on a large scale. This is not so hard if you limit your tools to a ruler and compass, and keep all measurements based on intersections that already exist in the design. If you do need numerical measurements it helps to use the length of your foot as 1 unit and work from that.
  • On the beach you can use two sticks/poles connected by a length of string/rope as both a compass and a ruler. To use it as a compass you place one pole into the sand where you want the center of your circle, wind up the rope around the other pole until you have the desired radius, then walk around the center pole keeping the rope tight and etching the sand with the poles end. this should give you a near perfect circle provided the rope stays tight and does not unwind while etching! To use it as a ruler simply place both poles into the sand at point A and B, wind the rope up tight, then use a third pole (or a garden hoe!) to etch a line along the rope.
  • Damp sand is the most effective surface for your design. Using sticks and string to etch your guidelines, and rakes to shade segments in. It is possible to create a design on dry sand using wooden boards to flatten and smooth the segments, but this is quite challenging!
  • Check the tide tables! It depends on the size and slope of the beach, but generally you can start your design 2 hours before low tide. That should give you at least 4 hours to complete it.
  • Smooth sole shoes or bare feet are best. Not only do they help prevent unwanted marks in the sand, they can also be used to rub out unwanted marks and guidelines. It is always a good idea to give your shoes a rinse with freshwater after you have been to the beach so that the salt does not start damage them.
  • The more even the surface, the more accurate your guidelines will be. Small ridges in the sand from the water currents are usually not a problem, but large humps and slopes can cause your guidelines to wander. If your guidelines are off by a few inches don't worry, you probably won't notice the error once it is shaded in and viewed from a distance.

Grab a compass and ruler and pick a tutorial from the list to get started!