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Easy DIY Sandbox

My kids have been asking for a sandbox since going to a play date at a friend’s house and playing in their sandbox! 

I knew it was a goal of mine this spring to pull one together for them.  I always knew I would DIY our sandbox.  I knew I could make one cheaper and larger than anything I could buy in a retail store.  For me this project became even more efficient when I came across a free garden bed frame! 

There are a few things I would have done differently had I not had this free frame; which of course I will share along the way!  Either way, my kids are beyond happy with their sandbox and have spent so much time playing in it since we completed it! 

Step One: Decide on Size and Location

The first step in creating a DIY sandbox is to decide on the size and location.  Ideally, you want to choose an area that has plenty of room for kids to play both in the sandbox and around it! 

Once you have your set location, decide on the size.  I would recommend sticking with a size that would require less material.  You could also make this box with either 6″ boards or 12″ boards depending on how deep you’d want your sand box.

For a 6′ x 6′ sandbox, you would only need two 12′ boards.

For a 4′ x 8′ sandbox, you could use three 8′ boards.

For a 6′ x 12′ sandbox (and to be greatest parent of all time!), you would need three 12′ boards.

Our sandbox is 4′ x 8′ x 6″, since this was the size of the garden bed we repurposed into our sandbox.  Personally, if I did not have this box, I would have went with the 6′ x 6′ size!  I think the square frame would make for better spacing and I think the 4′ edge is a bit to narrow.  *This is my take, again my kids see no issue! 

I feel the 6″ depth is perfect for us!  There is plenty of sand there to dig and build with! 

Step Two: Clear the Sandbox Location

With your size and location decided, you will now want to clear the space of any weeds and grass.  My kids helped me with this step, and really enjoyed being able to help!

I just raked the space and pulled all of the large patches of weeds.  I did this to create a smoother bottom to the sandbox as well as to make laying the lining easier. 

Step Three: Build the Box Frame

This is the part that will actually hold the sand.  As I mentioned early, I repurposed a garden bed frame that was already built but to build this frame is very simple!

For a 6′ x 6′ sandbox, cut your two 12′ boards in half.  

For a 4′ x 8′ sandbox, cut one 8′ board in half.

For a 6′ x 12′ sandbox, cut one 12′ board in half.

To assemble, lay the boards on the edges and butt the edges together.  Use four 3 inch exterior screws in each corner to attach the frame together.

Step Four: Line with a Weed Barrier

You will definitely want to line your sandbox with a weed barrier.  You can use landscape fabric or a thick plastic.  I used a XXmm plastic because this is what I had on hand and I didn’t want to buy anything.  If you are purchasing a weed barrier, I would recommend leaning towards the landscaping fabric as this allows for some drainage if your sand ever gets wet or rained on. 

I laid my plastic out on the sandbox and then used a staple gun to go around the edges and staple the plastic to the top edge of the box boards.  Once I had stapled it all around, I then used a utility knife to cut away an excess on the edge.

*Tip: be sure you are pushing the liner down and allowing for some excess/give as you staple it on.

Step Five: Build the Seat/Ledge Frame

This frame will sit on top of the actual sandbox frame to create a ledge and edge seat all the way around the box. 

This ledge is important to help keep the sand inside the sand box.  

I used the same boards, the 2″ x 6″ boards, that my box was built out of to make this ledge frame.  I decided that I wanted a 1 1/2″ lip on the outside of the box.  Therefore, this required four 2″ x 6″ x 8′ boards.  My short edges were cut at 51″ and the long edges were cut at 88″. 

Optional: Once my boards were cut, I then drilled pocket holes on each side of the short edged boards and then attached these boards to the long boards.  This is optional, however, this will help overtime to hold the corners tighter together. 

Step Six: Attach the Seat/Ledge Frame to the Sandbox

With the ledge built, I just flipped it over on top of the sandbox and aligned it accordingly, with a 1 1/2″ overhang all the way around.

Then, I used 2 1/2″ exterior screws, every about 12″, to secure the ledge frame to the sandbox frame. 

Step Seven: Fill with Sand!

At this point you are ready for sand!  I would recommend searching for a local landscaping supply company and getting your sand by the truck load.  This will be a much less costly way to fill up your new sand box! 

Once your box is full, your DIY sandbox is complete!  It’s time to sit back and watch the kids enjoy hours of fund in the sand! 

Next up: DIY Sandbox Cover!

Make sure to cover your sandbox when its not being played in!  You can create a simple and easy cover by just using a tarp and some weights around the edges.  This is how our sandbox is currently being covered.  I do have short-term plans to build a waterproof cover so that full post will be forthcoming! 

Easy DIY Sandbox Products

easy DIY sandbox

Easy DIY Sandbox

Prep Time 2 hours
Build Time 6 hours
Total Time 8 hours


  • Miter Saw
  • Drill
  • Staple Gun
  • Pocket Hole Jig


  • ~6 boards 2 inch x 6 inch x 8 foot (or ~Four 2 inch x 6 inch x 12 foot boards)
  • ~30 screws 3 inch Screws
  • 8 screws 2 1/2 inch Pocket Hole Screws
  • 36 sq.ft. Landscaping Fabric (or thick plastic lining)


  • Decide on size & location of your sandbox.
  • Clear the sandbox location of grass & weeds.
  • Build the box frame.
  • Line the sandbox with a weed barrier.
  • Build seat/ledge frame.
  • Attach the seat/ledge to the sandbox frame.
  • Fill with sand!
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