Guide to Making an Indoor Sandbox

Sandboxes are very popular during the summer season. They attract the children as they allow them to build roads, buildings and play with their friends. Kids are always fascinated to dig and play in the dirt. The indoor sandboxes keep the kids occupied for hours, being self-contained, debris-free, and easy to dig up with most plastic toys. That is why sandboxes are a perfect alternative for backyard mud pits. 

Making a sandbox is easy as stacking lumber in a square, fastening it together, and filling it with sand. To learn how to build an entertaining sandbox, all you need is a small space, free time, and some basic carpentry skills. If you have a play area for your child, you can refill that with topsoil to make it a raised garden bed. 

Instead of using wood that can rot, you can use prefabricated interlocking blocks similar to those used in building low garden walls or retaining walls. These are available in a variety of attractive shades of concrete or faux stone in the garden center.

How to Make a DIY Sandbox?


1. Planning Your DIY Sandbox

Coming up with different sandbox ideas and making plans in advance make sure that the DIY project goes smoothly. You need to choose a suitable location that has enough space for the sandbox. If you have a smaller yard, you can make a sandbox for the space that you have available.

2. Sun or Shade

A sandbox in the full sun exposes children to UV radiation. In contrast, a shady location directly under a tree makes cutting roots necessary when digging, so it is best to choose a location that receives shade from the house or nearby trees. You should make sure to place the sandbox where you can keep an eye on your kids while playing with their friends. 

3. Choosing the Right Type of Wood 

You can use cedar lumber wood for making a sandbox as it is long-lasting and resistant to weather conditions. However, you can also use other suitable wood products for your DIY sandbox. 

If you intend to use the sandbox for a long time, you can save money using hardwood or softwood boards instead since they are less expensive but do not last as long as the cedarwood. Using treated lumber is also another cost-effective option to consider.

4. Cutting the Wood

The wood that makes up the sandbox walls will push end to side at the corners. To determine the length of the wood, take a few inches from the size you want each side to be. Use a circular saw to cut the timbers to these dimensions. Each side of the box will require three pieces. 

5. Marking the Sandbox Territory

Once you have finished cutting the wood, arrange four timbers in the shape of a sandbox, gluing each end against the edge of the following wood. Mark the sandbox’s outline with a spade or square-edge shovel by cutting through the turf vertically both inside and outside the loose-laid timbers parameter.

6. Digging in the Center 

Dig down six inches within the sandbox’s outline with a spade, and then add a 4-inch-wide and 1-inch deep layer of sand within the sandbox’s perimeter.

7. Placing the Base Course of the Sandbox Frame

Place the first course of wood on top of the sand. Now, insert a framing square into each corner of the wood and adjust them until they are perfectly square. Maintain the squareness from each corner by invigorating it with a piece of a scrap of about 2×4 screwed down with 3-inch decking screws. Press each timber gently into the sand with a sledgehammer and a 4-foot level until it is leveled.

8. Placing the Second Course

Take out the 2×4 braces from the corners. Place the timber’s next course on the top of the base course, but make sure they overlap at the corners in the opposite direction from the first course. Doing this will create a layered pattern.

9. Tying the Course Together

With the help of a drill fitted with a nut driver, drill a 6-inch wooden bolt down through the top course beneath every three feet around the perimeter.

10. Aligning the Box with a Landscape Fabric

Place the landscape fabric along the inside of the box, allowing it to overlap the second course of timbers and cover the bottom. Make sure that the material is pushed up against all the edges and into the corners.

11. Placing the Third Timber Course

Place the third course of wood on the top of the second while overlapping the corners one more time. Use timber screws to fasten them as before. Remove any excess fabric that is hanging over the edge of the box.

12. Filling the Box with Sand

To complete the sandbox, you will need sand that is labeled as “Play Sand” or “Sandbox Sand.” It is sterilized and sifted so there are no large particles in it that children can swallow, and it will not stick to the child’s skin like other types of sand. 

Where to Buy
Quikrete Play Sand 50 lb

13. Figuring Out How Much Sand You Need 

If your sandbox is 4 x 4, you will need one-half of a cubic yard to adequately fill up a 10-inch sandbox. Measure your contained area to know how much play sand you will need. Divide this number by 27 to get the number of cubic yards you require. You should check with your sand supplier to make sure that it’s accurate.

14. Covering the Sandbox When Not In Use

If you don’t cover your sandbox, the cats wandering outside can use it as a litter box. Use an old bedspread or cut a plastic tarp to fit the size of the bed. It comes off easily when it’s time for playing, and dark-colored covers like brown will mix well with it. 

Ideas for Sandboxes

1. A Sandbox With Plastic Blocks

You can buy blocks that are made of heavy plastic to look like paving stones. They interlock with metal rods and are strong enough for a child’s play area while being lighter than masonry blocks. You don’t need to dig into the ground; place the blocks on the floor or grass, then cover with play sand. 

2. A Sandbox From Dirt

Children who are too old for a sandbox will love a dirt box. You need to fill the allocated area with good topsoil and let your kids play in it. It acts as a magnet for kids providing entertainment with toy trucks, plastic army men, etc. Children will get extremely dirty in a dirt box having fun and remain occupied with it, allowing the parents to do their work with peace of mind.

3. A Mini Beach For The Family

The idea by Dick Cavanaugh will work great in waterfront gardens or next to a built-in pool in a backyard. In a large area of about 7 feet x 9 feet adjacent to the pool patio, dig down about 12 inches. Fill the space with clean landscape or building sand. Replace the sand every spring or when necessary.

Indoor Sandbox – A Beach Activity at Home

A sandbox is an excellent way to keep your kids entertained and occupied. Kids are always fascinated with digging and playing in the dirt. They tend to lose their sandboxes as well when they are done playing at the beach. Hence, recreating what they would do with the beach sand at home keeps them busy and entertained with much more safety and peace of mind.