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16 Fantastic Pixar Sand Sculptures

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Getty Images

For most of us, making sand castles while playing at the beach is pure fun. But for professional sand sculptors, building art from sand is real work. These delightful Pixar-themed sand sculptures show just how elaborate these creations can get.

1. Feeling Brave?

Katrina Harris, Keys to the Magic Travel

When this great animated film came out a few years ago, Disney marked the occasion by holding a Highland Games Tournament at Epcot. To denote the special area, they used a sand sculpture as the sign, showing Merida, the twins, and some of the princess’ nervous suitors. 

2. Toys in the Sand

Flickr user Andy Fitzsimmons

Announcing movie releases with sand sculptures is nothing new to Disney. They commissioned this great sculpture at the Cannes Film Festival for the 2010 premiere of Toy Story 3.

3. The Future of Sand

Flickr user Hans Veneman

Holland’s European Sand Sculptures Festival takes place in Noordwijk every year. In 2008, the theme was Disney, and this delightful Wall-E sculpture took first place in the competition.

4. Robots in Love

Image courtesy of Flickr user Norbert Schnitzler

There have been many Disney-themed sand sculpture festivals, but only one is a yearly event sponsored by Disneyland Paris. The festival takes place at the Ostend beach in Belgium. At the 2012 event, Wall-E and Eve were there to watch over things.

5. Taste the Skill

Norbert Schnitzler also captured this delightful image of Ratatouille's Remy and his brother Emile enjoying some fine Parisian cuisine.

6. The Snide Spaceman

The 2012 show also featured a few of our favorite Toy Story characters. Here’s a quite smug-looking Buzz spotted by Flickr user Rick Vink.

7. Cocky Cowboy

And here’s his partner in crime, Woody, also captured by Rick Vink.

8. The Toy Aisle

Photos Magiques’ Facebook

At the 2011 Blankenberge Sand Sculpture festival, the theme was Disneyland Paris—and aside from recreating some of the most famous structures in the park, the artists also did tributes to many of Disney’s most famous characters. The Pixar tent featured all kinds of sculptures from their films, including these heroes of Toy Story: Buzz, Woody, and RC.

9. Out From Under the Bed

Photos Magiques’ Facebook

Another excellent sand sculpture inside the Pixar tent featured Mike and Sully ready to scare up some fun.

10. The Brightest Bot

Image courtesy of Character Central and Café Mickey user Dragy

Also spotted in the Pixar tent was this delightful Wall-E with light up eyes.

11. Speedy Sculpture

The Blankenberge fest also featured sculptures on the beach—like this massive Cars sculpture.

12. The Toy Box

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The 2013 Weston-super-Mare Sand Sculpture festival in England wasn’t Disney-themed, but their Hollywood theme was still broad enough to include this great Toy Story piece that featured a box filled with everyone’s favorite characters.

13. Just Keep Swimming

Steve Loadfink

While many of these sand sculpture competitions occur in Europe, there are plenty in the U.S. too, including the Sand and Sawdust Festival in Ocean Shores, Washington. The sculpting contest is broken into skill sets from amateur to master. I’m willing to bet the team building this Finding Nemo creation is part of the masters group.

14. Found Him!

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We’re used to sand sculptures coming in one color (sand), but sometimes their creators use a little color to accentuate their art. For example, this cute Nemo sculpture built at the 2003 Annual Miss Crustacean Pageant and Hermit Crab Races in Ocean City, New Jersey.

15. Monsters On the Beach

I don't know exactly where this sand sculpture was created, but the photographer, Flickr user Alcyonarain, does mention that it's somewhere in mainland China.

16. Don’t Be Such A Ham

This sculpture of Toy Story’s Ham was made by just one amateur, Flickr user wguru, who finished the design in less than an hour. It just goes to show that you don’t have to be a professional to make an adorable and totally recognizable sand sculpture inspired by a great film.

The Secret World War II History Hidden in London's Fences

In South London, the remains of the UK’s World War II history are visible in an unlikely place—one that you might pass by regularly and never take a second look at. In a significant number of housing estates, the fences around the perimeter are actually upcycled medical stretchers from the war, as the design podcast 99% Invisible reports.

During the Blitz of 1940 and 1941, the UK’s Air Raid Precautions department worked to protect civilians from the bombings. The organization built 60,000 steel stretchers to carry injured people during attacks. The metal structures were designed to be easy to disinfect in case of a gas attack, but that design ended up making them perfect for reuse after the war.

Many London housing developments at the time had to remove their fences so that the metal could be used in the war effort, and once the war was over, they were looking to replace them. The London County Council came up with a solution that would benefit everyone: They repurposed the excess stretchers that the city no longer needed into residential railings.

You can tell a stretcher railing from a regular fence because of the curves in the poles at the top and bottom of the fence. They’re hand-holds, designed to make it easier to carry it.

Unfortunately, decades of being exposed to the elements have left some of these historic artifacts in poor shape, and some housing estates have removed them due to high levels of degradation. The Stretcher Railing Society is currently working to preserve these heritage pieces of London infrastructure.

As of right now, though, there are plenty of stretchers you can still find on the streets. If you're in the London area, this handy Google map shows where you can find the historic fencing.

[h/t 99% Invisible]

Custom-Design the Ugly Christmas Sweater of Your Dreams (or Nightmares)

For those of you aspiring to be the worst dressed person at your family's holiday dinner, sells—you guessed it—ugly Christmas sweaters to seasonal revelers possessing a sense of irony. But the Michigan-based online retailer has elevated kitsch to new heights by offering a create-your-own-sweater tool on its website.

Simply visit the site's homepage, and click on the Sweater Customizer link. There, you'll be provided with a basic sweater template, which you can decorate with festive snowflakes, reindeer, and other designs in five different colors. If you're feeling really creative, you can even upload photos, logos, hand-drawn pictures, and/or text. After you approve and purchase a mock-up of the final design, you can purchase the final result (prices start at under $70). But you'd better act quickly: due to high demand, orders will take about two weeks plus shipping time to arrive.


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