How to Make a Picnic Table

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  March 27, 2022
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A picnic table or bench is a table with designated benches to go with it, mainly designed for outdoor dining. The term is often used to specifically point out rectangular tables with an A-frame structure. These tables are referred to as “picnic tables” even when used exclusively indoors. Picnic tables may also be made in different shapes, from squares to hexagons, and in various sizes. 


How to Make a Picnic Table

Everyone has their personal preference. Today you’ll get to know how to make a standard size picnic table with is based on an A-frame structured and the benches will be attached. You can change your table’s shape or size according to your preference.

You’ll also need a drill machine to put it all together, sandpaper to make the surfaces smooth, saw to cut the woods. One of the best features of the project: The top and bench seats are made from composite boards, a material ­made from epoxy resin and sawdust. It’s easy to clean and immune to wood-boring insects. I chose pressure-treated 2x wooden panels for other parts of the table and rust-proof fasteners. The design is heavy but It is also sturdy.

Step 1: Start at the Base of the Table


It is recommended to start your work at the base of the table because it will help you go up step by step. Start by cutting the four legs for the picnic table out of pressure-treated 2 x 6 ­lumber. Slice two legs at a time with a saw. Cut the angle on the legs. You can use a circular saw and use a guide to cut the angles on the top and bottom of the legs.

Next, make a slot across for the seat support and lay the support across the legs. The tops of the supports should be 18 inches apart from the leg ­bottoms, and the ends of the supports should extend 14¾ inches from every leg.

Step 2. Secure the Supports


To keep the parts of your table from getting misaligned work on a completely flat surface. Now you have to secure the 2 x 4 supporting woods to the legs with 3-inch screws. Put the support across the legs and tie it with the fasteners. Then, you’ll have to align the link with carriage bolts. Be cautious when driving the screw. If you tighten it too much there is a risk that the pointy side will just come out of the other side. This support will also hold the benches

Step 3: Making the Frame for the Tabletop

The tabletop gets on top of this frame. It has to be well built so that it can hold all the loads you throw at it. First you have to cut across the side rails. Always notice the angle before you start sawing. Drill holes at the end before putting the screws in, because if you don’t the woods might split. Now join the parts with 3-inch screws. Screw the top frame together. Using a pipe clamp will help you hold all the parts in their place.


Step 4: Making the Frame for the Bench

This is the same process as the making of the frame of the tabletop.

Step 5: Assembling the Whole Frame

Now you have to assemble the ­picnic table structure. Position the frame of the tabletop with the top of the legs and clamp them together to make sure they are perfectly aligned. Now you have to attach the legs with the tabletop frame using the 3-inch screws on both sides. You may have a hard time fitting a screwdriver through the frame, you can use the drill to put the screws in the tricky places


Now, use bolts to support the joints. ­Attach the frame to the bench support of the legs using the 3-inch screws. Make sure the bench frame is properly placed within the bench support to ensure that all the seat planks can be placed at the same level.

Step 6: Reinforcing the Structure


You have to provide enough support to the table base so that it stays in shape without tilting on bending. Install two supporting planks diagonally. Use an angle cutter saw or a circular saw to cut the ends in the proper angle for the supports. Put the supports between the bench ­support and the frame of the top. Use the 3-inch screws to secure them into place. With this the frame is done, so is all the hard work.

Step 7: Attaching the Legs


Now you have to make holes of the proper size (choose your drill bit according to the size of your bolts) through the legs and tabletop frame. Run the drill bit all the way through so that no splintering occurs while putting in the bolts. Now you have to put the bolts through the holes, use a any type of hammer to tap them through.  Put the washer in before putting on the nuts and tighten it up with a wrench. If the end of the bolt pokes out of the wood, cut off the excess part and file the surface to make it smooth.  You might have to tighten the screws later if the wood shrinks.

8. Making the Tabletop


Now it’s time to cut the composite board for the top and bench. To cut more precisely, you cut several planks at once. Lay the decking planks across the frame with their woodgrain texture facing up. Make sure the planks are properly centered and the same length is hanging out on opposite ends of the bench and the tabletop, around 5-inch on each end and the end plank should be around an inch out of the frame. Drill 1/8-inch holes through the board and frame.

Make sure the holes in the frame and plank align properly, use a square to measure the position of the holes. Now secure the planks in place with 2½-inch-long trim-head deck screws. To keep an even space between the planks, you can use plastic spacers built for composite boards. Putting these between every plank will help keep the proper spacing so that it doesn’t trigger anyone’s OCD.

9. No Sharp Edges


Use an angle grinder to sand the edges of the planks and round them up evenly. Check the frame too for sharp edges and sand them off. Sand the surfaces to give it a smooth finishing.

If you like to know a more free picnic table plan, we talked about another post in detail.


A picnic table in the garden will make a sudden garden party or a barbecue party a beautiful social gathering. The instructions above would make it easier for you to build a garden table instead of just buying the table at a price that is overestimated. So, choose your design and make a handyman out of yourselves.

Source: Popular Mechanics

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.