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19 Free DIY Sandbox Plans You Can Build Today (with Pictures)

Sandbox Plans

Sandbox Plans

A sandbox is typically a quick and easy build, but the amount of enjoyment your children will get out of it will be well worth the effort. Most of the time, learning how to build a sandbox can be done in a few hours and for less than a hundred dollars. Certainly, as plans get more elaborate and features increase, you will spend more time and money on the project. We put together these free sandbox plans for you to choose from. Some are more complicated than others, so be sure to read our notes about who should be taking on each individual project.

divider 4 The 19 DIY Sandbox Plans You Can Build

1. Sandbox By Lowes

DIY Sandox Lowes
Image By: Lowes

Tools: Circular Saw, Tape Measure, Drill/Driver & Bits, Hammer, Clamps
Supplies: 8 – 1-in x 6-in x 8-ft Cedar Boards (Actual: 3/4-in x 5-1/2-in x 8-ft), 4 – 1-in x 3-in x 8-ft Cedar Boards (Actual: 3/4-in x 2-1/2-in x 8-ft), 1-1/4-in Deck Screws, 3-in Deck Screws, Construction Adhesive

We start our list with this very simple and easy-to-build design offered by Lowes. This is an entirely free plan, probably because they want you to buy the supplies from them! If you are new to building and trying to make your backyard space more suitable for children, this sandbox is a perfect choice.

You can build this sandbox with the bench boards along the top or without. Lowes gives some recommendations for preparing the area where the sandbox will go and some suggestions for a cover as well. You will see as we move through our list, that a cover is an essential part of a sandbox for many reasons.

2. Sandbox from Bob Vila

Build a Sandbox
Image By: Bob Vila

Tools: Power drill
Supplies: Umbrella, 20-30 bags of sand, 10-foot pieces of wood (about 1 and 1/2-2 inches thick), screw, paint

We love the bright colors on the Bob Vila Sandbox design. Indeed, you can paint any sandbox model that you build, but we like the design that this one has. Also, this step-by-step plan will help any level builder complete this project. With this plan, you will also get information on how to add the corner support benches and even how to add an umbrella to your sandbox. For a backyard with little shade, the umbrella will make a big difference, and it’s not a hard accessory to add.

3. Sandbox With Folding Lid and Seats by Kaboom

Sandbox With Folding Lid and Seats
Image By: Kaboom


If your child has a love-hate relationship with the sand, this is the perfect sandbox by Kaboom. We love the sturdy benches that will accommodate even the slightly older child. The folding lid makes this sandbox plan a complete option. The size of this box can be modified, but this project is a little more complicated than some of the others we have found for you. If this is your first attempt at a DIY project, you may want to look into a more straightforward option. However, following the guide Kaboom gives along with all of their pictures and instructions, you should end up with a sturdy and functional sandbox.

4. Covered Sandbox from HGTV

Covered Sandbox from HGTV
Image Credit: HGTV

Tools: Circular saw, miter saw, drill, speed square or framing square, tape measure, staple gun with galvanized staples, paintbrush, roller and painter’ tape
Supplies: (2) sheets 4′ x 8′ x 1/2″ plywood, (2) 2×8 x 12′ pressure-treated boards, (7) 2×4 x 10′ pressure-treated boards, 1 large box (approx. 90 screws) 3” trim-head screws (for main construction), 30 sq. ft. of landscape fabric, exterior-grade paint, kid-safe sand

How can you not love this sandbox from HGTV? This completely shaded sandbox is, by far, one of our favorite options. There is so much room for kids to play comfortably and safely as well. The plan itself is laid out very well with a complete supplies and tool list. We liked that HGTV used a landscape fabric as the base of this sandbox. The landscape fabric helps to ensure proper drainage in your sandbox. Even with this cover, some water will get into the sand, and if it doesn’t drain properly, your sand will not last very long. The shade cover on this sandbox is just plywood painted, we do recommend adding a lid on the sand as it won’t protect from animals getting into your sand.

5. DIY Sandbox by Kenarry

DIY Sandbox by Kenarry
Image Credit: Kenarry

Tools: Hammer, framing square, cordless drill/driver, utility knife
Supplies: 16 – Landscape Timbers – 8 feet long each, 8 – 7″ Galvanized Pole Barn Nails, 36 – 5″ Exterior Wood Screws, 70 square feet of Weed Barrier, 2-3  yards of sand

Next on our list is this super simple DIY sandbox by Kenarry. The best thing about this sandbox is that you don’t even need to make a cut! If you don’t have a saw or don’t want to get involved in cutting angles or intricate corner pieces, this is the sandbox for you. This sandbox uses landscape timbers and a weed barrier to make this a safe and quick build that your kids can help with. You can always add benches or umbrellas to this set if it helps make it more appealing, but it’s hard to say no to a project that won’t take you more than a few hours to complete.

