DIY Sandpit With Sun Canopy Plans

Give your kids somewhere fun and sun-safe to play with this backyard sandpit.

We've added a new dimension to a children's classic: Our sandpit comes with a sun canopy that you can lower and tilt as required, thus providing optimum protection from UV rays. You can also lower the sun shade completely to keep the sandpit clean.

The sandpit consists of two parts, the pit itself and the awning on two canopy supports. The sandpit itself consists of a frame whose parts are fastened together with square bolt connectors, while two connected gable ends form the canopy frame.

The following assembly instructions apply to spruce glued laminated wood board of 18 mm (gable boards) and 27 mm thickness. You must adapt the list of materials accordingly if you opt for other materials or thicknesses.

Note that spruce timber, whether painted or varnished, is less weather-resistant than other types of timber. If you want to be certain of weather resistance, choose teak or acacia wood.

Ask your DIY store or carpenter to cut the required boards to size.

Instructions

1) Join the surrounds with the screw strips

First place all of the parts required for the frame in the way you want to assemble them. The short frame surrounds are enclosed within the long frame surrounds. Mark the different parts with a triangle so that you always know what goes where at a later stage of assembly.

Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm), mount the short and long surrounds using the upright screw strips to form a single frame.

Tip for screwing together two pieces of wood

In the piece where you want to insert the screws first, always predrill a hole that is 0.5 to 1 mm larger than the screw diameter; the hole should be countersunk for the screw head. In the piece that you are going to drill second, predrill a hole that is always 1 mm smaller than the screw diameter.

Continue by assembling the horizontal screw strips between the upright screw strips, flush with the upper edge of the surrounds. The bench boards are fastened to these screw strips with screws at a later stage. Use a cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm). Refer again to our tip about screwing together two pieces of wood.

You can now also predrill the 5-mm holes through the horizontal screw strips, through which the bench boards will be fastened with screws from below.

2) Join the bench boards with the frame

Lay the completed frame on trestles. Now position the first bench board on its side and the horizontal screw strip as illustrated in the drawing. Secure it in place with clamp clips. Remember to use pieces of scrap wood as buffer blocks while doing so to avoid leaving unsightly pressure marks on the workpieces.

Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm), you can now fit the bench board through the predrilled 5-mm holes in the horizontal screw strips. Follow the same procedure for the remaining bench boards. Refer again to our tip about screwing together two pieces of wood.

The bench boards are joined together by connecting straps from below, which also ensure the sandpit is stable enough. Predrill these straps in each of the corners, using the drill and 5-mm drill bit.

Place the sandpit with the bench boards face down on the trestles. Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 45 mm), mount the straps as shown in our illustration. Refer again to our tip about screwing together two pieces of wood.

3) Fit the root barrier plastic or sheeting

To prevent plants from growing in the sand, you should line the sandpit with root barrier plastic or strong plastic sheeting. In either case, use a tacker to secure the layer of plastic below the horizontal screw strips on the sides.

4) Join the gable ends and cross connectors for the canopy

Using a pencil, draw the outline of the gable end on the gable boards. See our illustration for the necessary measurements. Cut the gable ends to size using the jigsaw. Secure a suitable rail with clamp clips to use as a parallel guide and help you cut in a long straight line.

Now position the gable ends and the cross connectors in the way you want to assemble them. Now use a pencil and triangles to mark their relative positions so that you always know what goes where at a later stage of assembly.

To fasten the gable ends to the canopy supports, use the drill and 8-mm wood drill bit to make a hole in each of the gable ends. This position is marked in our illustration.
Now use a pencil to trace the outlines of the cross connectors on the gable panels.

Using the drill and 5-mm wood drill bit, make at least two holes through which you can fasten the gable ends and cross connectors together with the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 60 mm). Refer again to our tip about screwing together two pieces of wood.

5) Prepare the canopy supports and join them to the sandpit

Rout a notch at the top of each canopy support so that you can raise and lower the canopy to provide optimum sun protection. To do this, secure the canopy support with a clamp clip on your work surface (remember to use buffer blocks).

Using a router, parallel guide and an 8-mm straight bit, make the groove in the canopy support according to the specifications in our illustration. Complete the task in several steps, routing only about 4 mm at a time to go easy on the router bit.

Using the cordless screwdriver and screws (4 x 50 mm), now fit the canopy supports in the centre of each side of the sandpit so they are flush with the bottom edge. Refer again to our tip about screwing together two pieces of wood.

We have also included a hole in the bottom of the canopy supports for the carriage bolts with wing nuts so that you can fasten the canopy as a lid on the sandpit and keep the sand clean. To mark this hole, align the canopy frame on the bench boards of the sandpit. Use a pencil to trace the hole position on the inside of the canopy supports and then make the hole with the drill and 8-mm wood drill bit.

6) Cover the canopy frame with canopy fabric

Stretch the canopy fabric lengthways over the canopy frame and gable ends. Fix the fabric in place on the outer cross connectors using the tacker.

7) Sand wood surfaces

Take time to prepare the wood surfaces so they are in the best possible working condition before starting assembly.

First chamfer all edges with sanding paper with a grit of 120 or 180 at a 45° angle to create a small bevel. Use your sander to sand all visible surfaces in the direction of the wood grain, first with coarse sanding paper (grit of 120, 180) and then with fine sanding paper (grit of up to 240).

Damp sponge the surfaces afterwards to wipe off the dust. Some loose wood fibres may protrude while the wood is drying. You can remove these with sanding paper with a grit of 180. The wood is now ready for surface treatment. Little tip: Make sure that the sanding paper is sharp enough to remove the wood fibres properly, not just flatten them.

8) Varnish the surfaces

First read the manufacturer's safety and handling instructions thoroughly. Make sure the room you are working in is well ventilated and not used for smoking, eating or drinking.
Generously apply the varnish with a fine spray system and remove any excess varnish with a cloth.

Before applying a second coat, you must sand the surface a second time with sanding paper with a grit of 240. Once again, you must always sand in the direction of the wood grain. Repeat the application as described in the section above.

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1 comment
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Posted by Report
Great looking sandpit.

I am just trying to figure out how the canopy comes down as a cover? I need a sandpit with a cover simple and light enough for my wife to be able to put it down by herself.