Build Your Own Picnic Table
Love hosting backyard get togethers and potlucks? Whether it’s for your family or your next social gathering, a picnic table is the ideal outdoor furniture for eating together.
Durable and large enough to comfortably accommodate a small group, a picnic table is a great addition to any outdoor living space. This DIY picnic table kit comes with the hardware needed for an easy weekend project.
We built our picnic table as a 2” x 6” table that is 4’ long, so we used five pieces of 2” x 6” x 8’ pressure treated lumber and two pieces of 2” x 4” x 8’ pressure treated lumber.
7/16” wrench (or adjustable wrench/pliers)
Drill (¼” and ⅝” bits)
Saw (or use pre-cut lumber)
14 – 2” carriage bolts (included in the kit)
8 – 3 ¼” carriage bolts (included in the kit)
4 – 2” slotted head screws (included in the kit)
4 – 2 ⅝” slotted head screws (included in the kit)
2 – brackets (included in the kit)
2 – braces (included in the kit)
4 – legs (included in the kit)
Lumber (see buying guide below)
1lb galvanized penny nails
Varnish, stain, or paint
Lumber Buying Guide:
- Determine how long you would like your picnic table to be (for example, 4’, 6’, or 10’ long). Banquet or longer tables may be built using two hardware kits.
- Decide if you want to go with 2”x4”, 2”x6”, or 2”x10” boards. Generally, 2×4’s will be the least expensive, but the 2×10 foot plan is the easiest.
- Consult the lumber buying guide for the number of boards to purchase and cut lengths for your table size and materials.
INSTRUCTIONS (for 4’ or 6’ long boards)
Assemble the Table Top
Step 1 – Select two 28” x 2” x 4” cleats. Using an angle bracket as a template, mark and drill four ¼” diameter holes in each cleant, centering the angle bracket on the cleat.
Remove angle bracket and counterbore each of the holes with a ⅝” bit to a depth of ⅛”. This will allow clearance for hte carriage bolt heads in Step 4.
Step 2 – Lay out eight top boards when using 2×4’s (or five boards if using 2×6’s), best side down on a flat surface, maintaining a ¼” spacing between boards. Carriage bolts can be placed between boards to maintain space. Measure and mark the following distance from both ends.
Step 3 – Insert four 2” carriage bolts into counterbored holes in the cleat. Before nailing the cleat, cover the mating surface of the cleat with a coat of white glue. When attaching cleat, nails driven straight in are easily pulled out, but when angled, reinforce one another.
Step 4 – Nail cleat to top boards, “trapping” head of carriage bolts between cleat and top board. Position bolts between cleat and top board. Position edge of cleat on marked line.
Step 5 – Repeat Steps 2–4 at the other end of the table top.
Step 6 – Center remaining 28” x 2” x 4” cleat between end cleats. Nail to table top boards after gluing. On the 4′ table there is no center cleat.
Step 7 – Attach angle brackets to end cleats and secure with ¼” hex nuts.
Assemble the Seats
Step 1 – Select four 10” x 2” x 4” cleats. Locate and drill two ¼” diameter holes in each cleant. Counterbone each of the holes with a ⅝” bit to a depth of approximately ⅛”. This will allow clearance for the carriage bolts in Step 4.
Step 2 – Layout the three seat boards (if using 2×4’s, or two boards if using 2×6’s), best side down on a flat surface, maintaining a ¼” space between boards. Measure and mark the distance according to the kit’s instructions.
Step 3 – Insert two 3¼” carriage bolts into the counterbored holes in the cleat.
Step 4 – Nail cleat to seat boards, strapping head of carriage bolt between cleat and seat boards. Be certain to coat the mating surface with glue.
Step 5 – Repeat Steps 2–4 at the other end of the seat boards.
Step 6 – Locate the remaining cleats as shown below.
Step 7 – Repeat Steps 1–6 for second bench.
Step 1 – Attach two tubular legs to the angle bracket with 2” slotted head screws and ¼” hex nuts.
Step 2 – Fasten the two tubular legs together with two 2⅝” slotted head screws, fastening brace between legs through the holes.
Step 3 – Make sure tubular leg assembly is at a right angle (90°) to the table top. Bend brace so that it lays flat against the table top. Locate the point at which the hole in the brace contacts the table top and drill ¼” diameter hole. Brace may fall on either side of the center cleat depending on the length of the table being assembled. No center cleat is used on a 4’ long table.
Step 4 – Attach brace to table top with 2” carriage bolt and hex nut.
Step 5 – Repeat Steps 1–4 for the opposite end of the table top.
Step 6 – Turn table over and mount benches to leg assemblies with ¼” hex nuts.
Step 7 – Tighten all bolts.