6. Easy DIY Sandbox by Creating My Happiness

Easy DIY Sandbox by Creating My Happiness
Image Credit: Creating My Happiness
Tools: Drill, saw
Supplies: Outdoor paint, sandpaper, wood, screws, canvas tarp

When Creating My Happiness says this sandbox is an easy build, we believe them. The reasoning behind taking on this project was that those manufactured plastic sandboxes were just too small for kids to enjoy. We couldn’t agree more, and something like this bright pop of color in your yard will look so much nicer as well. The picture shown on this sandbox does not show any type of landscape barrier on the bottom, but we highly recommend putting one it. It will keep the weeds from growing up and still allow the sand to drain appropriately when needed. If your kids are growing out of that plastic sandbox, now is the time to build one of these.

7. Sandbox Rockbox from Young House Love

Sandbox Rockbox from Young House Love
Image Credit: Young House Love

This is a great looking sandbox with several great features from Young House Love. For starters, this box has a great top that will keep the sand dry and keep animals out. One of the downsides to an extensive cover is that it’s heavy, and storing it can be a pain. What Young House Love did here was they put the cover on a hinge so it can open and close with ease. If you think that this could be dangerous, don’t worry, they thought of that too. When the cover is in the upright position, it locks to the fence.

Young House Love put a landscape barrier down in this sandbox, and they ended up filling this with rocks instead of sand. We think lots of kids would love a box full of trucks and rocks to play with. When this box is closed, the top is nice looking, and they mulched and planted around the box as well.

8. Sand Table by Mommy Needs Coffee

DIY Sandbox
Image Credit: mommyneedscoffeeblog

Tools: Sander, drill
Supplies: 2×4, storage container, nails

If you want your kids to be able to play in the sand but not have to be sitting in the sand, this Sand Table by Mommy Needs Coffee could be a good option. The construction of this table is very easy to do. You simply need to make a stand with four legs that a bin can fit inside. What we like about this sand table is that you can change the contents of the container at any time. Want to make it a rock table, water bead table, water table, it will only take you a few minutes to do so. Of course, the downside is the size as this table will be best for younger children.

9. Sandbox Picnic Table from Home Hardware

Sandbox Picnic Table from Home Hardware
Image Credit: Home Hardware
Tools: Mitre Saw, Reciprocating Saw, Circular Saw, Hole Saw, Sander, Countersink Bit, Paint Brush, Foam Roller
Supplies: (8) 2”x6” Spruce (8-foot lengths), (8) 1”x4” Spruce (8-foot lengths), (7) 2″x4″ Spruce (8-foot lengths), (1) 5/8” Spruce Plywood (4’x8′ sheet), 1 1/2” Screws, 3” Screws, Wood Glue, BeautiTone Signature Paint – Exterior Flat

From Home Hardware comes this delightful sandbox with a genuine twist; it’s in the middle of a covered picnic table and benches! You’ll need moderate DIY skills and a decent range of tools to create this sandbox, but the plans are easy to follow, and the results are fantastic. Your kids can sit and relax rather than squat down or sit on their knees, and there’s enough room for at least four of them to play together. The slatted roof over this lovely sandbox picnic table is also perfect for protecting young ones from the sun.

10. Sandbox and Planter Combo from I Like to Make Stuff

Sandbox and Planter Combo from I Like to Make Stuff
Image Credit: I Like To Make Stuff
Tools: Drill/Driver Combo, Miter Saw, Staple gun
Supplies: 8′ pressure treated 2×6 (2 pieces), 8’pressure treated 2×8 (2 pieces), 8′ decking boards (4 pieces), 8′ pressure treated 1×4 (3 pieces), 3/4″ pressure treated plywood 36’x48′, 3/4″ pressure treated plywood 18’x48′, Plastic sheeting or thick plastic dropcloth

For those with small children and a green thumb comes this delightful sandbox/planter combo from I Like to Make Stuff. Raised off the ground, the sandbox is high enough to give kids easy access while standing.  All the instructions, tools, and materials needed are listed, making this a straightforward, relatively easy DIY project.

