Ever since a hurricane ripped off our porch and subsequently ruined our old sandbox, my wife has been asking me to build this sandbox with fold-out bench seats that seems popular on pinterest. Since the seats fold down into a cover, this will keep our bunny and cat from using the “sandbox” as a potty, which is pretty gross.
The problem is that most DIY sandbox plans out there don’t include the details you need to finish the project. I enjoy building and doing projects around the house so I though I would share my version here.
Compared to other versions of the DIY sandbox with foldout bench seats, my version is larger at 4 ft by 6ft and more durable because I utilized 2x wood instead of 1x wood (I can stand on the closed version with only minimal bending). The cost is only marginally higher. Here is a sweet table with the details of each piece you need to buy and cut.
|6||Strap Hinges||Cheaper online, buy either 4 or 6 Inch, come with their own screws|
|100||Deck Screws||I used precisely 66, but you probably can’t buy them in that quantity. 2 1/2″ is good for most projects, consider smaller lengths if using 1x wood. The ones linked to are stainless steel, Screws are much cheaper online compared to Hardware stores.|
|1||2×10 8ft||Cut off 6 inches, discard. Cut the remaining 7.5 ft board in half. This makes the board fit on the inside so it can reinforce the bench seat bottom. 10 inch is a nice depth, 12 inch was much more expensive. 1×10 could also be used.|
|1||2×10 12ft||Cut in Half. Sides of Sandbox. Can use 1×10, 1×12, 1×8, 2×8, 2×12, depends on strength and depth you want.|
|6||5/4 x 8 ft||Cut each in half to make 12 Four ft planks. You could use 2×6, 1×6, etc. 5/4 deck planks can hold me with only slight bowing and were the cheapest option at my store.|
|2||2×4 x 8 ft||Cut Four 23 1/2″ pieces (Backs of chairs)
Cut Four 11 1/4″ pieces (Arms rests on bench)
You will have some leftover.
|2||Pull Handle||Same price online, optional technically, but a nice touch|
|1||Drill & Drill Bits||If you need one, this is a cheap set that will get the job done for years|
|1||Saw||I used a miter (dangerous because I couldn’t cut the 2x10s with 1 cut), but if you don’t own a saw, this Circular Saw will do the job and not break the bank ($40 at time of writing)|
Complete steps for DIY Sandbox with Bench Seats
Step 3: Attach one more plank to each side using strap hinges only, do not fasten these two plants to the sides. Hinges go on OUTSIDE of sandbox. Make sure they open all the way – flip your hinge over if they don’t.
Step 4: Using the 11 1/4 inch 2×4’s and one more plank per side, fasten the hinged plank to the new plank. The 2×4’s go on the inside of the sandbox. I used some trash to space the 2×4’s out about 1/4 inch from the walls of the sandbox and a 6″ C-clamp to hold everything in place while I drilled pilot holes and secured the next plank from the top of the sandbox.
Step 5: Attach four hinges INSIDE the sandbox to the next two planks. I folded the seats out and worked from the top, but in hindsight, it would have been smarter to just flip the sandbox over for this step. An extra pair of hands would be helpful here.
Step 6: Close what you have so far and put the final two planks in place to determine spacing. I used scrap 2×4 and a 6″ C Clamp to hold the spacing I wanted while I attached the final plank and the 23 1/2″ 2×4’s. Open one side of the box and place a 2×4 on the back(outside) of the seat touching the ground at the angle you want the seats to lean. A slight backwards tilt is normal. Fasten 3 screws in each of the planks to the 2×4 from the inside of the seat (through plank first then 2×4)
Step 7: Attach handles as in the photo to make opening easier
Grand total for this DIY Sandbox with fold out seats was about $100. I made the mistake of buying hinges at Home Depot and they were very over priced compared to online. I already had tools and the sand came from the sandbox that Hurricane Irma ruined. If you have access to pallets you could easily build them out of that to save lots of money.
At 4×6 feet this is big enough for 2-3 kids and is really great for very little kids since the adult can sit in a chair while supporting them. My kids really enjoyed the little cove that is created under the seats and have already spent a few hours in the sandbox since I declared it open for business yesterday!