How to Build a Sandbox

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Build a Sandbox

Our kids really wanted a sandbox in the backyard. So we decided on building one, that was about 4ft x 4ft with a bench and cover. We made the sandbox like we made our garden boxes, see here. Some directions will be found on that tutorial. Also, pictures are not the greatest because of my old camera, sorry…

First thing first, the wood… we decided to use redwood again.

#2 – 8ft Redwood 2×8
#1 – 5ft Redwood 4×4 (usually comes in 10ft)
#6 –  Redwood 2×6 (could use more or less)
#2- Redwood 2×4 (size depends on cover)
Box of 3 1/2″ Galvanized screws
Box of 2 1/2″ Galvanized screws
Wood Glue (optional)
Tape Measure
Waterproofer for wood
#2 Outdoor Handles

You will take the 4×4 board and cut #4 10″ pieces. Then take the 2×8 board and cut #2 4ft boards (in half) and complete with both boards, you will have #4 boards that measure 4ft. You will cut the rest of the wood later.

Take one of the 4ft boards and mark three spots to drill holes for screws.

Then like the garden boxes attach boards to the 4×4 wood but make sure one side is level and over side has an overhang. Next take the other two 4ft boards and mark 5 spots to drill holes for screws.

Then screw the boards together, just like the garden boxes.

This is the part that my camera (old camera) stopped working, sorry. Time to make the bench to sit on around the sandbox. Now you are going to take the 2×6 boards and cut them. Place your saw at a 45-degree angle. Take your tape measure and measure the inside of your frame (4×4 to 4×4, sorry I would give measurements but every box could be different). Then make the first cut. The corner that will be on inside of the sandbox, measure the length you just measured on your frame and mark on that side of the board. Turn your saw to 45 angle on the other side and cut wood. For the other #3 boards, measure from the one corner of the previous cut board to the 4×4 corner on the other side and cut your wood the same. Keep measuring as you go so your boards will fit together. Your wood should look like this when you have finished all 4 sides.

Next, I took outside wood glue and fill any cracks in the wood. Then sanded the whole thing (You can wait to do this after the next step).

Now you are going to screw the bench onto the sandbox. Take your drill and drill a hole in the corner were the two points come together. Then place a 3 1/2″ screw, complete on all 4 sides.

Next drill 4 holes on the top, where the boards come together. Make sure you miss the first screw and you will be drilling into the 4×4 and 2×8. Then screw 3 1/2″ screws into the 4 holes and complete with all sides.

From the bottom of the sandbox, were the 2×8 meets the 2×6 bench, place some 2 1/2″ screws at an angle. I placed 6 but make sure you will not come through the top board.

Now its time to make the top cover for the sandbox. It will look like this but with handles.

Cut wood for the cover. I would give measurements but you need to decide how much of the sandbox you want covered. But the top is made from 2×6 boards and I had my sides cover 1 1/2″ of the box on all sides and used #8 pieces of 2×6. You will also cut the 2×4, making sure you cut the board to fit inside the sandbox hole with about 1″ all around.

Then place cut 2×6, straight in a line. Taking one 2×4, screw (using 2 1/2 screws) into 2×6’s (make sure you leave the board far enough from the sides so it will fit into the box). See pictures above and below, do this for the #3 2×4’s.

Now take your sandpaper and sand down all the corners on the wood.

Now would be a good time to water proof the whole box. We did two coats of Thompson’s WaterSeal Multi-Surface Waterproofer. Next its time to add outside handles.

Take your drill and drill holes were the screws will go. I marked mine with a pencil then drilled the holes.

Then attach the handles. Now you just need to place your sandbox were you want it. We did the same thing as our garden boxes but this time we used fabric weed barrier.

Here is our sandbox all in place… Just waiting for the sand and grass.

Cost Breakdown-
Redwood- $138
Screws- $19
Handles- $7
Sandpaper- FREE (already had from stair project)
Waterproofer- FREE (already had from outdoor wood)

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  1. Great ideas here. The cover you built is a tank of a cover. If I were to build this, I’d use cedar fencing planks for their rot-resistance and light-weight. Far less durable than your option but easier for my wife to manage.

    1. Thank you Chuck! The cover is a tank…. I like that idea plus it would be cheaper than redwood. Another idea would be to use composite decking boards, I know that they are pricey and I don’t know if they are heavy. But they would be rot-resistance plus they would not splinter. I currently need to re-sand the wood on our sandbox but I don’t think that is bad for 2 years in the weather and kids playing all over it. Thanks for the idea!

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