11. Kids Sand Table from Shanty 2 Chic

Kids Sand Table from Shanty 2 Chic
Image Credit: Shanty 2 Chic
Tools: Kreg jig, drill, nail gun
Supplies: Screws, wood glue, wood, 1 1/4″ brad nails, 3/4″ pocket holes, 1.25″ pocket hole screws, wood stain, sash pulls

Sandboxes are traditionally low to the ground and uncovered. However, these sandbox plans from Shanty 2 Chic throw those old features out the window. The sand table is raised off the ground and features a convenient lid to keep the sand clean and dry. That makes this sandbox portable and able to fit almost anywhere, even on a small patio or porch. It can be constructed with minimal tools and beginner DIY skills.

12. Boat Sandpit from Ana White

Boat Sandpit from Ana White
Image Credit: Ana White
Tools: Tape measure, speed square, pencil, safety glasses, ear protection, drill, circular saw, drill bit set
Supplies: 2 – 2×12 @ 8 feet long, 3 – 2×6 @ 8 feet long, 1 – 2×4 @ 8 feet long, 1 – 2×4 @ 12 feet long, 3 yards exterior fabric, 45” width, Exterior rope, Elmer’s Wood Max Glue, 2-1/2” self tapping deck screws (about 50), wood (2 – 2×12 @ 8 feet long – sides, 2 – 2×6 @ 49” long – deck, 4 – 2×6 @ 45” long – hull, 2 – 2×4 @ 45” long – hull, 2 – 2×4 @ 72” long – mast, cut from 12’ long 2×4, 1 –1-1/4” wood dowel @48” long)

For parents and kids who love all things nautical, these free DIY sandbox plans from Ana White are ideal. The website gives all the details, including a cut list, tool list, and detailed instructions with pictures. If you provide your email address, they will also send free, detailed plans that will help even more. The result is a charming sandbox that looks like a sailboat heading out to sea. Plus, the sail will provide protection from the sun’s UV rays.

13. Sandbox Activity Center from Home-Dzine

Sandbox Activity Center from Home-Dzine
Image Credit: HOME DZINE
Tools: Drill / Drive plus assorted bits, Orbital or multi sander plus 120- and 240-grit sanding pads, Mitre saw, Bosch Tacker or heavy-duty stapler, Tape measure, pencil
Supplies: 6 of 19 x 94 x 1420mm PAR pine – front / back of base (corners cut at 45-degree mitres), 6 of 19 x 94 x 1158mm PAR pine – sides of base (corners cut at 45-degree mitres), 11 of 32 x 69 x 282mm PAR pine – base frame supports, 2 of 19 x 144 x 1177mm PAR pine – seat sides, 1 of 19 x 144 x 1458mm PAR pine – seat front, 1 of 19 x 69 x 1170mm PAR pine – seat back, 13 of 12 x 94 x 1526mm PAR pine – back slats, 3 of 19 x 94 x 1222mm PAR pine – back supports, 2 of 19 x 144 x 560mm PAR pine – back angled sides, cut to shape, 3.5 x 30mm screws / 4 x 45mm screws, 2 of hinges, 2 of eyebolts, 6 x 80 mm, 2 of large washers, Pattex No More Nails exterior adhesive, Nylon rope, Aluminium sheet for blackboard, 600 x 1000mm, Rust-Oleum Chalkboard paint and foam roller, Pond liner for based (optional), Sandpit sand

Sometimes your kids want to play in the sand and do other stuff at the same time. That’s when these free DIY sandbox plans from Home-Dzine will come in very handy. When you lift the convenient lid, it reveals an activity center with a chalkboard, basketball net, and anything else you want to put there. The bench around the base gives the kids lots of space to sit, too, and it can all be protected from the elements by simply folding down the lid. It’s a low-difficulty DIY project but requires a moderate range of tools.

14. Covered Sandbox with Shade Canopy from Simply Easy DIY

Covered Sandbox with Shade Canopy from Simply Easy DIY
Image Credit: Simply Easy DIY
Tools: Table saw, drill, sandpaper
Supplies: 7 – 1×4 furring strips (actual furring strips are 3-3/8″ wide not 3-1/2″ as a normal 1×4 would be.  If you use regular 1x4s you will need to adjust the length of two of the box side pieces from 31-3/8″ to 32-1/2″.), 3 – 2x4s, 2 – 2x8s, 1 – 2×2 (If you have the ability to rip material on a table saw then you can use the waste from the 2x8s instead of purchasing this.), 2 sets of 3″ strap hinges, 1 Box of 3″ screws, 1 Box of 1-1/2″ screws, 6 Bags of Play Sand, 1 Roll of Shade Fabric, wood (2 – 2×8 base pieces @ 48″, 2 – 2×8 base pieces @ 31-3/8″, 9 – top cover slats @ 3-3/8″ x 48″, 2 – 2×2 seat back bench cross members @ 18″, 2 –  2×2 seat bench cross members @ 11″, 2 – 2×4 vertical posts @ 60″, 1 – 2×4 Horizontal canopy cross piece @ 52-1/2″, 2 – 1×4 Canopy Support Pieces @ 60″, 2 – 1×4 Post Spacers @ 7-1/2″

Sandboxes can become very hot in the summer. That problem is solved with this fantastic covered sandbox from Simply Easy DIY. As the name suggests, this rather traditional sandbox has a cover to keep the sand inside clean. The shade canopy adds a layer of UV protection, which is essential if you live where the sun beats down hot and heavy. As with the other free DIY sandbox plans on our list, this one has all the necessary instructions. They also have a video tutorial on YouTube.

