DIY: picnic table plans

Updated March 23, 2017

Picnic tables and benches are easy to build. The structure is pretty simple and can provide you an opportunity to spend a productive weekend working on the picnic-table project for your home. According to, red cedar is a suitable option for making a picnic table, as the wood is durable and beautiful. A picnic table can be used not just for picnics but also for outdoor parties and fun barbecues.


According to, red cedar can easily be drilled and given a shape using a saw. Moreover, it also maintains its attractiveness over a long period of time, so you do not have to worry about the natural wood colour fading. You need to cut the wood into five top slats measuring 50 by 150 by 1525 mm (2 by 6 by 60 inches), two cleats measuring 50 by 100 by 685 mm (2 by 4 by 27 inches), four legs measuring 50 by 100 by 1020 mm (2 by 4 by 40 inches), and two braces measuring 50 by 100 by 765 mm (2 by 4 by 30 inches). In addition to the wood, you also require some washers, nuts, and six sets of machine bolts along with one pound of deck screws. Once you collect the required materials, start building the table.


Start by laying the cut slats on a clean surface, and be sure to place it with the smoother side of the wood down. You will need to use at least a quarter-inch spacers for separating the slats from each other. While placing the spacers, make sure they are square. Now, use a bar clamp for clamping all the slats together. If you have not cut the cleats already, cut them into 685 mm (27 inches) in length, and tidy up the ends by cutting at 45-degree angle. Now, take a cleat and put it on the edge, precisely 175 mm (7 inches) from each end of the top slats. According to, it is best to leave a margin of 18 mm (3/4 inch) from the edge of the table.

Above each slat of the table top, drill two holes into the cleat. Be sure the screw holes are sufficiently deep for setting the screw heads beneath the surface. Take 100 mm (4 inch) screws and fasten the slats tightly. As mentioned earlier, the legs should be 990 by 1020 mm (39 to 40 inches), with parallel bottom and top cut at a 38-degree angle.


Once the cutting is done, it is time to put things together to create a picnic table. Use C clamps for loosely clamping the table legs together from the middle. Keep the clamp loose enough to be able to adjust the legs to make an X-shaped cross. The tops and bottoms should be aligned to create a 725 mm (28 1/2 inch) span on all sides. Mark on each leg at the point of intersection, and remove the clamp. Attach the assembled leg parts to the table top. This can be accomplished by using 85 by 6 mm (3 1/2 by 1/4 inch) machine bolts at both connections.

Fit the table braces between the table top and the X-shaped legs, with 45-degree angles. Fasten the braces to the table-slats using 100 mm (4 inch) screws. Use a drill machine for drilling holes through the cross of legs, and make sure the drill passes through the ends of both braces. Lastly, remove the clamps after installing the bolts.

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About the Author

Joanne Cichetti has written articles and Web content professionally since 2009, focusing primarily on health and lifestyle. In order to further pursue her writing career professionally, Cichetti inducted herself in the Long Ridge Writers Group, and she looks forward to having a novel published under their guidance.