Picnic Table Plans

picnic table painted red
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The classic picnic table made easy to build!

We love picnic tables - they are inexpensive and sturdy and SO versatile.  In this free project plan, we simplify the building process.  You'll just need some standard off the shelf lumber and screws to build!

We also have created a kids picnic table plan, toddler picnic table plan and an octagon picnic table plan.

Picnic Table Modifications

It's easy to modify this picnic table to different dimensions.  I do recommend working with your materials to minimize waste - for example, if you want a 5 foot long picnic table, simply purchase 10 foot long 2x6s (for the seat and top) and cut in half.

You will need some center support if your 2x6 seat and tabletop boards span more than about 4 feet with no support underneath - so maybe keep that in mind before building a 12 foot long table.


Picnic Table Building Materials

I recommend building this table out of cedar or other outdoor appropriate materials that are popular in your local area for building decks. If you do use common lumber, I recommend painting or staining.

I do not recommend using treated lumber for the tabletop or seats (as these areas come in contact with food).  A good compromise is to use treated lumber for the legs and supports, and untreated for the tabletop and seats.  


Finishing Your Picnic Table

The picnic table should be painted or stained how you would paint or stain your deck - with consideration for food contact.  If you are building with cedar, no finish is required, but the table will turn grey from the sun.

If you are using paint or a "film forming" finish like polyurethane that sits on top of the wood, make sure you seal every side of each board.  If water penetrates the wood, it will cause the wood to swell, make the wood bigger, and causing the paint or polyurethane to crack and peel.  The best way to seal every edge of every board is to prefinish before assembly.

My favorite option is to use an exterior penetrating stain to finish, as it soaks into the wood (instead of sitting on top of the wood like paint).  This is more forgiving, but will need to be re applied every 3-5 years, depending on the brand and your local elements.

If you'd like more information on finishing outdoor furniture, I share all my secrets here.


diagram showing the dimensions of picnic table
Overall Dimensions are shown above


Shopping List

9 – 2×6 Stud Length OR 4 – 2×6 12′ Long and 1 – 2×6 Stud Length (8′ Length works if it is cheaper)

5 – 2×4 Boards, 8′ or Stud Length

2 1/2″ self tapping deck screws

OPTIONAL: You can bolt the leg sets together with 3-1/2" bolts with nuts and washers.  Make sure all fasteners are exterior appropriate.

Common Materials
2 1/2 inch screws
3 inch screws
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

9 – 2×6 @ 60″ (Tabletop boards and Seat Boards)

3 – 2×4 @ 29 1/2″ (Tabletop Supports)

4 – 2×4 @ 33″ (Ends mitered at 30 degrees parallel)

2 – 2×4 @ 52 1/2″ (Seat Supports)

2 – 2×4 @ 28 1/2″ (Cross Supports, ends mitered at 25 degrees parallel)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Work on a clean level surface. Check for square after each step. Get some help on this project, it will be difficult to work alone. Recommended to paint and stain your boards before building to ensure all edges are sealed, then touch up paint after finishing. Use necessary safety precautions and equipment. Predrill and countersink you screws or drill holes for bolts and tighten with a washer and nut. Remember, you can click photos for a larger view.


Step 1


Measure 2″ and 29 1/4″ from the outsides of all the tabletop boards and make a mark.

Cut your supports board ends at a 45 degree angle on the ends as shown above.

Then attach the tabletop boards to the supports through the tops using 2 1/2″ screws and glue.

Start on the outsides and work inward, keeping an even 1/2″ gap between the boards.

Use the marks you made to guide you in placing the support boards in line with the tabletop boards.


NOTE: Pocket hole users can attach from underneath with pocket holes to hide all screw holes.

Step 2


Start by cutting your legs at 30 degree angles on both ends, so the ends are parallel.

Then, line up the legs with the inner edge of the boards between the middle and outside boards. Use 2 1/2″ screws and glue to fasten to the inside of the table support as shown above.

Step 3

Seat Supports

Take your square and measure at a 90 degree angle from the underside of the table up 12″ and make a mark on the legs.

Cut your seat supports at 45 degree angles on the ends.

Then from the long point, measure 11 1/2″ in from the outer point and make a mark. Line this mark up with the edge of the legs, keeping the top of the seat support (shown as the bottom because the table is upside down) level with the marks made on the legs. Fasten with 2 1/2″ screws and glue.

