Large Covered Sandbox

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 04/20/2010 - 20:30
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Provide endless hours of play under shade with this easy to build sandbox. Featuring a large play area and canopy, this sandbox will bring all the fun of the beach to your back yard.

78" x 78" x 60"


Shopping List

4 – 2×8 Boards (8′ Length) 

4 – 1×3 Boards (8′ Length) 
4 – 2×2 Boards (8′ Length) 
4 – 1×4 Boards (8′ Length)
Common Materials
2 inch screws
2 1/2 inch screws
3 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

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)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Circular Saw
Power Sander
Staple Gun
General Instructions

General Instructions. Cut your boards and sand and paint as desired, sealing all edges with an exterior sealant. Make sure the finish is appropriate for child use. As you build, check for square after each step. Also check for level. Predrill and countersink your screws. Use necessary safety precautions and equipment.


Step 1

Dig. That’s right. Dig. Rake, whatever you need to do, create a level surface for your sandbox. Then build the sandbox as shown above, using 3″ screws to fasten the corners. Predrill and countersink your screw holes. Level the sandbox by using rocks as shims or digging down high points.

Step 2

Trim. Fasten the top trim to the LONGER sides, as shown above. Use the 2″ screws. Keep inside edges flush.

Step 3

Trim. Finish the trim, as shown above, screwing in place using 2″ screws. Notice how this trim overlaps the joint on the sandbox sides? Make sure you fasten to both sides of the sandbox sides to reinforce the joint.

Step 4

Canopy Posts. The canopy posts actually act as corner blocking to strengthen your corners. Be sure to screw the corners to both pieces of the sides, two screws per side, for a total of 8 screws per corner.

Step 5

Step 6

Canopy Corners. To keep the top straight, add corner blocking as shown above. Make sure your canopy is square before attaching the blocking.


Kelly Tillotson (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 06:17

Oh my gosh, I am so excited you did this....when I requested it a while back I thought you would be too busy to do plans for it....thank you thank you thank you! now hopefully i can find a friend that knows a thing or two about carpentry so I can make this my first official project!!! I hope I will have a nice finished project to show off to you within the next monthhhhh !! Thank you again!!!!
*Kelly Tillotson

Julie (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 06:26

Looks lovely!!

For those asking for covers, we have a similar sandbox under the playstructure that came with our house and found an online retailer selling tarps that work well. You could probably make one yourself, too. You just buy a big enough tarp and cut/hem the corners to fit around the posts. Then you can buy these snaps that nail one part onto the sandbox side and one part is clamped onto the tarp hem and the whole thing snaps down with 4-5 snaps on each side depending on size. Snap screw studs. You could probably do something similar to make to top-tarp moveable. But honestly if you're making the top tarp I'd just cut the material long enough on each side to hang down and then attach some ties so you can roll it up and tie it high/medium/low. Maybe put a dowel rod in the hem so it holds a nice solid line.

We put the slightly waterproof liner under our sand to keep the mud/bugs/growth out but it does make the sand retain more moisture, too.

Jenny Hillman (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 06:28

Serendipity! My husband and I were talking LAST NIGHT about building a sand box for our lil' guy's birthday coming up next month! We wanted to have a Dino Dig party, and thought it would be fun to have a place to dig up dino 'bones' and 'eggs'. Perfect!!! Thank you, Ana!!
xo Jenny

The Oxford Family (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 06:30

My mom built me a sandbox 25+ years ago! It had triangle like seats on each of the 4 corners and we loved them! I hope to someday build this...with the seats :)

todddemars (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:15

Check your local hardware stores for replacement screen for windows and doors. Look for the extra heavy duty kind which is sometimes labeled as UV protector. This is simply thicker and heavier duty, but reflects more UV rays. Add grommets and/or snaps like Julie said and you have your sun shade for the top or sides. We rolled the side shades around dowels and used cord for mini blinds as pulls to roll them up out of the way. And 'Yes' we kept the cords wrapped higher than the kids could reach.

Kent (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:25

Looks really nice. I like the sun cover. It could use a cover for the sand to keep out the cat poop, though!

Rae (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:33

Love this. you guys had same thoughts as me - I'd say use that black landscaping fabric for the bottom. love the triangle seat ideas, or you could do straight benches along opposite sides and then you'd have a much easier time creating a cover for it. I wish I had a house to build this, lol.

Mary (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 07:46

We built a sandbox a few years ago, without the canopy, tho we did make seats on each corner with triangle pieces. We also used black landscaping fabric on the bottom to keep out weeds- it works amazingly well!

Renanda (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 09:08

How do you keep bugs out? Or is that a stupid question? I remember being terrified of the sand box as a kid because it always had pincher bugs in it. Yes, that's the scientfic name, pincher bugs ;)

Danielle (not verified)

Wed, 04/21/2010 - 15:59

I love it too. The link to the pottery barn pictures shows a canvas fabric laid across the top of the sandbox that ties at each corner which would work quite well to keep out the animals. I've seen covers similar to the one on Bob Dila's site made of screen instead of lattice. I think the lattice is MUCH prettier. His is for a smaller sandbox, so if making one this big...just to make it easier to handle, maybe making two half-sized frames with lattice would be, you wouldn't have to worry about whether you could angle it in to fit it under and between the canopy posts.

The fabric solution looks nice and easy though...although I'd probably use a solid dark red canvas or something so that animal footprints (and child footprints) don't make it so dirty instead of the one they show with white stripes.

I'm wondering if for the fabric one, you could make a pocket, kind of like you would for a curtain rod on one edge, and insert some kind of pole (like PVC), and then when you take it off, you could roll it up around the pole, so it could lean against the house or something while it's off...or even be somehow permanently attached so that when the kids are done playing for the day, they can just roll the cover back out.

Ana, I absolutely LOVE your plans and haven't made anything yet, but I am dreaming of several projects that I will be trying really soon.

Thanks so much for creating these.

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