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DIY Upcycled Dresser Sandbox


Do you have an old dresser you don’t know what to do with? I am going to show you how to transform it into an adorable sandbox for the kids! How many of us remember building castles in the sand… using our imagination to create entire worlds in little boxes? 

With this DIY you can not only repurpose a piece of furniture you don’t need anymore, but as a parent you’ll be able to control the space and sand and really know what your kids are playing with.

First I started with the overall structure. This dresser we had for quite some time but we no longer use it because it just doesn’t match our decor anymore. You definitely don’t want to use an old dresser that’s falling apart because, safety first. Here is how to get started.

  • Take the drawers out of dresser
  • Remove any metal hardware from the inside of the dresser
  • Lay the drawer down on its belly
  • Use a drill and screws to attach a wood board over the legs of the dresser to act as the chair
  • Drop a pre-cut wood piece inside the dresser to act as a “base” for the sand (this is especially important if the back of your dresser is particle board, as this could fall apart with the moisture of the sand).

After I took the drawers out of the dresser, I dismantled everything but the knobs. I left those on because they just look so cute, and it will help create handles for the lid! Then I took 2- 1×3 pieces of wood and laid them across the back of the drawer faces. After that it was as simple as screwing them all together.

If you aren’t going to paint your sandbox with a “protective” paint layer, make sure that you are using “finished wood.” If you do end up using something that’s more raw, make sure to put a seal over it. The sand is a little moist and will damage the wood if it isn’t protected. That’s the same reason we added the solid wood base over the particle board.

Once you’ve done all this then it’s up to you to personalize it! Decorate it however you like to make it super special for your kids. Theme it! Then all you have to do is fill it with sand and you are ready to go. Just make sure that you are using specifically play sand that is safe for kids. You don’t want them to be playing with and harsh sands with construction chemicals.

As a side tip, I also had a couple pieces of wood leftover so all I did was cut them to the same size and glued them together. Screw this into the side of the box and you have a little juice box holder!! Here is the full step-out and what you will need to get started. You can also catch the episode and follow along with that!

You Will Need:

  • Wood dresser
  • Screws/Drill (we used 1 ½ in. screws)
  • Screw Driver
  • Plywood board (Cut to fit the back of the dresser)
  • Two 1×3’s (Cut to fit the length of your three drawers combined)
  • Wood Plank (Cut to the length and width of the dresser’s bottom/legs)
  • Play Sand
  • Optional: Paint, Vinyl Stickers, Stencil
  • Optional: Scrap wood and Wood Glue


1. Take the drawers out of the dresser and dismantle all the hardware from inside the dresser. Set the drawers aside (we’ll use these later.) Make sure there are not any sharp pieces of hardware left inside of the dresser.

2. Cut a plywood board to fit the size of the back of the dresser. This will create a stronger “base” for your sand. This is especially important if the back of your dresser is made of particle board, since that could break apart with the moisture of the sand.

3. Lay the dresser on its back and drop the board inside. You don’t need to screw it into place, since the weight of the sand will hold it.

4. Lay your wooden plank across the bottom legs and base of the dresser. Screw it in using four screws – this creates a sitting area on the side of the sandbox.

5. Remove the front of each of the drawers, leaving just the face of the drawer and the knobs. Place them face down and screw in two 1×3’s across the back to hold them together. (This will become the lid of the sandbox.)

6. Paint the entire sandbox as you like! You can hand paint it, stick on vinyl stickers or use a stencil to create designs.

7. Optional: If you have a few pieces of scrap wood leftover, you can glue them together to create a juice box holder!

8. Once everything is dry, fill the sandbox with play sand and toys and have fun!

This DIY is perfect for the summer holidays and will keep your little one’s occupied for hours. For more summer DIY inspiration make sure you visit us at Home & Family and share with us all of your crafts and DIYs on Instagram and Twitter @paigehemmis 



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