Step 4

Cross Supports

First, take a square of the table by measuring from the outer points of the legs to the diagonal opposite leg. Do this for both diagonals. Push the opposite legs together on the longer diagonal until your diagonals match up in distance.

Then cut your cross supports at 25 degrees off square on both ends, ends are parallel. Fasten in place using 2 1/2″ screws and glue, centered on the supports as shown above. For one of the cross supports, you will need to screw at an angle from the side of the cross support in the tabletop support.

Step 5

Attach the seat boards to the picnic table with screws to complete.


crystal (not verified)

Tue, 04/27/2010 - 21:50

Ana, I seriously think you are a mind reader! I have been hopefully waiting for these plans & you made them happen girly! I love your blog. My hubby and I are really young parents just trying to make our new house a home and of course I have champagne taste on a cheap beer budget! but thanks to you I can actually decorate the way I want to and not have to resort to cheap big box furniture. Thank you, thank you, thank you! ;)

Okay (not verified)

Tue, 04/27/2010 - 22:23

I have finished toddler picnic table last weekend.
now it is hard for me to choose paint color.

Cheryl's Creat… (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 02:51

Ana, thanks for your plans, I went to the store and purchased all the supplies with my son, then came home and we worked on this table as a family, I am so excited to paint it next, thanks so much your blog site is amazing and so inspiring, as a mom of 4 I am on a tight budget, but love style and new ideas....you make it happen...

Jenny (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 02:58

I would have made one when my children where little if the mini picnic tables had been around. I never saw them in wood, just classic plastic.

I love all the colors.

Liana (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 03:18

I am so glad I found this site. And this might get old, but you really are an inspiration! My husband (who can't hang a picture) is not convinced yet that this is a worthy endeavor but I aim to prove him wrong.

Just got wood yesterday for the bigger kids picnic table. I bought nails that you would use for a composite deck cause I'm scared of rust. Were these the right choice?

Also, I'm such a beginner, I would love to see more tutorials like how to use a "square" and simple things like that or did I miss this somewhere? I bought the jigsaw/ sander too so I'm hoping I can use those for angle cuts??!!

After seeing so many other people's work, the chant in my head says, "I can do it" but I'm soooo scared. Guess just gotta jump in!!

Valerie (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 03:27

I think I know what we are doing this weekend! Ok, well first we need to mow the lawn.. but THEN we are going to build this table. This is just what I have been hoping for. Thanks Ana! You just continue to amaze me. *high five*

Jenelle (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 06:05

Is everyone using oil based paint to paint these? My husband and I are having a disagreement on how to paint ours :)

Jen (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 06:57

Thanks Ana! With spring here in Alaska we are all looking forward to picnics. I made the toddler one last weekend and it went so well I was thinking a full size one Then ta dah here it is! Thanks:)

Becca (not verified)

Wed, 04/28/2010 - 07:17

Sweet!!! I planned on making the kid size, then you came out with the big kid size, and I thought, OHHH, let's build that one. But now, I am going with the full size that way the whole family can fit for a picnic!!! You are so wonderful!

Katie Seamons (not verified)

Fri, 04/30/2010 - 14:18

We found a saw at a garage sale this morning...is it impossible to make these things without a nail gun. Just to use finishing nails and a hammer? I am really excited to do these projects but can't stomach buying more tools on a students budget...

Carmen (not verified)

Sat, 05/01/2010 - 01:45

I stumbled on this blog a few weeks ago and decided to build this as my first DIY project since my child surely would not criticize something so super cool? She loved it!! It was so easy (after I figured out how to use the saw that is). Anyway, I am raising money for my 2 day walk for breast cancer in late October and have decided to make some of these to sell for my team to raise funds...I mean who would not LOVE a pink picnic table for a cause? Thanks so much for making these available...making a bed next since my 4 year old saw the farmhouse bad and " can not live without it."

Bri (not verified)

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 04:09

Katie...yo woldn't need a nail gn for this one...jst a drill and drill bits.
I built the bigger kids table and my kids were sitting at it during my garage sale and people liked it and now I have 5 orders for people who want to by one! PAINT BEFORE YOU BUILD!! and we used Killz brand high gloss exterior paint Jenelle

Wendy (not verified)

Sat, 05/08/2010 - 10:40

I'm thrilled to find these plans for an adult-size table. Because we don't have a deck and our table will be on the grass, I prefer a traditional picnic table rather than a table and chairs. I was appalled to find that our home-improvement store did not carry plans for such a basic project. Pre-made ones I found were priced in the hundreds for what I estimate is about $50 worth of materials. This will be my first summer building project.

