Friday, February 22, 2013

Build a Better Sandbox

Papa made the kids a sandbox and they love it. It is easy to make one, and doesn't cost much. We choose to use 2x4's stacked two high to keep cost down but you could use a 2x8 instead to save some construction time and effort. We are all tease Papa around here because whenever he makes something, it's very well made; perhaps he puts more effort into his projects than necessary because it's a work of love! 
We already had the landscape cloth and the screening material, both of which we thought were 5 foot wide; um... they were 4 foot. I think I would have liked to have had the finished sandbox be 3 1/2 foot by 4 foot rather than 4 foot by 4 foot because of the 4 foot widths of those two items. We would not have had to overlap and sew the screening, and we would have been able to easily use one layer of landscape cloth. You decide after you read through this tutorial what is best for you. For this project you will need :
  • 4 8' redwood 2x4's 
  • 6 or 7 8'1x2's
  • 2 feet of redwood 4x4, or 2x4's screwed together
  • a 6 foot length of landscape cloth (ours was 4 foot wide)
  • 6 foot of nylon screening, or 2 pieces of 4' if you want to wrap the edge.
  • Sand **
  • 3" deck screws
  • Finishing nails
  • Chop saw
  • Drill
  • staple gun
  • belt or hand sander
  • Your choice of wood finish/sealer....we used a 50/50 mix of turpentine and linseed oil.
You will make a square, drill your holes then screw together with deck screws.
Sand all rough edges.

Cut 4x4 sections, sand the edges.  Drill through and then screw into place into each corner. Trim the landscape cloth back to the edge.
Cut 1x2's to fit top and nail them with finishing nails on the top edge of the 2x4's covering the staples and the landscape cloth. Counter sink the nails. Sand this edge well. 

Now you are ready to seal or finish anyway you would like. Ours is out in the rain and sun so we chose to seal it with a 50/50 mix of turpentine and linseed oil that is brushed on, to make it waterproof and keep weathering to a minimum. The great thing about this mix is that it won't peel like varnishes or other sealers will. We suggest you do several coats, allow drying time between coats. Now it's ready for sand.
I didn't have the chance to photo this as he made it but here is the finished lid. It is made to fit over and not on top of the sandbox. The screening material is wrapped over the edge and stapled.
In hindsight, we would have made the lid to fit evenly on top and used some sort of latch to hold it down tight; perhaps using weather stripping to make it scorpion proof. Also it would have been easier to run the braces back and forth across the top instead of making an X and still would have worked well. 
**There are some questions being raised about the safety of sand in sand boxes and play grounds these days. It seems some people are concerned about silica in the sand. I believe, after some research, that it is the dust and not the sand that is the issue. The sand we purchased was from a landscape supply and it was sold in bulk....they dumped it into our truck bed. 

We purchased 600 lbs. and had some left over. The cost was about $27. It is the same sand that is used in sand traps on golf courses and it is so clean and dust free; I really love it! Before Papa made this sandbox we used a little plastic tub for a sandbox and had purchased play sand at our local home improvement store by the bag. It was expensive and very very dusty. I would never buy that sand again for my kids to play in. So I suggest you do your research and decide for yourself what is safe and what is not. 

I link at these parties.

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  1. Thank you for those beautifully photographed and very clear instructions. I think grandpa could handle it! He made a simple one for the kids when they were young, but now it's time for the grandkids to enjoy one. The plastic box we already have is too small - why even bother?

  2. You really do a wonderful job of writing instructions! The grandchildren will just love it and even more so because you DID make it yourself! I miss the sandbox days...

  3. Hi! Followed you over from Sun Scholars Friday link up. I really need to show this to my husband. We have a beautiful flat backyard and a 15 month old who loves sandboxes. Thanks for sharing!


  4. What a great post, Connie! One day, when I have a yard, I am totally going to have Ethan build me one!

  5. This was a great post.. Ah a sandbox.. How I wish I had little kids again.. I remember my own sandbox when I was kid. My dad made mine too and it had a cover. I spent a lot of time in that box... Hope your kids make many memories in theirs... :)
    I wonder if you could help me? If you have time, could you pop on over to my blog and give an opinion on my post about blog etiquette? I had a question and I'd love some answers from seasoned bloggers. Thanks so much :)

  6. I want to make one for our grandkids. You've put a lot more into it than I had planned, it looks wonderful for the kids! We are similar, we too have 5 kids (his & mine), are empty nesters, but only 7 grandkids and we don't get scorpions! (thank Heavens!)
    Saw you sharing at Serenity Now.
    Debbie :)

  7. I was thinking we might do a sandbox this year, we already have sand in the garage. Thanks for posting this.

    Visiting today from Raising Imperfection. :)

  8. That is a great sandbox. You did a great on it and the tutorial. Thank you so much for sharing at A Bouquet of Talent! Have a wonderful week. :)


  9. Looks great--we may be ready for a sandbox this summer! Stopping by from Frugal Crafty Home Blog Hop--thanks for linking up!

