Build Your Own Pottery Barn Like Sandbox for Much Less

A couple of years ago, my family and I built our own sandbox for our two little ones because I couldn’t stand the thought of buying an expensive one from Pottery Barn even though I love their designs. I figured I would make my own using theirs as inspiration! That’s just how my brain works.. My dad came over and lent a hand which was awesome!

One thing I liked about the Pottery Barn sandbox was the wrap around seating. I wanted to include that in my design and I also like the look of the canopy so I included that too. I made the sandbox big to have lots of room to play! The total size of the sandbox was 6 feet long x 6 feet wide! Very big! I took pictures of the build, but I would have taken more if I was blogging at that time! So my how-to won’t be as in depth as I would like it to be, but hopefully you will get the idea!

The lumber I used were green treated to make sure they were ok for the outdoor elements it would be exposed to. It’s very important to get green treated lumber. I made the sandbox deep for more sand depth by using 2 x 10’s for the walls of the sandbox. It establishes a good foundation to build the box from. Screw the box together with good wood screws that are made to endure the weather also.

To build the brace for the canopy frame, I bought 1 x 2’s, of course green treated, to post in each corner to hold up the frame. The height of the canopy can be whatever you want, but I went with 6 feet to give enough room for a parent to join in on the fun. Cut 4 posts for each corner and attach them with screws to the box foundation you have created.


The seats are 2 x 6’s cut to the same length and of each side of the box. Make sure to take in account for the length between 2 sides. Start with opposite sides and then piece in the remaining 2 so you can measure the exact length they need to be since it will be under 6 feet. Now is the tricky part! To create a seamless look to your seating around the box, you will have to notch out an area of each side of the 2 x 6 on each section to give it room to go around the posts. We pieced in wood in the areas between to give it the appearance the post was going through the seat. If you know how to put a hole directly through the 2 x 6 then the post could actually go through the hole! I didn’t know how to do that so we faked it. 🙂



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Once you have your seat boards cut to the lengths and notched around the posts, secure them horizontally on the 2 x 10 frame. I left a little lip on the outside just to create some dimension instead of lining the edges up, but it really only gives spiders more places to hide, yuck!! It’s a good idea to secure the seats underneath to the 2 x 10’s by screwing a board of any size into the inside of each 2 x 10 and to the underneath of the 2 x 6. That way it will support the weight of numerous children that come to play in the sandbox!













This was an extended family build! Lots of helpers and my grandma to supervise 🙂

Now on to the frame for the canopy.. You will need 4 2 x 4’s for the outside frame and about 3 2 x 4’s to go across to hold the frame together and support the fabric. Screw together the 4 2 x 4’s just like you did with the 2 x 10’s to create the box. For the inner part of the frame, screw the other 2 x 4’s across from one side to the other to make it sturdy. Attach the whole thing to the top of the posts by screwing through the side of the post and into the side of the box of the frame and do this in each corner.

I added some extra braces, which was more for aesthetic, to go on each side of the post diagonally to the frame of the canopy. I put 2 in each corner and it’s up to you if you want to include this!

Pick a stain that you want and make sure it’s an outdoor stain. I chose a deck stain, but I don’t recall the name. Sand the whole sandbox before you stain it.

I picked an outdoor fabric to make the canopy and loosely sewed the corners and edges so it would wrap around the frame. I pinned it tightly around the corners so I could unpin it to remove for washing. Your sandbox is now complete! All you need is sand and some weed blocker to lay down before the layers of sand!
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The kids will love it for hours and hours and hours…… I even added cute string lights to add some charm and bring light in the dark winter months.


So give it a try! Your kids will love you for it! Happy Summer!


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