DIY Picnic Table Plans

Use quality wood and straight boards to build a classic farm-style picnic table in about two hours by following easily customizable plans.

  • This traditional table is a simple design where a group of six to eight can gather and appreciate each other’s company any time of day.
    Photo by Carole West
  • Gritty's picnic table has to have whole-hog capabilities.
    Illustration by Brad Anderson Illustration
  • Each support board on the underneath side of the tabletop can be secured with six screws, two at each end and two in the middle. For the middle screws, make sure each middle tabletop board is fastened to the support board.
    Photo by Carole West
  • Drilling pilot holes first ensures none of the lumber cracks.
    Photo by Carole West
  • The legs of the project don't have to be angle-cut at the bottom.
    Photo by Carole West
  • Cut 3 inches off of two 8-foot 2-by-4s, and double-check this with two blocks of 2-by-4.
    Photo by Carole West
  • Additional supports ensure durability.
    Photo by Carole West

Gingham tablecloths, good food, laughter, and family and friends are among the things we think of when picnic season rolls around. These gatherings can be set for afternoon lunch or an evening dinner, nestled under the trees where minutes turn into hours.

Picnic tables have been around since the 1800s and can be used for all types of outdoor or indoor gatherings: birthday parties, garden harvesting, canning preparation, craft making, school work, and enjoying quiet time. This traditional table is a simple design where a group of six to eight can gather and appreciate each other’s company any time of day.

I have clear memories gathering at the beach with family and friends, sharing a picnic dinner while watching the sunset. The menu consisted of fried chicken and potato salad; several tables were gathered for eating and serving. What I remember most is that those tables were made from thin wood, and many times the boards were warped. There was always a curiosity if the table would hold our entire family or not.

Those were the days, weren’t they?!

It didn’t seem to really matter if the table would hold us or not, as long as we had a tablecloth to keep germs away and good food to occupy our time.

Fast forward several years, and the picnic table has changed quite a bit; yet hasn’t changed at all in its purpose. Designs can now be found using different materials like plastic, metal, and stone. They can be quite nice and add a wonderful attraction in any outdoor space. But isn’t it interesting how the beauty of a simple, solid wooden picnic table continues to hold the grace and beauty of a natural gathering?

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