Sand Box with Built-In Seats

Submitted by Lady Goats on Thu, 05/23/2019 - 10:59
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Everyone with a sand box knows that lids are a necessity. But double-duty lids are crazy awesome, especially if they convert to a seat! This easy to build sandbox with built-in seats is a reader favorite and has been built thousands of times.

For more awesome projects (or to leave some love if you've built this) visit my blog at

photo of stained wood sandbox with fold over cover that converts to seats

It's a flat deck when closed, a sandbox with built in seats when open!  We love this simple sandbox plan by Lady Goats!

Before you get building, please take a second to read through our Outdoor Wood Finishing Secrets - there's also information on selecting wood - so that you sandbox lasts through all your children.

dimensions of the sandbox diagram
47 1/2" W x 47 1/2" D x 7 1/2" H


Shopping List
  • 2 - 1 x 8 @ 8 Feet Long
  • 6 - 1 x 4 @ 8 Feet Long
  • 1 - 2 x 4 @ 8 or Stud Length

You will also need:

  • 4 sets of exterior grade hinges
  • Rope OR 4 exterior grade handles (search "gate pull" or "gate handle")
Common Materials
Cut List

(a) 2 - 1 x 8 @ 47 1/2" - long sides of box

(b) 2 - 1 x 8 @ 46" - short sides of box

(c) 12 - 1 x 4 @ 47 1/2" - top planks

(d) 4 - 2 x 4 @ 7 1/2" - arm rests

(e) 4 - 2 x 4 @ 12 1/2" - back support/handle

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Miter Saw
Power Sander
Drill Bit Set
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Create a basic box, insetting the short sides as shown above. You can either use pocket holes or pre-drill through the long sides and use 1 1/4" screws.

Step 2

Screw in two planks on each side, countersinking your screws through the top. Space the boards 1/2" apart

Step 3

Create what will become the seat. Screw the 1 x 4 boards (1/2" apart) onto the 2 x 4 arm rests (d). Make sure that the 2 x 4s are at least 1" inset from the edge to allow for them to fold into the box nicely. (you'll be making two of these)

Step 4

I have NO idea how to add hinges in sketch-up, but attach the seat that you made in step 3 to the plank you screwed in in step 2. I found it easier to attach the hinge to the seat (on the side opposite the arm rests) and THEN attach it to the screwed-in plank. Make sure to space them 1/2" apart.

Step 5

Step 6

Attach your second set of hinges to the seat back, on the opposite side of the 2 x 4s, and then attach to the seat (easy to do with the seat "up"). Make sure to space the 1/2" apart.



Mon, 01/16/2012 - 17:12

I'd love to make this when I get done with the gazillion other projects I have lined up for myself. hehe. I'm going to try to come up with some sort of canopy to go over it too...Thanks so much for the plans. My kids will have a ton of fun.

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:04

Am I missing something or is the cut list off? Should it be 4 cuts for the arms and 4 for the back rests, 2 per side

Guest (not verified)

Fri, 04/06/2012 - 16:12

Wondering if the cultist for the 2x4 should be 4 pieces for the arm rest and 4 pieces for the back rest

LMf (not verified)

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 14:43

Hi thanks for the plans on this. Sadly we must have downloaded them just before the cut list was edited. Had ordered the wood precut from timber yard and husband thought I'd ordered incorrectly.
On the lid, we ran into trouble with the 1/2" spacing. 12-1x4 without spacing would be 48". Even accounting for the fact that the 1x4s came up a bit less than 4, more like 3 3/4, we still ended up having to adjust everything at the end.

In reply to by LMf (not verified)

Lady Goats

Mon, 04/16/2012 - 19:26

Hi! Sorry, it was just a total blonde moment! You're gonna need 4 of each, and I feel bad for messing up something so obvious! Typically, 1x4s should measure approx 3 1/2, and that's what I'd accounted for in the plan. Hopefully it's an easy fix for ya, and tell the husband I take full blame! :o)

Big Grizz (not verified)

Sat, 04/28/2012 - 05:56

This is an easy project to build and looks great. The only thing I changed was I cut my arm rests at 7 1/2" instead of 6 1/2". It made it very easy to build that section. No extra measuring or centering.

Loral Johnson (not verified)

Tue, 05/08/2012 - 09:08


I'm heading to Lowe's now to get some lumber to build one of these for my one Grandson for his birthday.

I was looking for some ideas online when I found your site and after reading this over, it looks like this one will work nicely.

I was wondering why you specified a compound mitre saw as a tool needed? I have a DeWalt compound mitre saw, but I don't see any cuts that even require a mitre saw at all unless I missed something?

Anyway, the posted finished projects look great, and like a few others, I'm making my sides 2" X 8" for more stability as I will be moving it to their home after building it.

Lady Goats

Tue, 05/08/2012 - 11:54

Hi Loral!
I listed the compound miter saw as a tool needed because there's a checklist to choose from, and there isn't just "chop saw". You can cut the boards however you want, there aren't any particular reasons you need a compound miter saw. Take a hand saw, if you'd like! ;-)
Hope this helps!