Build a sandpit and be your kids’ hero
Duration3 - 8 h
Do your kids like making sand castles? A sandpit – which you can easily build yourself – is a playtime paradise for your kids in the garden. Complete with a seating area, a basketball hoop bracket and a DIY blackboard, it’s sure to keep your kids occupied. Your children can even help you shop for the materials or fill the sandpit with sand.
paint roller with tray
stick to stir up colour
6 tongue and groove decking boards for the sandpit frame, made out of Douglas fir, for example: 300 x 11 x 1.8 cm (L x W x H)
1 piece of square timber: 250 x 3.8 x 3.2 cm (L x W x H)
1 piece of square timber: 150 x 4.5 x 4.5 cm (L x W x H)
2 boards for the seating area, made out of Douglas fir, for example: 300 x 14 x 1.8 cm (L x W x H)
10 tongue and groove decking boards for the sandpit cover: 155 x 11 x 2 cm each (L x W x H)
2 smooth-edged planks for the sandpit cover: 300 x 9 x 1.8 cm (L x W x H) 1 decking board for the sides of the sandpit cover, made out of Douglas fir, for example: 200 x 14 x 1.8 cm (L x W x H)
1 decking board for the sides of the sandpit cover, made out of Douglas fir, for example: 200 x 14 x 1.8 cm (L x W x H)
1 smooth-edged plank as a “brake”: 150 x 10 x 2 cm (L x W x H)
60 wood screws: 4 x 35 mm (D x L)
12 wood screws: 4 x 45 mm (D x L)
2 eye bolts: 6 x 80 mm (D x L)
10 washers: 4.3 cm (D)
Blackboard paint (black): around 175 ml
Metal sheet (e.g. aluminium): 1,000 x 600 mm (L x W)
2 matching screws for the bracket: 5 x 60 mm (D x L)
Pond liner: 2.5 x 2 m (L x W)
Sand for the sandpit
Let's go - step by step
Build your own sandpit: Measure the wood
You need: pencil, triangle, pocket rule, decking boards, pieces of square, timber
Before your child can play in the sandpit to their heart’s content, to get started you need to mark out the required dimensions on the pieces of wood using a folding ruler, a steel square and a pencil.
For the front and back ends of the sandpit, you need two sets of the following tongue and groove decking boards:
- 142 x 11 cm (L x W)
- 142 x 9 cm (L x W)
- 142 x 8.4 cm (L x W)
You’ll also need to screw together three tongue and groove decking boards for each side of the sandpit. You’ll need two sets of boards in the following sizes
- 112 x 11 cm (L x W)
- 112 x 9 cm (L x W)
- 112 x 8.4 cm (L x W)
To secure the decking boards against the sandpit, you’ll also need 10 pieces of square timber that are a little shorter than the height of the sandpit, i.e. 28 cm tall. The required height is based on the width of the three decking boards laid one on top of the other.
Use four boards to build the seating area for the sandpit. One of the boards measuring 150 x 14 cm will be mitre cut on both sides. Two boards measuring 115 x 14 cm each will be cut along one side only and one board measuring 120 x 5.5 cm will be cut lengthways.
To make the cover, you’ll need:
- 8 tongue and groove decking boards: 155 x 11 x 2 cm each (L x W x H)
- 1 tongue and groove decking board: 155 x 7.5 x 2 cm (L x W x H)
- 1 tongue and groove decking board: 155 x 4.5 x 2 cm (L x W x H)
- 2 smooth-edged planks as cross bars: 121.5 x 9 x 1.8 cm each (L x W x H)
- 1 smooth-edged plank: 107 x 7 x 2 cm (L x W x H), the “brake”, to stop the cover from folding in on itself.
- The two sides of the sandpit will consist of one decking board per side in the shape of right-angled trapeziums, measuring 3.5 cm along the bottom and 14 cm along the top. The height of the right-angled side is 60 cm and the opposite side is slightly longer (61.5 cm) as it is slanted at an angle. It’s a good idea to simply join up the points of each shape using a folding ruler, once you’ve marked them.
- 2 pieces of square timber for the eye bolt hole: 10 x 3.5–4 x 2.8 cm (L x W x H)
- 1 piece of square timber for the basketball hoop bracket: 45 x 4 x 3.5 cm (L x W x H)
Cut the wooden boards for the sandpit to size
You need: Mitre saws, safety glasses, ear protectors
Once you have marked up the dimensions, you can cut the wood. Secure the wooden boards against the mitre saw. This will ensure you can easily make accurate mitre and bevel cuts. Before you start sawing the wood, put on protective clothing such as ear defenders and safety glasses. Make a mitre cut in the boards for the seating area of the sandpit. This means the boards are cut so that they form a right angle when they are joined together. In contrast to the bevel cut, this means they are cut in a straight line going down if you look at them from above. Saw each of the tongue and groove decking boards using a bevel cut, which means cutting the boards diagonally along their entire width. The specified dimensions therefore apply to the exterior, i.e. the longer side of the boards.
