Wooden Sandpit with Lid and Fold Out Benches

Jun 1, 2016 | 1 comment

Playing in the sandpit

This sandpit with fold out benches is an absolute gem of a DIY project. It’s a brilliant yet remarkably simple design that can be done start to finish in a couple of evenings – and all for less than £80.

The catalyst for this particular job was my wife’s threat to buy a pre-made sandpit from Argos. My DIY pride was at stake! If our garden was to be populated by yet more toddler paraphernalia then I wanted it to be something that l could look upon with the satisfaction of having built myself. My challenge was to do so quickly and for less than the cost of the Argos equivalent.

The sandpit my wife had her eye on cost £60 and promised seating, a groundsheet and rain-cover. So those were my specifications and budget. Here is my initial shopping list:

Large Decking Boards (28mmx140mmx2400mm) x 4 (£14)
2 x Tarpaulins (£8)
Rust Resistant Screws 60mm x 100 Pack (£6.30)
Felt Nails 0.5kg Pack (£2.24)
Sawn Treated Timber (47mmx50mmx2400mm) (£3.94)
Subtotal: £34.48

Constructing the sandpit box

This project was dead easy to put together. I cut the decking boards and timber down to size, screwed them together to make a box that measured 1180x1200mm, and nailed the tarpaulin to the bottom with the felt nails:

Sawing the timber
Box structure
Sandpit Box
Constructing the lid

So far I am beating Argos by a whopping £20. I could have hammered a couple of boards on top for seats, thrown over a tarpaulin rain cover, and left it there. However, curiosity got the better of me and a quick Pinterest of ‘sand-pits’ led me to discover an easy, very cool and irresistible way to build a lid that folds-out to make two benches….back to B&Q!

Second shopping list:
Small Decking Boards (25x95x1800mm) x 12 (£24)
Stainless Steel Butt Hinge 6 Pack x 2 (£10.96)
Sawn Treated Timber (47mmx75mmx2400mm) (£5.24)
Subtotal: £40.02

This ballooned my overall spend to £74.50, pushing me £15 over the Argos budget.  But before you cast judgement, let’s see what it bought…

I cut the 12 smaller decking boards down to match the width of the sandpit (1180mm) and gave them a quick sand to get rid of splinters. I then screwed a pair to either side of the sandpit box. The remaining boards I screwed together in pairs, two pairs formed the bench seat with armrests and two pairs formed the back rests. Then it was simply a case of attaching them all together using the butt hinges.

I am afraid that in my enthusiasm I forgot to take photos of each stage of this process, but the images below should give you an idea of the structure and opening mechanism. Also, there is a link to more detailed plans at the bottom of this post.


Cutting the lid
Testing for width
Hinging Mechanism
Sandpit Closed
Sandpit Open

Let’s compare the final DIY (£74) to the Argos version (£60). An extra £14 well spent?

Argos Sandpit
DIY Sandpit

Once you add in the cost of play-sand this whole project cost around £100, and although I failed to come in cheaper than Argos, I ended up with a much bigger and quite frankly better sandpit. Plus, to assuage my guilt, I used the off-cuts from the decking to make a little store for sandpit toys – £0! Here are a few more pics of Gregor settling in:

Sandpit Gregor 1
Sandpit Gregor 1
Sandpit Gregor 3
Sandpit Gregor 4

Inspiration for this project was taken www.ana-white.com. If you want to do this yourself, detailed plans for how to build it can be found here: http://www.ana-white.com/2011/10/plans/sand-box-built-seats

1 Comment

  1. Alison Newman Turner

    Absolutely love this Tom! What a master craftsman/engineer you are. It is really beautiful and very satisfying in the way it works. Now for a bit more sunshine for your little one to enjoy it!


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