The "bones" of our sand castle are similar to our Haunted Halloween Castle, but on a smaller scale. We began with 4 paper towel rolls, 4 paper plates and a tissue box. Preferably, an empty tissue box. :)
I put the castle together late at night, after "bedtime." Normally I'd let the kids be involved in the building, but since this was going to be a countdown calendar there's lots of cutting with an exacto knife involved, and it just seemed easier to do this part myself. Besides, there is plenty for kids to do later on. :)
I began with the turrets. I cut down the paper towel rolls about 2" because they were a teensy bit too tall for the tissue box. Then I cut out the "doors" I needed for our countdown. In our family we count X number of days and a "wake up." We don't count the day of the event, that's the "wake up." However you do your countdowns, you'll need to cut out the correct amount of "doors" on your turrets. I cut mine to open from the top ( I know it looks left to right from this view.) I ended up having 5 on one and 4 on the others for our countdown. Just make sure you don't make the doors all the way around the tower because it will be glued to the tissue box on one side and you won't be able to access those doors.
Then cut the paper plates as pictured.. I wanted a really, tall turret so I did this part a little differently than the haunted castle. And to be honest, using the 4 paper plates is kind of wasteful. A better, mom, a more eco-mom, would have used the paper plate as a guide used scrap paper. But the plates were just the right size and there so I used them.
Then cut off the end corner just a bit as shown.
Then roll it in a cone shape and ta-daa! you have a turret. Number your doors, I did it on the outside and then realized that would be covered up so I re-numbered them on the inside of each little door. Also cut out a drawbridge on your tissue box.
So now you need to prepare the clues for the inside. Remember when I said there was a twist to our calendar? Everyday, when they open a door, they will uncover a symbol. Okay, stick with me. At the end of the countdown, we'll give them a key to the symbols. They'll have to decipher the secret message. At first, I was just going do a letter for each day. But they would figure out the message way before the countdown ended. This way they have to wait and wonder!! Keep in mind, the secret message would have to have the same number of letters as the number in your countdown, so you might have to change up your message. I wrote it out as pictured below so I didn't get confused.
Then, cut strips of paper, roll them up and tuck them inside each tube.
Apply tape to secure the paper. Now you can open the doors and write your message inside each door. I took out the papers and set them aside before we began the painting portion, but I feel like it was an unnecessary step. I think it could have been left inside the tubes and wouldn't have been harmed at all.
Hot glue the castle together and get ready for a mess! (Grab the kids, they will really dig this part!)
Then we painted the glue sand to the castle. I think we should have done a coat, let it dry and then repeated the process several times. But in our excitement we pretty much just slopped a bunch of sand/glue all over it. Set it outside to dry.
How messy is this? I am so glad I thought to put a plastic tablecloth over the craft tablecloth, It made clean up sooo much easier!
About an hour later our castle was dry (one of the few benefits of living in the desert) and we were ready to decorate with seashells! My daughter picked where she wanted them and I hot glued them on. At this point, I also cut out squares of white cardstock, wrote the countdown numbers on them and glued them on the doors.
Notice the pearl on top of the castle?
Each day, a door is opened and a clue revealed. You can see in the picture below I changed the letters to symbols. On the last day of the countdown we'll give them a key for the code so they can figure out the message.
After they decipher the message and lower the drawbridge, they'll find a letter charging them with "ancient secrets of the beach." If they are "brave and true" they'll follow the clues to the treasure! (Which will be beach toys and a fun pack of things to do on the 6+ hour trip to the beach.)
The drawbridge kept flopping open, probably from the weight of the shell. I dabbed a bit of hot glue at the top of the drawbridge, enough to keep it closed through the countdown but not enough that the kids will struggle when they open it.
This was one convoluted craft, but it was fun to put together and my daughter is loving opening the doors every morning. She is so excited for her brother to come home from his mom's so he can be part of the fun too! Meanwhile, I'm not sure who is more excited about the beach vacay; her or me!
Linking with these fabulous parties:
Sweet Anne | Etcetorize | CraftOManiac | Sew Can Do | Not Just a Housewife | I Should be Mopping the Floor | I Gotta Try That | House of Hepworths | GingerSnap Crafts | Skip To My Lou | Sugar Bee Crafts | Vintage Wanna Be | The Creative Itch | Mommy By Day, Crafter By Night | Sew Much Ado | Someday Crafts | DIY Crafty Projects | Sugar and Dots | 504 Main | Fingerprints on the Fridge | Tatertots and Jello | Southern Lovely | My Girlish Whims | Love Notes by Lauren | Made in a Day