DIY Project: Sand Box with built-in seats

Apr 22, 2014 | Design and Interior Decoration

}  4 minute reading time

Get your children off your mobile phone and back outside with this simple DIY plan for building a sand box…

Building your child a sandbox is a wonderful way to get them off your mobile phone and back outdoors, encouraging them to use their imagination while getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. We came across this wonderfully simple DIY project plan that will help guide you to make your very own multi-purpose sandbox. It’s double duty lid turns into a seat! Now that’s Smart!


Shopping List:

2 – 1 x 8 x 8
6 – 1 x 4 x 8
1 – 2 x 4 x 8 or Stud Length

You will also need:

4 sets of exterior grade hinges

Rope OR 4 exterior grade handles (search “gate pull” or “gate handle”)

1 1/4 inch screws

1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws

Wood glue


  • Measuring tape
  • Square
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Hearing protection
  • Kreg Jig™
  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Compound miter saw
  • Sander
  • Countersink drill bit


Cut List:

(a) 2 – 1 x 8 @ 47 1/2″ – long sides of box
(b) 2 – 1 x 8 @ 46″ – short sides of box
(c) 12 – 1 x 4 @ 47 1/2″ – top planks
(d) 4 – 2 x 4 @ 7 1/2″ – arm rests
(e) 4 – 2 x 4 @ 12 1/2″ – back support/handle

Before you start, remember:

  • Work on a clean level surface that is free of imperfections or debris
  • Always use straight boards.
  • Check for square after each step.
  • Always predrill holes before attaching with screws.
  • Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold.
  • Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects (as dried glue won’t stain).


1) Create a basic box, in setting the short sides as shown above. You can either use pocket holes or pre-drill through the long sides and use 1 1/4” screws.


2) Screw in two planks on each side, countersinking your screws through the top. Space the boards 1/2” apart.


3)  Create what will become the seat. Screw the 1×4 boards (1/2” apart) onto the 2×4 arm rests (d). Make sure that the 2x4s are at least 1” inset from the edge to allow for them to fold into the box nicely. Note: you’ll be making two of these).


4) Attach the seat that you made in step 3 to the plank you screwed in step 2.

You may find it easier to attach the hinge to the seat (on the side opposite the arm rests) and then attach it to the screwed-in plank. Make sure to space them 1/2” apart.


5. Create the seat’s back. Screw your (e) boards to the ends of the final 1x4s.

Make sure the 1x4s are spaced 1/2” apart. If you are planning on adding rope, pre-drill through the 2×4 completely, between the 1x4s and at the bottom of the “inner” 1×4 (the one closer to the overhanging 2×4).

If you plan on adding handles, you can attach them wherever you find it pleasing. (Note: you’ll be making two of these).


6) Attach your second set of hinges to the seat back, on the opposite side of the 2x4s, and then attach to the seat (easy to do with the seat “up”).Make sure to space the 1/2” apart.



Finishing Instructions:

  • Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry.
  • Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed.
  • When wood filler is dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper.
  • Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue.
  • Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces.
  • Wipe project clean with damp cloth.
  • Apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure colour evenness and adhesion.
  • Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


All Images Source:  Ana White

Feature Image Source: Ana White

Header Image Source: 123 Kindergarten

Written by Siobhan


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