Build a sandpit and be your kids’ hero

A completed sandpit filled with toys is shown in a garden. Other toys, including a small slide and a tractor, can be seen nearby on the grass.
This is how your finished DIY sandpit will look. Now it’s ready for your kids’ next garden adventure

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    100-200 £
  • Duration
    3 - 8 h

Introduction

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.

You need
Utilities
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • triangle
  • ear protectors
  • g-clamps
  • paint roller with tray
  • cartridge gun
  • face mask
  • carpet/utility knife
  • work gloves
  • safety glasses
  • painting fleece
  • stick to stir up colour
  • pocket rule
Materials
  • 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)
  • Twine
  • 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)
  • Assembly adhesive
  • 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
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 8

Build your own sandpit: Measure the wood

Build your own sandpit: A wooden board is measured out and marked using a folding ruler and a pencil.
First, measure out all the wooden boards for your DIY sandpit

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)
Step 2 8

Cut the wooden boards for the sandpit to size

Build your own sandpit: A wooden board is cut diagonally at a 45-degree angle using a mitre saw.
The wooden board for the seating area of the sandpit is mitre cut
Two wooden boards are joined together at the mitre joint.
To give you a better idea, this is what a mitre joint looks like
Two wooden boards are joined together with a bevel joint.
To give you a better idea, this is what a bevel joint looks like

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.

Step 3 8

Sand down the edges thoroughly

A wooden board for the DIY sandpit is sanded down using a multi-sander.
To make sure there are no splinters on your DIY sandpit, sand down all the sawn-off edges

You need: Multi-sander, Sanding sheet for multi-sander G120, work gloves, face mask, safety glasses, ear protectors, g-clamps

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.

Step 4 8

Build a seating area for the sandpit

A tongue and groove decking board is used to build a DIY sandpit.
Thanks to the practical tongue and groove interlocking system, you can easily assemble the decking boards for the DIY sandpit and screw them together
The sandpit is put together using a cordless combi drill and matching screws.
The decking boards are screwed together to form the sandpit, using square timber as cross bars
A mitre-cut wooden board is attached to the DIY sandpit.
Build the seating area out of mitre-cut wooden boards.
The wooden board for the seating area and a thin piece of square timber are secured using screw clamps. A screw is inserted through them both.
Finally, secure a small piece of square timber to the back of the sandpit and drill a hole into it. This is where you will insert the eye bolt later

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.

Tip
WHAT IS A TONGUE AND GROOVE SYSTEM?

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.

Step 5 8

Line the bottom of the sandpit with pond liner

Pond liner is stapled to the bottom of the DIY sandpit.
Staple pond liner on to the bottom of the DIY sandpit

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.

Step 6 8

Paint the blackboard for the sandpit using blackboard paint

A metal sheet is painted in blackboard paint using a paint roller.
Your kids can draw on a DIY blackboard that is attached to the sandpit

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.

Step 7 8

Assemble the sandpit cover

Multiple boards are fitted together and held in place using a cross bar.
Build the cover using 10 tongue and groove decking boards and two smooth-edged planks as cross bars
A smooth-edged plank is screwed into place as a cross bar for the DIY sandpit using a cordless combi drill.
Firmly secured cross bars make the wooden sandpit cover more stable
A washer is secured to the wood using a screw. An eye bolt tied to a piece of twine is attached to it.
Attach the eye bolts to the sides of the cover for stability when opening the sandpit
The trapezoid-shaped sides of the cover are secured using a cordless combi drill and matching wood screws.
Screw the side pieces into the sandpit cover
A metal hinge is screwed on to the wooden cover of the DIY sandpit.
The DIY sandpit can be opened and closed easily using hinges

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.

Tip
DOES IT NEED TO BE MORE STABLE?

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.

Step 8 8

Screw the cover on to the sandpit

Build your own sandpit: A hinge is attached to the pit using a cordless combi drill and matching screws.
Place the cover on the sandpit and firmly screw in the hinge
The sandpit opening mechanism, with eye bolt.
Screw the eye bolt through the cover into the square timber on the pit. This will stabilise the opening mechanism
The bracket for the basketball hoop is screwed into place with a cordless combi drill.
Finally, attach the bracket for the basketball hoop
Assembly adhesive is applied to a wooden board using a cartridge gun.
Stick the DIY blackboard on to the inside of the sandpit cover using assembly adhesive

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.

Tip
MADE FOR WILD GAMES AND TO WITHSTAND WINDS
You can make your sandpit cover even more robust. To do so, screw in an eye bolt into each side of the cover along the top edge. Then tie down the cover using a couple of pieces of twine and some tent pegs. This way your sandpit will be tough enough to withstand strong winds – and even survive attempts to scale it.