Poseidon sculpture Poseidon sculpture The imposing but striking sculpture "Poseidon" was created by Martijn Rijerse and Hanneke Supply, displayed at the Under the Sea festival in Melbourne, Australia in 2013. (Photo: Graham Denholm / Getty Images)

9 truly remarkable sand sculptures

Sand, water and hours of work go into shaping these incredible works of art.

A vivid sunset is no longer the most artful thing you'll see on a walk along the beach. Intricate sand sculptures dot coastlines across the globe, both for recreation and for competitions. 

These sand sculptures go way beyond your average oceanside sand castles, involving more than filling a plastic mold with sand and water, turning it over, and hoping for the best (though this finicky process is likely how most sand sculptors became inspired). 

Building sculptures as elaborate as these requires patience, an eye for detail, and of course, malleable sand. Sculptors can use anything from a sculpting blade to a kitchen spatula to turn their imaginations into reality.

It takes a lot of expertise — and even more motivation — to create something quickly enough to prevent it from collapsing due to the elements. Though they may be temporary works of art, these sand sculptures are no less impressive than their more conventional clay, metal and stone counterparts. Here are some of the most splendid creations from around the world:

Troll sculptureA sand sculpture in Haifa, Israel, depicts a troll wedged under his bridge. (Photo: MaxVT/Flickr)

Puss in Boots sculptureA coy "Puss in Boots" sculpture winks at the Eretz Israel Museum's 2011 exhibit, Legends in the Sand. (Photo: Eli Brody/Flickr)

Sand sculpture of penguins on icebergs At the 2013 Under the Sea sand sculpture exhibition in Melbourne Australia, Michela Ciappini's sculpture called "The Bergs" was among the most detailed. (Photo: Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Sand castle and princessA sand-sculpted princess poses in front of an incredibly intricate castle at a competition on the beach in Haifa, Israel, in 2006. (Photo: tammotris/Flickr)

Davy Jones sand sculptureA likeness of Davy Jones from "Pirates of the Caribbean" is carved into the sand at the 2011 Sand Sculpture Festival in Blankenberge, Belgium. The festival's sculptures were all inspired by Magical Moments Festival of Disneyland Paris. (Photo: Mark Renders/Getty Images)

Frogs sculptureThis sculpture, called "Frogs Galore," was featured in the Creepy Crawlies Sandsculpting Exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, in 2011. It was created by Susanne Ruseler of the Netherlands and Hanneke Supply of Belgium. (Photo: Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

OwlA wise owl carved from sand holds a book at a 2007 event in Haifa, Israel. (Photo: MaxVT/Flickr)

Gulliver sculptureAn intricate sculpture of Gulliver shows the literary character holding a ship. This sculpture was shown at the Legends in the Sand sculpture exhibition at the Eretz Israel Museum in 2011. (Photo: Eli Brody/Flickr)

Interested in trying your hand at sand sculpting? Check out "The Complete Sand Sculpture 'How To' and Construction Manual" from Sandscapes.com.


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9 truly remarkable sand sculptures
Sand, water and hours of work go into shaping these incredible works of art.