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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. 

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.



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.




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.




Note: This project was inspired by Gina at 



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

I was wondering if you could send me the sketch-up drawings,




Posted 2012-06-17T16:47:29+0000  by Cam1043

They're on the 3DWarehouse:


That should get it to you... and anyone else that wants the drawing.

Posted 2012-06-17T16:56:45+0000  by Paul

A lid is built into the original design and my expanded sandbox design.


But a lid is only as good as the last time it was put into place...

Posted 2012-06-17T16:58:55+0000  by Paul

Paul that is absolutly incredible! I like the addition of the hinge support.


Do you mind if I add a link to the larger design in the original post? That way people wanting a larger version will see it in case they don't scroll through the thread. Again great work sir.




Posted 2012-06-18T15:32:21+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL
Posted 2012-06-18T22:19:56+0000  by Paul

I just finished this project.


I am a novice at wood work, so it took me awhile. But, during the process, I learned some handy tips.


1) I used 3 wooden paint stirrers taped together for the gap of the top slats. It was easier for me to use the paint stirrers rather than trying to measure 1/2 inch every time.


2) For the 2 slats that the arm rests attach to, I used a simpson tie. It is the L-shaped one. This kept the 2 armrest slats from twisting or moving.


3) I chose to stain all the pieces of wood prior to assembly.


4) Be careful running the screws that hold down the seat of the bench. They are very close to the end of the slats and tend to split easily.



Posted 2012-06-25T19:40:07+0000  by slothworld
This last point should be a reminder to everyone to predrill all screw holes with the proper size pilot hole. You can also use a countersinking pilot hole bit to avoid splintering of the wood where the screw head enters. Also allows for a screw head flush or just below the surface. Some of these bits cut standard size holes for use of plugs or buttons, giving a more finished look.
Posted 2012-06-25T20:06:51+0000  by Paul
Its very intresting to see this drawings.
Posted 2012-07-26T15:03:13+0000  by sahaj

Fence-Seal is Nono-toxic and VOC free. Available on It seals treated or use untreated and protect with Fence-Seal.

Great for planter boxes too!

Posted 2012-07-30T18:27:08+0000  by GreenOptions

Hey GreenOptions.


For anyone interested in finding the above product, the easiest way is to use the "Search All" box option at the top of any page.  Simply type in TriCoPolymer and hit the enter/return key.  See the picture below:




I hope this helps,




Posted 2012-07-31T19:22:13+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question