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.


Loral Johnson (not verified)

Tue, 05/08/2012 - 14:43

Hi Gina,

I thought as much, but I read quickly and was wanting to run to get my lumber quick, and didn't want to miss a step. I didn't see any cuts requiring a compound mitre.

A note to those planning on using 2 X 8 boards for sides, you will have to run the boards the opposite way so they straddle the 47½" cut. Otherwise, you are looking at 49¼". Don't let that throw you, just run your 1 X 4's along the 47½" edge and all will work out.

I'm about 75% complete, and thinking about starting fresh again tomorrow.

Would you tell me how to post photos like the others have when I complete my project?


Erin Riley (not verified)

Fri, 05/25/2012 - 19:50

Oh my gosh! I pinned a similar picture of this over a year ago, but it was a link to purchase it from over seas! I was hoping I could figure out how to make it by looking at the pictures. You have no idea how excited I am that you have made these plans! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Debbie Howell (not verified)

Fri, 06/15/2012 - 20:53

Did Home Depot steal your plans??? They are posted on their front web page.... The wording is awfully close for the buy/cut list....

Rachel Rich (not verified)

Sat, 06/16/2012 - 11:12

Wow! just looked at Home Depot website--I think they copied you. Thank you for posting this--your plans are awesome and I can't wait to make my own for my little girl.

Jimmy B (not verified)

Tue, 06/26/2012 - 15:23

This went together in about 2 hours...and only because I misread the list and got 1 X 6s and had to rip them down to 3-1/2" on my table saw. Thanks!

Kulia B (not verified)

Thu, 06/28/2012 - 13:39

This is exactly what I've been looking for!
I've got all my wood cut & ready to go, but should I stain it first? This will be my first "large" project, so I have ZERO experience! I'm SO excited to get it done! I now have a huge list of things I want to tackle! Thanks!!

In reply to by Kulia B (not verified)

Lady Goats

Thu, 06/28/2012 - 20:19

It will make your life SOOOOOO much easier if you paint or stain it before assembling. A note from now-on: "finish" your wood for outdoor projects first, that way the elements can't make their way into the wood that isn't "finished"!

Peter (not verified)

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 12:48

I like you design, very clever and looks great. I am going to build one for my daughter over the coming weekend. There will be one more of your sandboxes build in the other side of the world - in Slovakia. Thanks for inspiration.