Written by Kristina Phelan
How to Build A DIY Sandbox
Creating a sandbox for children to use in the backyard is a great way to get them outdoors while using their imaginations at the same time. You could easily find items that local garage sale fanatics might be selling and repurpose them into a sandbox – think kiddie pools, oversized tires, and the like – or you could opt to create a traditional-looking one from scratch.
From creating towers to digging holes in the sand, almost every kid enjoys the beloved sandbox. It’s a welcome addition to any backyard, especially when can proudly say you built it yourself. Check out these easy steps to create your own DIY sandbox this summer.
Step 1: Build a Frame
Every sandbox needs a frame, and you can easily build one out of pieces of 2” x 10” pressure-treated wood boards from the lumber yard. Simply decide how big you want your sandbox to be, and screw pieces of wood together to make a frame. Use 3” decking screws to secure the ends together to create a sturdy frame.
Step 2: Attach the Bottom
Remember that you will flip the box over after construction, so the bottom of the sandbox is actually the top of the box while building. Use a piece of pressure-treated plywood to cover the top of the frame that you created using more decking screws. Consider getting two pieces of plywood that are the same size so that one can be used as a cover when the sandbox is not in use.
Step 3: Brace the Bottom
Sand is quite heavy and will become even heavier if it gets wet during a rainstorm. Consider bracing the bottom of the sandbox with extra wood pieces to give it more support. Use 2” x 2” boards that are the same length of the sandbox and place three of them across the base of the plywood to add crucial extra support.
Step 4: Add Corner Braces
Flip the box over so that the bottom is sitting on the ground. Cut triangles with 90-degree angles for each of the four corners out of the pressure-treated 2” x 10” boards. Attach each triangle on top of the frame at each corner to provide extra stability for the sandbox frame. These triangles are also great seats for little ones to use while playing in the sandbox.
Step 5: Attach a Cover Handle
With the extra piece of plywood, create a handle by drilling two holes in one side and attaching some rope through the holes. Covers are very important for sandboxes because they deter neighborhood cats from using them as litter boxes. They also help keep the sand dry in case of passing storms.
Step 6 (Optional): Paint It Up
Although the wood doesn’t have to be painted, doing so will create a better overall look as well as add a layer of protection from the elements. Choose some leftover paint that you may already have on hand or purchase a small amount of outdoor paint in your kids’ favorite color to help personalize your sandbox even more.
Step 7: Pick a Spot, Add Sand
The last step is to place the sandbox where you want it before adding sand. The sandbox will be very heavy when filled, so make sure to pick a spot in the yard that can support the weight. Good options are the patio or an area of grass on the outside perimeter of the lawn. Once you have the perfect spot, pick up some kid-safe sand from a local store. Consider measuring the box to ensure that you purchase enough sand to fill it up. Typically, you’ll need much more than you think!
Building your own sandbox is a great option for those who want to create an easy, customized project for kids. You get to pick the size of the sandbox that fits your needs, and maybe even involve the kids in building it to create a lasting family memory. Follow the steps above to build a DIY sandbox that your kids will enjoy for years to come.
Kristina Phelan is a freelance writer and her parenting column, Mama Bear Moxie, is printed in a few newspapers across the country. She lives on a farm in the Midwest with her husband, three kiddos, and too many animals.