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.


Peter (not verified)

Mon, 07/02/2012 - 12:51

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

Jess Holland (not verified)

Tue, 07/24/2012 - 17:05

So I am completely in love with this project, and so need it! We have had problem with neighborhood cats using it as a litter box and when we use the canvas cover that came with our swing set we get GIANT crickets in it. They leave a mess too. So i need something that will keep the cats out but has light so the crickets stay out. Your cover design is great but our sandbox is under a tower which has a rockwall on one side a slide on an adjacent side. So the posts for the tower are inside the sandbox in each of the four corners with two of the corners having a support cross beam that crosses the corners infront of the posts. So I am having a hard time planning how the seat will fold up with the post and how to install the 1x4's for the cover/seat...any suggestions??

Nannybonk (not verified)

Wed, 08/01/2012 - 15:10

Hi, I am really interested in making this for my daughter. However, I am concerned that this wont be very waterproof and the sand will end up getting waterlogged for when she comes to use it. How waterproof is the sandpit? Any ideas of how to make it more waterproof.

Thanks :)

In reply to by Gunfus (not verified)

Lady Goats

Mon, 09/10/2012 - 09:08

Well, I guess a good way to go about waterproofing the sand box would be to fill the cracks with clear silicone sealant? That's what I did with my shed. The thing is that it doesn't create a tight seal when you put the lid down (don't get me wrong, it's not big!), so water could definitely get it. It would be significantly lessened by sealing the top, though....

In reply to by Nannybonk (not verified)


Mon, 09/10/2012 - 13:13

Will waterproofing really be needed? As a kid my sandbox was just a hole in the yard with 2x6 forming a frame around it. Because sand drains really well, the only time water was a problem was while it was raining (mom made me come in). Immediately after the rain it was a little too wet, but within a pretty short time it was dry enough to use. In fact, my favorite time to play in it was first thing in the morning, while it was still wet from the dew but before it had dried out completely.

If you think that will be a problem though I think Lady Goats' suggestion is excellent.

Lexy (not verified)

Thu, 11/29/2012 - 15:45


Im trying to figure out how to make this larger.

Ive never really done a wood project before but I would like this to be 6ft x 6ft rather than the 4ftx4ft i think it is since I have my 2 kids and then their 3 cousins who come to play. The fame i can imagen would be easy to extend but I dont know what the measurements for the seats would have to be to make it a good fit to reach so that it will be able to be folded down like in this design since we have 2 large dogs who LOVE to take over the yard and do as they please. Could you please help me with a modified walk through so it can be bigger?I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATE IT!