15. Basic Sandbox from How to Specialist

Basic Sandbox from How to Specialist
Image Credit: How to Specialist
Tools: Safety gloves, glasses, miter saw, jigsaw, pocket hole jig, chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil, drill machinery, drill bit
Supplies: Lumber (sizes in DIY link), landscaping fabric, screws, glue, stain, wood filler

This basic DIY sandbox from How to Specialist is for anyone who wants a sandbox for their kids but doesn’t have the time or a deep skillset to make a fancy one. For this sandbox, all you need are some basic tools, basic DIY skills, and a brief amount of time. When you’re done, you’ll get a standard but attractive sandbox that will delight the average toddler and keep them happily playing for many hours.

16. Sand and Water Play Table from The DIY Plan

Sand and Water Play Table from The DIY Plan
Image Credit: TheDIYPlan
Tools: Drill, Tape Measure, Miter Saw, Table Saw, 1 3/4″ Hole Saw Bit, Kreg Jig, Sander
Supplies: 2x6x8′ (x5), 2x4x8′ (x1), 1x6x8′ (x1), 1x4x8′ (x6), 2″ Wood Screws, 2 1/2″ Wood Screws, 1 1/4″ Pocket hole screws, 2 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws, Screw Eyes #10, Cup Hooks 3/4 inch, Wood Glue, 23″ x 16 1/4″ x 6″ totes (x2)

If you have bigger kids, a sandbox will probably be very low on their list of things to play with. On the other hand, if you use these free DIY plans to make a sand and water play table, your older kids will flock around it! Depending on what they want, this table play table can either use sand or water on its fun ramps and passageways. Filling, transferring, pouring, and watching the sand and water move around, aided by gravity, is a real treat, too! Even the most jaded kids will have a blast, and you can easily change it from water to sand.

17. Large Covered Sandbox by Ana White

Large Covered Sandbox by Ana White
Image Credit: Ana White
Tools: 120 grit sandpaper, paintbrush, tape measure, speed square, pencil, hammer, safety glasses, ear protection, drill, circular saw, sander, staple gun, level
Supplies: 4 – 2×8 Boards (8′ Length), 4 – 1×3 Boards (8′ Length), 4 – 2×2 Boards (8′ Length), 4 – 1×4 Boards (8′ Length), 2 inch screws, 2 1/2 inch screws, 3 inch screws, 1-1/4″ Pocket Hole Screws, 2-1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws, Elmer’s Wood Glue, Elmer’s Wood Filler, primer, wood conditioner, paint, wood (2 – 2×8 Boards @ 76″ (Sandbox Sides), 2 – 2×8 Boards @ 73″ (Sandbox Sides), 2 – 1×3 Boards @ 73″ (Top Trim), 2 – 1×3 Boards @ 78″ (Top Trim), 4 – 2×2 Boards @ 67 1/2″ (Canopy Posts), 2 – 1×4 Boards @ 73″ (Canopy Sides), 2 – 1×4 Boards @ 74 1/2″ (Canopy Sides), 4 – 1×4 @ 5 3/4″ (Corner Bracing for Canopy Top, ends mitered at 45 degrees)

Are you looking for DIY sandbox plans for a massive sandbox? These plans from Ana White fit the bill perfectly! Not only will they show you how to build a big sandbox, but it’s also covered completely, too! It’s 6 feet 6 inches square and is big enough for six to 10 toddlers! Not only will the kids have plenty of room to play, but since this sandbox is covered, they’ll be safe from the sun’s damaging rays.

divider 4 Conclusion

The majority of the free DIY sandbox plans that we came up with only require a few tools, some wood, and some screws so learning how to build a sandbox is easier than ever. Some more complicated models also had hinges or wheels but most of these should cost less than $200 and be completed in a day or less. The great thing about sandboxes is that although you will have to replace the sand from time to time, the actual box should last for quite some time.

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Featured Image Credit: MarjonBesteman, Pixabay


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