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Project Ideas: Outdoor Living

Building a Sandbox

Sandbox Project


Hi everyone, ChrisFixit with The Home Depot Online community here. In this post we’ll be showing you how to construct a covered sandbox. The cover is a great help in keeping debris out of the sandbox and as a bonus it doubles as seating. The sandbox is very simple to put together and makes for a fun beach like getaway for small children. 
 

WHAT YOU NEED FOR THIS JOB:
Tools Materials
  • Measuring Tape
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Drill
  • Circular Saw or Compound Miter Saw
  • Sander
  • Countersink Drill Bit
  • Two 1x8 boards at 47 1/2" 
  • Two 1x8 boards at 46"
  • Four 2x2 boards at 7 1/2"
  • 12 1x4 boards at 47 1/2"
  • Four 2x4 boards at 6 1/2" 
  • Four 2x4 boards at 16 1/2"
  • Four sets exterior grade hinges
  • Four exterior grade handles 
  • 1 1/4" screws
  • 1 1/4" pocket hole screws
  • Play Sand
  • Exterior Paint/Stain (optional)


Building the Box:

 

First up you will be creating the basic frame for the sandbox. Take the 46” long 1x8 boards and insetting them around 2 to 3 inches from the ends of the 47 ½” long 1x8 boards. Pre-drill your holes and secure the boards with the 1 ¼” screws. For added strength screw one of the 2x2x7 ½” into each of the corners of the frame driving screws from the outside in.

 

Seat Construction:

 

The top of the sand box is made to fold from a covering into a facing set of bench seats. This is done by allowing rows of planks to fold by the use of hinges. I find it very helpful to lay all 12 of the 47 ½” 1x4 planks across the top of the sandbox frame. This will give you an opportunity to get the plank spacing just where you want it, which should be around ½” between planks. With the planks laid out use your pencil to mark out the spacing.

Take two of the planks and starting at one end screw them into the frame with ½” (remember to use your marks) spacing in-between. Repeat for the opposite side.

Now take another two planks once again spaced ½” apart and screw the 2x4x6 ½” into them edge down. The 2x4x6 ½” will end up forming the armrest of the seats and need to be at least set 1” in from the edges of the planking. Repeat for the opposite side.

Placing the hinges is easiest by attaching them to the seat section first (remember the armrest should be facing down into the frame when doing this) and then to the stationary planks. When placing hinges remember to adjust your spacing BEFORE screwing the hinges into place, this will help make sure spacing is consistent and functional. Repeat for opposite side.


Seat Back:

 

Making the seat backs follows much the same process as the rest of the seat. Take two planks spaced ½” apart and screw the 2x4x12 ½” into the planks face down. The 2x4”12 ½” should be aligned to be even with the first plank at its top. Don’t worry about the overhang as it serves as a support in the seats upright position. Repeat for opposite side.

The hinges for this section of seating will be secured from the underside to allow for the seats folding action. As before make sure to check your spacing before attaching the hinges. The handles for the seats can be mounted where ever you find most convenient.


Finishing:

 

Fill all of the screw holes with wood filler and once dry, sand with fine grit sandpaper. Remember when sanding make sure to sand in the direction of the wood grain. Vacuum and wipe the wood clean with a damp cloth before staining or painting. If you intend to stain be sure to test the stain in an inconspicuous area first.

 

Install:

 

When installing your sand box the best option is to remove the grass in the area of your sand box and level out the earth. With that done you can then place a thin layer of gravel (pea pebbles work great) with the sandbox on top. Staple a layer of weed block into the inside of the sandbox and fill with play sand. The gravel underneath the sandbox will assist with water drainage and the weed block helps retain the play sand.

While you can simply place the sandbox in the yard on top of grass you are presented with a couple of possible problems. First up some breeds of grasses could continue to grow up and through the sand overtime. In addition having sand directly on top of grass without a gravel base will make drainage a problem as water will have very few places to escape to.

 

Well folks we hope you enjoyed this project and be sure to check back here at the community often as we continue into the summer.


Cheers,


ChrisFixit

 

Note: This project was inspired by Gina at ladygoats.com 

 

UPDATE: IF YOU'RE LOOKING TO MAKE A BIGGER VERSION OF THE SANDBOX COMMUNITY MEMBER PAUL HAS A POST FURTHER DOWN WITH UPDATED DIMENSIONS AND MATERIALS. BE SURE TO READ COMPLETELY THROUGH HIS POST AS THERE ARE A COUPLE STRUCTURAL CHANGES.

Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2012-05-18T19:38:47+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL Chris_HD_ATL

How much does everything cost to build the sandbox.

