What Does Sandbox Do in SketchUp?

SketchUp is a powerful 3D modeling software that allows you to create and manipulate objects in a virtual environment. One of the key features that sets SketchUp apart from other modeling software is its Sandbox toolset.

The Sandbox tools enable you to create and modify organic shapes such as terrains, landscapes, and other natural forms. In this article, we will explore what the Sandbox tool does in SketchUp and how it can enhance your 3D modeling experience.

The Sandbox Toolset

The Sandbox toolset in SketchUp consists of several specialized tools that allow you to sculpt and manipulate terrain-like surfaces. These tools include:

  • From Contours: This tool lets you import contour lines from 2D drawings or maps to create a surface with varying elevations.
  • Stamp: The Stamp tool allows you to project an image onto a surface, enabling you to create realistic textures or patterns on your terrain.
  • Smoove: With the Smoove tool, you can push and pull the vertices of a surface to deform it organically, giving it a more natural look.
  • Erase: The Erase tool allows you to erase portions of a surface or remove unwanted geometry while maintaining the overall shape of the terrain.

Creating Terrains with Sandbox

To create a terrain using SketchUp’s Sandbox tools, follow these steps:

  1. Create a base contour: Use the Line or Arc tools to draw contour lines that represent the desired shape of your terrain.
  2. Select “From Contours”: Go to the “Draw” menu, click on “Sandbox,” and then select “From Contours. “
  3. Select contour lines: Click on a contour line to select it.

    You can select multiple contour lines by holding down the Shift key.

  4. Create the terrain: After selecting the contour lines, click on the “Create From Contours” button in the dialog box. SketchUp will generate a surface with varying elevations based on the selected contours.

The created terrain can be further refined and manipulated using other tools from the Sandbox toolset. For example, you can use the Smoove tool to add more organic details or use the Stamp tool to project realistic textures onto the surface.

Applications of Sandbox

The Sandbox tools in SketchUp have numerous applications in various fields. Here are a few examples:

Landscape Design:

Sandbox can be used to create accurate representations of real-world landscapes, allowing landscape designers to visualize their ideas and make informed decisions about plant placement, grading, and drainage.


Sandbox is also useful for architects who want to incorporate natural elements into their designs. With Sandbox, architects can easily create sloping terrains or simulate hilly environments around their buildings.

Game Development:

In game development, Sandbox is often utilized to create realistic terrains for virtual worlds. Game designers can use SketchUp’s Sandbox tools to sculpt mountains, valleys, and other natural features that enhance gameplay experiences.


The Sandbox toolset in SketchUp provides users with powerful tools for creating and manipulating organic shapes like terrains and landscapes. Whether you are a landscape designer, architect, or game developer, SketchUp’s Sandbox tools can help you bring your ideas to life in a visually engaging and realistic manner. So, why not give it a try and explore the endless possibilities of 3D modeling with the Sandbox toolset in SketchUp!