  10. I wish I had the room for it!

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  11. Some great tips on sandboxes! I am going to keep that tip in mind for sand.

    Thank you for linking up to Raising Imperfection!

  12. You and Pappa are smart cookies to make your own sandbox! They charge an arm and a leg for those plastic ones that so easily break! Thanks for sharing at A New Creation link party this week!

  13. When our son was little we built him an incredible sandbox for all the great trucks he received for Christmas and that winter it proceeded to rain for nearly a month - not common in southern California. He did end up getting lots of use out of it.

    Enjoy the fun times with your grands.

  14. Thanks for linking up at Show Me Your Plaid Monday's!

  15. This is so perfect for the seasons to come!...our sand turtle has become to small for kiddo and I always dreamed of having something like this instead. Will show hubs for him to make it happen! Thank You for posting. Hopped over from the An Oldie but Goodie Party!

  16. Cool sandbox! Thanks for sharing @ Submarine Sunday!


  17. Very nice. I'm sure your kids love it! :-)

  18. This is a great project! Thank you for sharing! I'd love it if you'd link up to my party..going on now :)


  19. What a great project! Thanks so much for sharing this on The Creative HomeAcre! I can't wait to see what you share next time at...

  20. This is great especially the cover to keep the cat's out! I need to have my husband make one of these.

  21. The screen over the top is so smart. Love this. Thank you for linking up to the GRAND Social.

  22. Newest follower here! I found you through the blog hop. You have a super cute blog! I look forward to reading more.

    You can find me at


  23. This looks so fun! I bet my son would like that this summer since he's old enough to play with sand now. I've also seen this kid's sand that's supposed to be safe. He plays with it at daycare and it's a little thicker.

  24. Awesome sandbox. When Sammie was little it was one of her favorite things to play in & with. Thanks for sharing & linking up @ Hope your having a great week!

  25. Such a good idea! Right now we have a step 2 plastic sandbox and I am really pushing for my husband to build the kids a wooden one!

  26. Great tips! Please share your entry on Creative Crafts Thursday,, and any of your favorite projects each and every week!

  27. Fabulous DIY sandbox tutorial! thanks so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  28. What a wonderful sandbox! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  29. Awesome tutorial! I will be saving this one for sure. I like that it has a lid. The only safety concern I have with sandboxes is animals getting into it, so a lid would be mandatory for me.

  30. This is great - perfect for moms with preschoolers! I'd love it if you'd link this to my Family Fun Friday linky party. Address:
    Thanks again,

  31. Good tutorial! We got rid of our sandbox because of the critter issue, plus it was hard to keep the sand dry once the kids broke the lid.

    Thanks for linking up at Fabulously Frugal Thursday. Hope to see you next week!

  32. Thank you so much for sharing this post in our weekly Crafty Showcase. Congrats it was one of our Bowdabra Designers top picks of the week and you are being featured. Stop over and see your feature -

    This sandbox project AWESOME!!! What a great idea!

    Have a super weekend!

    Susie @Bowdabra

  33. Great project! Thank you for joining my link party. :)

  34. Sand boxes bring hours of fun. Our kids always loved playing in one. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  35. Great project and great tutorial. Love the idea of sanding and cutting angles to reduce the sharp edges and chance of splinters. We covered our sand boxes too but to keep out the neighbor's cats. I don't know which I would dread more -- cat poo or scorpions!!! Glad the cover keeps them both at bay. Thanks so much for sharing on Busy Monday!

  36. I am so so so ready for summer--and this post is making me want it to be summer even more! Thanks for bringing this to the Oldie's party! Hope to see you back there next week.

  37. Thanks for sharing your cool idea with us! Stop by again next week and link up another cool idea.

    Have a great week!
    Susie @bowdabra

  38. Beautifully done and thanks so much for sharing this. Linda

  39. Love Love Love this! I totally want to do this for my son. Our backyard is rather small & limited. This would be great in it.

    Thanks for linking up at Crafty Thursday Obsessions. Hope to see you this week again.

    Have a great week <3

  40. Love this sandbox idea! Thank you so much for sharing @The Weekend re-Treat!

    Hope you have a fantastic rest of your week :)

  41. Connie, this tutorial is just fabulous! My dad made us a sandbox when we were very young and we LOVED it! I featured this today on my blog, so stop by and check it out/grab a Featured button:

  42. I love this! My hubby made a sandbox for my kids and they love it - it's great that you provided a tutorial so that everybody can make one. Thanks for sharing this at my link party last week. I hope you can join again this week!


  43. So sturdy and fun! The screened lid is especially nice, as the kids will want clean sand to play in, and you surely don't want scorpions to join playtime. Thanks for sharing the great tutorial - should be really easy for homeowners to follow.

  44. One yr later, still a great DIY SANDBOX! Yeah!!! Connie: you rock.


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