DIY Lightweight Playground Sandbox Cover

By Rick Warden
A sandbox cover helps ensure there will be clean, dry sand.
A sandbox cover helps ensure there will be clean, dry sand.

Make a custom, lightweight cover for your outdoor sandbox to keep it dry and to keep animals from claiming it as the local, municipal litter box. Lightweight canvas with a water-resistant finish is a desirable material because it is environmentally friendly, durable and in the mid price range. See the referenced website "My Tarp" for a comparison of the standard optional materials. You may also be able to choose from a variety of colors.

Measure from edge to edge of the sandbox both ways and add an extra 8 inches to each side so there is a total of 16 inches extra for each of the two tarp dimensions. This will allow a 6 inch overlap on each side including a finished 2-inch sewn hem.

Order the canvas based on this total "cut size" not the finished size. Have a tailor with a heavy-duty sewing machine sew a 2-inch hem all the way around, or do it yourself if you have the equipment.

Punch holes in the four corners within the 2-inch hem space using a hole punch from a heavy-duty grommet kit. Cut away any remaining material from the circles with a mat knife and small scissors.

Slip the top and bottom grommet pieces into the holes and place on a flat, hard surface. Hammer them together with the appropriate grommet-set sealing tool.

Drill 1/8 inch pilot holes with an electric drill into the outside face of each corner of the sandbox. The holes should be 1 1/2 inches from the corner edge laterally and 6 inches down from the top edge. Screw in a 2-inch long cup hook, also known as C-hook, at each corner.

Place a large bucket upside down in the center of the sandbox or some other object that will help to keep rain from collecting there. Stretch bungee chords or bungee balls from the tarp corners to the C-hooks beginning at one corner and working your way around until all the corners are secured.

Things You Will Need

  • Tarp material
  • Mat knife
  • Small scissors
  • Grommet kit
  • Electric drill
  • 1/8 Inch drill bit
  • 4 2-inch cup hooks
  • 4 bungee chords

Tip

Cotton, single-filled duck fabric is more tightly woven, more durable and water resistant than regular canvas but also slightly heavier. Nylon is lighter but more expensive.

Warning

If the canvas tarp isn't treated with some kind of water treatment, it won't shield the water as well and will tend to age and rot more quickly. Shop around to find a heavy-duty grommet kit from a hardware store as compared with some of the more flimsy kits available.

About the Author

Rick Warden writes on a wide variety of subjects. He has served as a freelance English editor and writer at "Eurasian Chemical Market Magazine," and his articles are featured at Faithful News and Revelife, among other online publications. Warden graduated from the Cooper Union School of Architecture, earning a Bachelor of Architecture degree.