Classic X Picnic Table (No Benches)

dark stained rustic X table in a pretty dining room
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This easy to follow woodworking plan will help you build an indoor or outdoor x table. These free do it yourself plans to build a modern style x picnic table feature step by step diagrams, suitable for beginner woodworkers. Inspired by Vanessa's amazing X table.

image from This and That
Unfinished, image from This and That, blogged here
Vanessa's father hand built this beautiful table and Vanessa finished it.  You can read the whole story here.  And now we are giving your plans for it!  

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Classic X Picnic Table (No Benches)

diagram showing X picnic table dimensions
Standard table height. Dimensions shown above.


Shopping List

3 – 2×6, 12′ Length

1 – 2×6, 8′ or Stud Length

1 – 2×4, 8′ or stud length

1 – 2×2, 8′ Length

7 – 1×4, 8′ Length

Wood Glue

1 1/4″ Wood Screws

2″ Wood Screws

2 1/2″ Wood Screws

Finishing Supplies (Wood Filler, Paint, Stain, Sandpaper, Sealer)

Cut List

Work on a clean level surface using straight boards. Be safe, wear hearing, eye and any other safety equipment that is necessary. Predrill and countersink all of your screw holes. Always use glue. Check for square after each step. Remember, you can click the photos for a larger view. When you are making parallel cuts (for example, the legs) at an angle simply set your miter saw to a 45 degree angle. Then make the first cut as close to the end as possible. Measure from the edge, long point to short point and make a mark. Cut. Then simply slide your board down to make remaining cuts. If you do not have a miter saw, I intentionally set all the angles at 45 degrees. So to cut a 45 degree angle on a 1×4 board, you can simply measure 3 1/2″ from the point and make a mark. Then draw a line from the point to the mark – this is shown in the below diagram. You can do this with other width boards when cutting a 45 degree angle, just use the width of the board as a guide.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Miter Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

2 – 2×4 @ 38 1/2″ (Ends mitered back at 45 degrees as shown in step 1)

5 – 1×4 @ 30″ (Supports)

7 – 2×6 @ 71 3/4″ (Tabletop Boards)

2 – 1×4 @ 61 3/4″ (Side Aprons)

4 – 1×4 @ 40 1/4″ (Ends cut at 45 degrees, parallel)

8 – 1×4 @ 20 1/8″ (ONE end mitered down 45 degrees off square, measure to fit on legs)

1 – 2×2 @ 64 3/4″ (Stretcher)


Step 1

Apron Ends
Cut your apron ends as shown above. The angles on the ends are 45 degrees. You will need to cut 2 of these.

Step 2

Table Frame
Start by marking your table side aprons (the 1x4s 61 3/4″ long) every 10″ (this does not have to come out exact). Use these marks to guide you as you attach the supports, as shown above. Use 2″ screws and glue. Then screw the side aprons to the end aprons from step 1. Make sure you square your project at this step.

Step 3

Tabletop Boards
Use 2 1/2″ screws and glue to fasten your tabletop boards as shown above. Remember, if you want to use your table for outdoor purposes, you should leave a 1/4″ gap between the boards. You can use a flat carpenters pencil as a guide. This will increase your overhang on the ends by approximately 3/4″, if you choose to ad spacing between your boards.
One tip a reader suggested is examining the ends of your boards. Each board will have a “bark” side or a side that the grain bends away from. Alternate the bark side up and the bark side down as you lay your tabletop boards. That way if your boards do “move” as wood can do, the boards will expand in a complimentary fashion, minimizing any tabletop warping.

Step 4

image from
If you are using the table outdoors, bark side down will avoid cupping, and create better water drainage. The above photo is an exaggeration, but even the slightest amount of crowning will keep water (the enemy) from pooling on top of your outdoor table.

Step 5

Step 6

Legs, Part 2
Finish the legs by attaching the remaining leg trim pieces using 1 1/4″ screws and glue. Hide your screw holes by attaching from the insides. Then using the 2 1/2″ screws, fasten the legs to the side aprons, centering the legs on the side apron.

Step 7

Your table is going to need something to keep the legs from spreading appart – think dragging the table from the end. The amount of leverage on those top screws would be quite strong. So to keep your table together you can do a cross braces from the center of the Xs to the underside of the table. But I choose to keep this super simple and do a 2×2 as a stretcher so that most any beginner could tackle this project. Simply use the 2 1/2″ screws to screw the stretcher to the legs, in the centers of the X. TIP – once one side is fastened, use a level to determine where the other side should be fastened.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
If you are using your table outdoors (or even indoors) I highly recommend paintable silicone. You can also use wood plugs for a more finished look. But wood filler is my best friend. Paint or stain as desired, seal with an appropriate exterior waterproof sealer if you are using outdoors.


teamshield (not verified)

Wed, 05/05/2010 - 01:22


I was all set to build your other outdoor table, but now this?!? Which to choose?

Thank you thank you for all your hard work. I am obsessed with your plans, have a list of what I am making next and talk about you constantly.

Leslie (not verified)

Wed, 05/05/2010 - 01:49

OMG, do you ever sleep? :)

Thanks for this great plan. However, I echo the above post in wondering which plan to choose. There are so many amazing choices. I guess I'll have to build them all!

Have a super day!

kch (not verified)

Wed, 05/05/2010 - 03:59

Love the table and I'm dying to enlarge it and make it for our new (giant, 12 seater) dining room table. Question: The cut list mentions a 2x4 but none is listed on the shopping list. Is the 8' 2x6 supposed to be an 8' 2x4?

Michelle "Chao… (not verified)

Wed, 05/05/2010 - 04:26

The table is so simple and functional...which makes it even more spectacular. Like a little black dress that can be dressed up or down. I would love to be a fly on the wall to see just how long it takes you to knock out a knock off.

It was so much fun to figure out that the table owner lives just a hop, skip and jump away from me.

Melissa (not verified)

Wed, 05/05/2010 - 20:50

I love this table! I wish I had somewhere in my house I could use it. We're going to be using one of your other plans for a dining room table. Maybe it could go in our spare room as a work table. Hmm....

Karen (not verified)

Thu, 05/06/2010 - 03:01

Gah! I came here *hoping* for this. My husband's birthday is in 4days and, since my birthday was yesterday, he got me the present I was planning to give him (AGAIN! We may be too compatible!). Now I need a good gift and came here just hoping to find this exact table (a big people version of the bigger kid's picnic table) so I can build him a patio set as a gift. You rock :)

Sheela (not verified)

Thu, 04/28/2011 - 17:40

Her table was featured in the "I did it" section at the end of Better Homes and Gardens this month (I think that's what the section is called). I knew the table looked familiar, and that's because I saw it here! Very cool, and congratulations to Vanessa!

April Brady (not verified)

Sun, 10/02/2011 - 16:27

Hello, Me and my husband just love this table and are going to build this for our home during these chilly fall days but he was wondering if you fastent the top of the table to the legs from the top or underside of the table. He is a little confused. If it is indeed from the top do you use the wood putty to fill in the holes? thanks for explaining!

Audrey (not verified)

Mon, 04/30/2012 - 04:25

Has anyone determined how to fasten the top? Drill from above or below?? I am stuck...

GuestAmy (not verified)

Tue, 09/04/2012 - 06:26

To anyone that has built this table... Do you have any complaints about the sturdiness of the table due to the legs being made of 1x4s? I'm debating whether or not to use 2x4s instead.


Chellie (not verified)

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 07:01

The shopping list only mentions 1-2x6. Do I actually need 7 since those are the tabletop boards?