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.


Richard (not verified)

Sun, 12/23/2012 - 21:41

Just stained box #4 for each of the grand kids

Sandra Brown (not verified)

Thu, 12/27/2012 - 14:42

I would love to know how to make this bigger also! I am a preschool teacher at a public school so I need one big enough for 6 to 8 kids at a time. I don't want to seats to be too heavy for me and my assistant to lift. Hoping to have our All-Pro Dads help with this project!


Mon, 04/15/2013 - 09:31

I built this last night. It took me about 3 hours. Since I wanted to have a bottom, I took a paint tarp and stapled it to the sides of the box so the sand has something to sit in and weeds won't push up through the sand. Thank you for the wonderful plans


Tue, 04/23/2013 - 17:44

I will be making this for my boys and this is a great tip to keep the sand inside the box. Well, except for my kids throwing it out! Thanks!!

Addie's Daddy

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 06:25

Aren't you concerned about it holding water in the bottom if you use a tarp? I stapled landscape fabric to the bottom of mine. Hoping that keeps the weeds out and allows the water to drain.


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:04

I have a 7 ft by 9ft cement block rectangle. I am adding sand and want to add benches like these that is strong enough for the kids to stand on when closed. And thought for a middle support when closed or what size wood to use that can span the 9ft?


Tue, 06/04/2013 - 14:04

I have a 7 ft by 9ft cement block rectangle. I am adding sand and want to add benches like these that is strong enough for the kids to stand on when closed. And thought for a middle support when closed or what size wood to use that can span the 9ft?

Addie's Daddy

Mon, 06/10/2013 - 06:22

I just finished this for my daughter and it turned out great. The only comments I wanted to share are that you should consider a middle support under the bench plank in Step 2. I'm also thinking of adding middle supports for the other planks when the box is closed so she can stand on it without bowing.

The other suggestion is to make sure when you get the hinges the screws are not too long. I got gate hinges and the screws ended up coming through the 1x4 plank which meant you'd be sitting on them. Ouch! I exchanged the hinges for smaller galvanized versions.

Also, curious why you didn't do the planks 48" long instead of 47.5"? If they were 48" you would only have to cut them once. The only difference is you'd have a 1/4" overhang on each side but I don't see that being an issue. Or just make the short sides of the box 46.5" and you'd have no overhang.

Thanks for the design. My daughter loves it!

Lady Goats

Tue, 06/11/2013 - 00:00

Excellent points about the screws. That would be a pain! LITERALLY!

I don't know about a support. Maybe if you add one, you could take a picture to explain. Also, I didn't want to list the planks at 48" because not all boards are exactly 8', *and* if you cut one at 48", the blade takes up anywhere from 1/8"-3/16", so one would be shorter than the other. Not a big deal, but I wanted to make sure all bases were covered.

Glad you like the sand box!


Mon, 11/03/2014 - 20:08

I built this, but used and the base of a play fort and swing set above it. It really came out beautiful. Thank U for the plan