Sand down the edges thoroughly
Sand down all the edges of the wooden boards and square timber thoroughly using a multi-sander. This will remove all the splinters. For best results, secure them to your worktop with screw clamps so they don’t slip while you are sanding them down. Use a cordless handheld vacuum to help you get rid of all the sawdust when you are finished sanding.
Build a seating area for the sandpit
You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit 5mm, 5-piece-wood-drill-bit-set, g-clamps, safety glasses, tongue and groove decking boards for the pit, boards for the seating area (mitre cut), 10 pieces of square timber, 60 wood screws: 4 x 35 mm (D x L), 2 pieces of square timber for the eye bolts
Now it’s time to build the DIY sandpit using the wooden boards you prepared earlier. Put together three decking boards using the tongue and groove interlocking system and secure them with pieces of square timber. Reinforce the sides of the sandpit that you have already assembled by placing a piece of square timber at each corner. To make it as easy as possible to screw the wood together, secure the wooden boards and the square timber using screw clamps so that they don’t slip. Drill holes for the screws first to make it easier to insert them
Once the pit has been assembled, attach the seating area. For this bit, take the four wooden boards that you have partly cut using a mitre cut. Put them together as shown and secure them with screws from above.
Drill a hole in the square timber that is attached to the sandpit using a 6-mm wood drill bit. You can put an eye bolt into this hole when the cover is open.
You can put together two or more wooden boards using a method known as the tongue and groove system. This stops the boards from slipping. Each wooden board has a rectangular slot (the groove) cut all along one edge, and a thin, deep ridge (the tongue) on the opposite edge that fits the groove perfectly. This way, two wooden boards can be locked against each other along their lengths or their widths.
Line the bottom of the sandpit with pond liner
You need: cordless tacker, pocket rule, carpet/utility knife, pond liner
To ensure the new DIY sandpit can be filled with sand, cover the bottom of the pit with a suitable pond liner. First cut it to the size of the pit and then staple it to the pit’s edges, ensuring the staples are an equal distance apart.
Paint the blackboard for the sandpit using blackboard paint
You need: paint roller with tray, painting fleece, stick to stir up colour, blackboard paint (black): around 175 ml, metal sheet
Make your own blackboard using a thin sheet of metal and blackboard paint. It’s best to buy the sheet of metal in the size you want your blackboard to be or get it cut to the right size at the hardware shop.
Mix the paint using the stirrer and pour it into the tray. Apply the paint evenly and let it dry thoroughly.
Assemble the sandpit cover
You need: Cordless Drill, Wood drill bit: 6 mm, scissors, 28 wood screws for the cover: 4 x 35 cm (L x W), 12 wood screws for the side pieces: 4 x 45 cm (D x L), 2 pieces of square timber: 10 x 3.5–4 x 2.8 cm (L x W x H), 2 hinges with matching screws, 2 eye bolts, 2 washers, twine
Now build the sandpit cover: first, put together the decking boards using the interlocking tongue and groove system and then screw two normal wooden boards across them to act as cross bars. Afterwards, attach one eye bolt to each trapezoid side piece using a piece of twine. Use a washer to hold the twine in place. Drill a hole in advance using a 6-mm wood drill bit. Position the eye bolt in the middle, around 10 cm away from the bottom edge. Attach the completed side pieces to the sandpit cover using long wood screws. Finally, screw the hinges onto the longer side of the cover using matching screws.
To make sure the new wood doesn’t warp, you can add additional cross bars to the back of the cover. This provides additional support. And it ensures that the sandpit keeps its shape, even if the wood happens to warp over time.
Screw the cover on to the sandpit
You need: Cordless Drill, cartridge gun, matching screws for the hinge, assembly adhesive, DIY blackboard, square timber for the basketball hoop bracket
You’re nearly there – you’ve almost finished your DIY sandpit. Place the cover on the sandpit and firmly screw in the hinges. Stick the DIY blackboard on the inside of the sandpit cover using assembly adhesive. And for the finishing touch? Give your sandpit a bracket for a basketball hoop.
Take it out into the garden and fill it with sand: now your kids can play to their hearts’ content in the DIY sandpit. You can find even more great playtime ideas for your little ones in our article on DIY toys.