Sara (not verified)

Thu, 05/20/2010 - 17:47

I just finished the full-size picnic table today, and I absolutely love it. It looks so natural in our mountain setting. I blogged about the process here on my blog, The Handy Hausfrau.

A quick tip: measure and draw the 30 degree angles on the legs and the 25 degree angles on the center supports before you cut the boards. If you cut the pieces to 33" and 28.5" respectivly before you mark the angles, you won't have enough board to make two parallel cuts.

Thanks for the plans, Ana, and keep up the great work. I can't wait to build another one of your projects.

jimssolidwoodp… (not verified)

Fri, 09/03/2010 - 05:41

Excellent, l want to make 2 of the adult table for back yard and 1 tiny one as a hint for my kids to give me some grand children lol.
And l want to make onee for my son's wife's nephew made him a 2 x4 ft book sheelf at his tiny height 12 months old then, so if l make him a little table aam sure he will like it, since l have no grandkids to spoil l will build this little guy kiddie furniture lol.

Your great Ana


Emily (not verified)

Sat, 09/11/2010 - 12:36


Thanks so much for these plans! My hubby and I just moved into a new home and the owner of the house had a picnic table and when we asked about it he said he was going to keep it. We didn't let that stop us! I had been "lurking" on your site for a while and had bookmarked many of the plans you have, so I printed out these and my hubby built us a great plum table. Oh, and we used Sara's tip re: measuring the angles before cutting. We've gotten lots of compliments and some even asked if he built this from a kit because it was so sturdy and great!

After finishing ours, he built a toddler one in pink and purple for our friend's daughter. Her table was supposed to go outside, but the little one loved it so much she asked to keep it inside because she didn't want it to get dirty.

Next up, the storage daybed, shelves and, my absolute fave, the farmhouse table from Restoration Hardware! Thanks again for all these great plans!


sara (not verified)

Mon, 01/24/2011 - 12:18

I want to extend this tables length by about two feet. Has anyone done this? Will I need to add extra support (third leg in the middle)?



Sat, 08/13/2011 - 07:43

I CANNOT wait to get started on these! Can somebody tell me how many this plan seats comfortably? Maybe, I'll just make 2. We have a large family, and we are hoping to expand it still. ;o) I am new to the site and so excited about all these fun ideas for our home. Thanks Jay

adventurentogether (not verified)

Mon, 11/26/2012 - 15:40

I am making this table for our dining area. It will be a 10 ft table, so I plan to basically double the table, only using 10' long boards on the top and seats. For the middle supports, I plan to join the two supports together. I am also going to use all 2x6s instead of 2x4 for the support. I may use 2x12 for the top and seats, depending on the price. If I extend the overhang to be a foot from the end supports so there is plenty of leg room for sitting at the ends, will the table still be stable?


Sun, 03/01/2020 - 12:17

4. I made it 8 ft long because why waste the 8 ft boards. Also, I recommend moving seats out about another 5.5 inches. It felt too close to the table top and was difficult for even a thin person to get in and out

Al Lulu

Wed, 10/30/2013 - 11:07

I'm so confused. I started this project and, like all my work, I have to shim something because I measure like a fool.
I totally get the 11.5" on either side of the seat supports, but if I am also trying to measure them down 12" that math doesn't work out. Which is more important? Help!


Fri, 07/18/2014 - 12:39

I'd like to include an umbrella hole in the middle of this picnic table. Any thoughts on how to best do this? If I include 4 board supports and thus separate the center supports by 2-3 inches, what angle will I have to cut the leg cross braces? Thoughts?


Mon, 12/07/2015 - 14:34

Great Plans but 1 sugggestion.  I helped my son build three of these tables for an Eagle Scout project.  We followed the plans (using stud length 2x6s) and noticed that we could have had 12 inches of overhang on the seat and the top.  We did this on the other 2 tables and it worked perfectly.  Just a suggestion if you want a little more room on the outside.


Sun, 03/01/2020 - 12:08

Love this plan. Took one day and the materials are cheap. I did redo part of it though. After following the plan the seats felt too close to the table top. I’m not a huge guy - 5’11, 160 - but even I had to sit first then swing my legs over. I recommend moving the seats out about another 6 inches.You will have to adjust the miter angles on the diagonal supports though.