Picture of Flat pack for storage Plywood Picnic Table

These picnic tables are each made from a single sheet of plywood, take about 30 minutes to mark out, and about 1 hour to cut out. The sanding and painting is down to the individual, so I'll not quote any times for these two processes, but I have finished mine with a combination of wood preserver on the undersides and gloss paint on the topsides .

A short video of me assembling and disassembling one of my picnic tables: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xATfmOkLh7Q&list=UU1iX9q83W978_o37wLxqkvw&index=2&feature=plcp

You will need a copy of the plans, which you can download and save from here:


To mark out the plywood, you'll need: a rule or tape measure, a pencil, a square, and a straight edge of about 4 feet long, or slightly longer; a planed 4 X 1 piece of timber just over 4 feet long, or a length of steel are ideal.

I have used a cordless jigsaw for the rounded cuts, and cordless circular saw for the long straight cuts, but a jigsaw will be more than adequate for all the cutting requirements.

Pay close attention to the plans, as they follow both a Centre Line set of dimensions, and Accumulated dimensions from the bottom edge of the sheet of plywood. The only really tricky part of the plans and the dimensioning is ensuring that you follow the accumulated dimensions correctly and mark out accurately.

Note: I have used 18 mm thick shuttering plywood rather than the recommended 1" thick plywood: so if you follow my lead here, you'll need to reduce the joint let ins from 1" to 18 mm.

Step 1:

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As previously mentioned, I used a cordless circular saw for the long straight cuts, and a cordless Jigsaw for the detailing cuts.

You will obtain a good quality of cut if you use a jigsaw blade that cuts on both the up stroke and the down stroke.
pneumatist made it!2 days ago

Thanks for the plans. We are having fun, aren't we?

BartholomewH3 months ago

Lovely flat pack project!
Among my favorite knock down fittings here!
Cheers mate!

PasadenaMom5 months ago

So my neighbor gave me this for my sons.. I plan to sand and paint.. But, what is the little base thingy made of? I don't have that...

Gareth0123 (author)  PasadenaMom5 months ago

I assume that you mean the additional feet mentioned in step number 7. There is a link to a separate instrcutables for them included in step number 7.

Here is that same link; http://www.instructables.com/id/Additional-feet-for-Picnic-tables/

woodbox10 months ago

Hello, Gareth!

Using your idea, I made a drawing of such a table to cut it on the CNC

Download drawing can be here


Gareth0123 (author) 11 months ago

Plan download to print off.

davidags1 year ago
hi do you have actual size on cad (dxf file ) very nice plans
Lol...the new link wasn't showing....now it is....I love the internet!! Problem solved!
I cannot find the plans on the link provided. Can anyone assist?
Gareth0123 (author) made it!1 year ago

Here is new working (April 2014) link to the PDF plans for this project:


vandykee1 year ago

Long time DIYer; first time commenting here. I knocked this project out in two weekends: one to (go to the hardware store and) mark out and cut, one to rout the edges and paint.

They say that you can pick two out of these three: better/faster/cheaper. I chose faster and cheaper, without caring much about looks. I predrilled 3/8" wherever I had to change the jigsaw direction, then hacked some pretty unstraight lines. >_<

I used a roundover bit in a handheld router on all the edges and a quick run of the palm sander just so it would take paint. Going for speed, I slapped 3/4 of a quart of primer on the pieces, then 8 oz of clear polyurethane (1 coat) and called it done.

When assembled it's got an obvious wobble due to my rough/wide jigsaw work. I knocked a wood shim in the worst gap (where the three base pieces overlap), and it's good enough for a camp kitchen. It's white and far from perfect but it should last me through a couple camping trips.

EcoExpatMike made it!1 year ago

My god daughter posing on the unpainted table. And then the completed version painted blue and green...


A pic of the one I built here in the Philippines with my niece testing it out...

I just built one of these and am planning on starting the painting of it this afternoon.

SUGGESTION, make the channel slots for the plywood 7/8ths inch so it isn't so tight. I had to sand the HECK out of it to get it to go together easily...

Enjoying our little house in the Philippines but tools here are SO expensive...

The kids love it. And the local carpenters, once I was done, said I could get 3000 pesos for it! With just 1250 pesos for the 3/4" marine grade plywood. So 1750 peso profit makes me around $40 richer if I sell out!
psidat1 year ago
try this link

The links are broken to the prints/ plans...

kevinhannan2 years ago
Very nice indeed.
However I cannot find the plans and have trawled through the website link. If I get to see the plans I shall certainly have a go at this fine 'ible.
Gareth0123 (author)  kevinhannan2 years ago
Hi Kevin,

If you scroll down to the bottom of this web page, you will find a (free) downloadable PDF version of the plans http://overthegate.myfreeforum.org/sutra268083.php#268083
The link to the blueprints does not load properly does anyone have a copy I NEED THEM ... PLEASE! thanks allen.curry83@yahoo.com
DeanAshby2 years ago
Pure genius! A full plywood picnic table that can take so little space in storage! Just a question, is it possible for me to use MDF board for this? Reason I ask is because I have loads of them in storage (after a workshop closed down near my house) and I would love to use them for something good.
mganpate3 years ago
super idea iwill make ...
matt.nupen3 years ago
The pdf link is broken, here's the url of the new address
Gareth0123 (author)  matt.nupen3 years ago
Thank you for your comment about the broken link Matt.

I have now up dated the link on the main page of this instructable.


Gareth0123 (author) 3 years ago
Thank you to all for the nice comments, and especially to Skirmishmonkey for the photograph.

As mentioned in the original Instructable I now have six of these tables for use at the various shows and festivals we attend, and I replace two of the tables with new ones each year.The old tables are donated to my church's scout group for their use at camps, fetes and fund raisers, etc.

I have now slightly modified how I build the tables, using an off cut of ply wood and a 4 inch diameter hole saw to make a plywood plug which I quarter.This is glued and pinned in place under the table tops, and the seat tops. If you use this method under the seat tops the long cut out, and tenon are not required in the seat supports, and it prevents clothing being trapped in the slip joint gaps.
plywood picnic tables RAL 1028 002.JPG
You are welcome.

Here is the finished item using yacht varnish (UV resistant, hard wearing and weatherproof).

I like the circular finishing and using the same for the bench seats. It is a simpler finish than the cut outs.

This was my first 'big' project and I am pleased with how well it turned out. Which is a testament to the extremely clear 'ible and great tips included.

TO others, if you haven't started yours yet, do it today.
Oops pic didn't upload last time. Here it is.

Thanks again.

BTW, I have had loads of excellent feedback on my build. I point everyone this way.
Great Instructable! I bought myself a circular saw and wondered what I could make with it. Saw this and was inspired. Here is a pic of my effort.

Now all that is left is the fine finishing and varnishing. I was thinking of painting but have been convinced to varnish it.

Thanks for the inspiration.
Tinkerteem3 years ago
beautiful design :)
wiglaf3 years ago
Great instructable! I'm seriously thinking of making one of these for my kids, and to use when camping. Would be cool if there were a way to make the feet height adjustable, in order to prevent the inevitable wobbling that occurs when it's placed on uneven ground.

Also, that "cargo cycle" is AWESOME!!! Do you have a link to the web site for it?
skiedra3 years ago
That is a very fine table!
snoyes4 years ago
Neat! Do you have a picture of one torn down and strapped together, and how you carry it?
Gareth0123 (author)  snoyes4 years ago
Good point;

Alas I do not, but I will take a photo of one of the tables flat packed and strapped tomorrow and then add it to the end of the instructable.