Posted 2012-06-06T21:54:24+0000  by crance99
I am also wondering what the budget would be for the material for this project.
Posted 2012-06-09T14:56:31+0000  by daynasykes

Just an FYI

 I saw something on the material list that needed to be corrected

You have to DOUBLE the 2x4 cut list. So, you need four boards instead of just two 

They only give you the amount for ONE bench and you are making TWO!

 

Also To answer someone's question on the cost of the whole thing.  It cost me around $70.00 total. AND ...This is making it out of pressure treated material!

 

Hope this information helps others!

 

Posted 2012-06-10T01:01:28+0000  by tdickerson
Great info - thanks for taking the time to share.

I would def NOT use pressure-treated material if kids are going to be sitting in/on/near. The chemicals are toxic and carcinogens. While the untreated lumber needs extra care and may not last as long, consider the irreversible health costs involved and the chances you take with your kids or someone else's kids.
Posted 2012-06-10T12:39:47+0000  by fixitfreez
If I wanted to make the sandbox bigger say 6'X8' what would change? Obviously the lengths, but how would the hinges change or the back? I love the plans, it is just not big enough.
Posted 2012-06-14T14:48:14+0000  by tomc4113

Thanks for the catch @tdickerson! Updated and passed the information along.

Cheers,
ChrisFixit

Posted 2012-06-15T16:41:25+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL
@tomc4113 depending on which way you had the folding benches run you would end up with a gap in the middle when the seats are in the closed position. If that's not to big of an issue to you, then like you said your biggest changes would be to the length of the bench planks.

I'm sure adjusting the width of the planks from 1x4 to something larger could close the gap, but it would take some playing around to figure out the optimal size to use. Which way would you want the benches to run? Along the 8 foot side or the 6 foot?

Cheers,
ChrisFixit
Posted 2012-06-15T16:55:43+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL

With three little ones, I'm also interested in making a larger box, 6x8 as mentioned before or maybe keeps it square with a 6x6.  Doesn't matter to me which way the benches run if we went with the 6x8, maybe the 6' side as shorter benches might be easier to maneuver.  I would like to avoid a big gap.  Any ideas on how to best figure out the adjustments?

 

Posted 2012-06-15T19:22:33+0000  by nucsme

Some have asked for a bigger version of this sand box. Here is a 6'x8' version, trying to hold true to the original design. Keep in mind, this sand box and the original box above, are meant for younger children. While being a bit more stout in the seating area, beefing up the seat support area should be done for older children.

 

Material List:

Quantity

Description

Length(L)

Material

10

Back Support

21 11/16"

2x4

4

Bench Support - Inner

11 1/2"

2x2

2

Bench Support - Middle

9 1/4"

2x2

4

Bench Support - Outer

11 1/2"

2x4

2

Box - Long Side

96"

1x8

2

Box - Short Side

70"

1x8

4

Corner Post

7 1/4"

4x4

10

Seat Support - Horizontal

10 3/4"

2x4

12

Seat Support - Vertical

7 1/4"

2x4

18

Slat

96"

1x4

4

Seating support

36"

5/8" square dowel

 

I haven't taken the time to figure out the optimum cutting layout, I'll leave that up to you. Typical 2x4 is 96" long and can be obtained in longer lengths. The 2x2's are also typically 96" long.

 

6x8 Sand Box - Closed.jpg

6x8 Sand Box - Open.jpg

A few things to point out.

  • The 2x4's on the top of the closed sand box are notched on one end to allow for clearing the hinges. In the pictures above, all of them are notched. This is only because I was too lazy to make different components for the four outer boards.
  • There are square dowels placed along the outer edges of the long sides of the box. These should be the thickness of the closed hinges. They will help support the seat when it is open and allievate stressing the hinge connection.
  • The center 2x2 for the seats is a bit shorter than the others to accomodate the center seat back hinge.
  • There are 12 Tee Hinges in this design to accomodate the longer spans. Seats are along the long sides of the box.
  • The 4x4 corner posts could be cut longer and embedded into the ground if desired.

If you have further questions or want the Sketchup drawing, let me know.

Posted 2012-06-16T20:12:21+0000  by Paul

You should really make a lid for this.  Otherwise all the neighboorhood animals, such as cats, racoons and skunks will use it as a littler box.  Young children can litterally get worms from this.  Never had a sandbox for any of my 5 children who are all grown now.  However, their friend did and that is what happened in their family.  Please make a lid/cover.

Posted 2012-06-17T12:15:26+0000  by lf.ax377
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