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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 



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Posted 2012-05-18T19:38:47+0000  by Chris_HD_ATL Chris_HD_ATL



Here in Texas, it's HOT! I don't want my grandkids outside playing in the sand box in the sun--which in my back yard, means it'd be off limits most of the day.


I'd like to add some U shaped pipe straps to slide in an umbrella so they could have shade while they play. Would that work? If the sides aren't deep enough to accommodate a full-size outdoor umbrella already, could you suggest a modification to allow for that?


Love the whole concept--especially how the lid turns into bench seating. Hope to get this built before they're back for their next visit!

Posted 2013-03-16T01:00:23+0000  by LittleElmLady

Paul, I am attempting to build the larger version of the sandbox.   It is just barely within my ability level, though I will have some more experienced help.  Please send me the sketch up file along with anything else you may have that would be helpful.  Thanks

Posted 2013-04-05T16:36:56+0000  by qbertmail

many thanks to paul for the larger design.


i'm an amateur DIYer so it took me a while to build this.  but here is a quick video of me making this sandbox. thank you home depot and paul.  my kids love it.





Posted 2013-05-21T17:08:50+0000  by drulee



What a great job..


I love all of the bright colors you used.


I loved the reveal. Your kids faces were priceless.


Thanks again for sharing such a great video.

Posted 2013-05-22T19:20:34+0000  by Christine_HD_OC
Do you have a link to Paul's larger sandbox dimensions - I cannot seem to locate this
Posted 2015-03-17T20:51:51+0000  by DebLN
I am looking to build this over the weekend.  Any recommendations on the type of wood for the 1x8's.  I am finding that you can't find 1x8's in pressure treated around here.
Posted 2015-05-28T20:44:31+0000  by Newdog
The screws in the materials list are too long for the hinges as they will go all the way through the 1x4's. I used 5/8" for that and they worked well. Also, the cut list calls for the 2x4's to be 16 1/2" long but 12 1/2" in the directions. I went with 12 1/2" and that worked. 
Posted 2015-06-07T20:16:35+0000  by DanaDietz
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