Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY Covered Sanbox with Built In Bench

How to build a covered sandbox with bench seats

Ever see the damage a gofer can do to a yard?  My kids can one up it.

You see we live in Florida.  Yards here are made of sand.  Officially it's called builders sand but whatever you call it, my kids seem intent on building sandcastles with it.

Well today is the day that I give them their very own sandbox.  Granted it'll not be as large as my yard, but it will have to do.

DIY Covered Sandbox with a Built in Bench




Materials

5 - 1x4 furring strips (actual furring strips are 3-3/8" wide not 3-1/2" as a normal 1x4 would be.)

2 - 2x8s

1 - 2x2 (If you have the ability to rip material on a table saw then you can use the waste from the 2x8s instead of purchasing this.)

2 sets of 3" strap hinges

1 Box of 3" screws

1 Box of 1-1/2" screws

6 Bags of Play Sand



Cut List

2 - 2x8 base pieces @ 48"

2 - 2x8 base pieces @ 31-3/8"

9 - top cover slats @ 3-3/8" x 48"

2 - 2x2 seat back bench cross members @ 18"

2 -  2x2 seat bench cross members @ 11"


Sandbox with flip top lid

Step 1

Cut the 2x8s the length.


Step 2

Drill pilot holes.  I'm using a countersink drill bit however, that is not necessary.  The screws will naturally sink below the surface of the wood anyway.  This just makes them a little neater in appearance.


Step 3

Lay all four sides of the sandbox on a flat work surface.  I used the floor of my garage.  Drive 3" screws at all four corners.



Step 4

Attach the three slats that will make up the first segment of the top cover / bench seat.  Don't forget to flush the ends of the boards with the side of the box.


Use 1/2" spacers between each of the slats to ensure equal spacing between them without the hassle of measuring each one on both sides.

We are aiming for simple and easy here, remember.



Step 5

Now it is time for the three top slats that will comprise the second segment of the top / bench seat.

Use spacers and lay out all three of them at the same time.  Then lay a 2x2 cross member on each side of the slats approxemately 1-3/4" to 2" in from the ends of the slats.

The final measurement on that isn't as important as making sure the cross members are going to clear the inside of the sandboxes frame.

1-1/2" screws will make the grade for this application.

Note:  I cut angles into both ends of each cross member for safety reasons.  Since itty bitty people will be playing around this project, I don't want someone to fall or not look where they are going to be sitting and hurt themselves on blunt corners.


Step 6

Now 3" strap hinges can be used to attach the first and second segments of the top cover.


Step 7

Assemble the third segment of the bench seat.


Step 8

Set the third section aside and flip the second section over onto the first.  Then attach the second set of 3" strap hinges.  Make sure the knuckle of the hinges over hangs the back of the segment by the width of the knuckle.


Step 9

Once both strap hinges are attached place some spacers the same width as the aforementioned knuckles from front to back on top of the second segment.

Make sure they overhang the back so that you can set the third segment down on them.  They will act as ledges to hold the seat back in place long enough for you to flip the hinges up and attach to the third segment.



Covered sandbox with shade canopy

 

Final Thoughts


If everything came out OK, you should be able to just fold the bench seat down on top of the sandbox creating its cover.

Probably the most common area of frustration may be in getting the correct gap between the second and third segment of the top / bench seat.

If you mess up and they are two close then the seat will not close flat along the top properly.  Two far apart and you will not have enough "meat" to sink one of the screws for the hinges into the boards.

Don't get frustrated.  Simply remove the screws, slide the hinges slightly to compensate and try again.

Although the spacer trick I used works pretty well I found.

The top lid is designed to overhang the base of the sandbox by an inch or a little more.  This eliminates the need for handles and helps keeps kids from pinching their fingers when closing the lid.

Happy DIY'ing
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DIY Covered Sandbox with Shade Canopy


We live in Florida.  Anyone who has ever been in the Sunshine State during the summer knows it can get uncomfortable quick without some shade to take cover under.

I've built the covered sandbox with built in bench seating already.  You can view that project video build below.


I originally planned to build a handy dandy simple and easy shade canopy.  Then, at the last moment, I had another idea and will feature that in an upcoming project build.

However, This design is not without its merits so I thought I would still share this with you just in case someone may find it helpful.

DIY Covered Sandbox with a Shade Canopy



Materials

7 - 1x4 furring strips (actual furring strips are 3-3/8" wide not 3-1/2" as a normal 1x4 would be.  If you use regular 1x4s you will need to adjust the length of two of the box side pieces from 31-3/8" to 32-1/2".)

3 - 2x4s

2 - 2x8s

1 - 2x2 (If you have the ability to rip material on a table saw then you can use the waste from the 2x8s instead of purchasing this.)

2 sets of 3" strap hinges

1 Box of 3" screws

1 Box of 1-1/2" screws

6 Bags of Play Sand

1 Roll of Shade Fabric



Cut List

2 - 2x8 base pieces @ 48"

2 - 2x8 base pieces @ 31-3/8"

9 - top cover slats @ 3-3/8" x 48"

2 - 2x2 seat back bench cross members @ 18"

2 -  2x2 seat bench cross members @ 11"

2 - 2x4 vertical posts @ 60"

1 - 2x4 Horizontal canopy cross piece @ 52-1/2"

2 - 1x4 Canopy Support Pieces @ 60"

2 - 1x4 Post Spacers @ 7-1/2"


Covered Sandbox with Shade Canopy





Step 1

Cut the 2x8s to length and attach using 3" screws.





Step 2

Attach three of the top slats directly to the base of the sandbox.





Step 3

The second set of slats can be set in place on top of the box using spacers to ensure the correct spacing between each one.  Then place the 2x2s just inside the frame and attach with 1-1/2" screws.

Note:  I cut angles into the ends of my 2x2 pieces in order to lower the profile on the bench seat.  Hopefully this will help ensure no one accidentally sits down the wrong way on one of them or scrapes a leg.

Then flip the section over and attach it to the first section using 3" strap hinges.





Step 4

The third top section can be assembled now.  Refer to the video above for a visual account of the process I used to build not only this section but the whole sandbox base and top cover as a whole.





Step 5

Here is where we will deviate from the video above.  Now attach a 3/4" thick spacer centered on the sides of the sandbox with 1-1/2" screws.





Step 6

The vertical posts can now be attached to the spacers with 3" screws.

Note:  For added stability and security you can cut the vertical post about a foot longer than the measurements listed above.  Then dig a hole on both sides of the project and bury the extra length. 

If you live somewhere that receives high winds or your children are especially monkeyish, this would provide some added piece of mind that the canopy cover would not catch the wind and topple over.







Step 7

Attach the cross piece with 3" screws.




Step 8

Cut 1x4s to length and if so desired taper the ends as shown here.  Be sure to round off any sharp edges with a sander and 80 grit sandpaper to lessen the chance of tearing holes into the shade cloth.

Attach the pieces with 3" screws.










Step 9

It takes about 7-1/2 to 8 feet of shade cloth to cover the top.  You can attach with grommets if you want to be technically correct or you could staple or nail some thin strips of wood over the ends of the shade cloth onto the 1x4s we attached in step 8.

Covered Sandbox with Shade Canopy


Final Thoughts


You may be asking what the need for the spacers between the sides of the sandbox and the vertical posts are for.

They are to provide some space so that the lid can open and close freely without hanging up on the posts.

As you know lumber expands and contracts.  The extra space just allows our project to do so without compromising its functionality

Happy DIY'ing
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