Introduction: Miniature Picnic Table Using Gum Wrappers

Picture of Miniature Picnic Table Using Gum Wrappers
How to create a miniature picnic table using only foil gum wrappers.
Materials needed: Fifteen (15) gum wrappers
Time and a little patience
Optional equipment: ruler, protractor.
Complexity - Low-Med

This is a cheap and easy way to make a miniature picnic table. This is suitable for a doll house or a knick-knack shelf. It's fun to make, keeps your hands busy and your mind engaged.

The cost is nothing because you just use old gum wrappers. The creation of arts and crafts out of recycled materials is part of the "Reuse" strategy that keeps resources in use instead of being wasted and polluting the environment. I don't know anywhere that actually recycles these wrappers, so reuse is especially important. You don't even have to buy and use the gum. You could organize a recycle effort of your own - many people would gladly donate their wrappers since they don't actually use them. Ask all your family and friends who chew to save them for you. Although this may not save the planet, it is a good use of available resources that would normally go to waste.
(ok - a stretch for being a green project - but i was able to get the color included thanks to Wrigley's new 5 gum. The product placement in this 'ible is not paid for by Wrigley, but I think they should - a lot!)
For many other ideas to reuse gum wrappers please see my slideshow:
Many uses

This is similar in construction of the TV Tray and Footstool instructables I published.
TV Tray

It ain't easy being green...but it is important!
Let's get started.

Step 1: Fold Sticks

Picture of Fold Sticks
If you've seen any of my other 'ibles, you know you're going to need to make sticks.
You will need eleven (11) sticks for this table.

Again, just fold each wrapper in half over and over the long way until you can't.
Then crease it with your thumbnail, fold, and roll into a cylindrical aluminum stick.

Here's a video of how I do it:

This may look tedious, but I find it kind of relaxing. I like to do this while watching TV or when I'm waiting on something like a flight. It's not too taxing mentally and keeps your hands busy. You know what they say "Idle hands are the devil's tools".

It took about 1/2 hour to make the sticks for this project.
The entire process probably took 3 hours. I'm hoping that with these instructions you could complete much sooner (and you don't need to take pictures along the way).

Step 2: Bend the Legs

Picture of Bend the Legs

You need to make a 90 degree bend one inch from one of the ends of each stick (4 total). This will make an "L" shape with a long part of 2 1/2 inches and a short part of 1 inch. The long part will be a leg of the picnic table. The short part will be one of the connectors for the table top. You will need to make four (4) of these "L" shaped sticks. They need to be uniform in size.
The bends needs to be at a 90 degree angle. An optional protractor would help, but that's overkill for this project. Just eyeball it - this ain't brain surgery!

If you're familiar with the TV tray instructable, this is exactly the same as when you made the legs for that project.

TV Tray

Step 3: Make Two (2) V Braces

Picture of Make Two (2) V Braces

Make two "V" braces, just like the ones made in the footstool instructable.

Create braces:
Bend a stick in half at a 90 degree angle. Next, hold a straight stick along one side and wrap one half around the straight stick in a tight spiral until all of that half is used. Gently pull the straight stick out.

Repeat the process for the second half. Place the straight stick so that is forms a "V" shape with the brace. Take the straight half of the brace and make another spiral wrap around the straight stick using all the length possible. Remove the straight stick again. You should then have a "V" shape with spiral connectors on each side of equal length.

Repeat that process for the second brace. You need two braces for this picnic table.
These "V" should be more of a right angle than the TV tray ones. The legs for the table will be spread farther apart since the table top is wider.

Step 4: Create the Table Top

Picture of Create the Table Top

Measure the top:
The tray top needs to be slightly wider than 2 inches. The reason is that the connectors on the end of each leg are 1 inch long. There will be two connectors per side of the tray top and they need to go all the way inside the table top.

I laid out two legs with the connectors end to end. This shows the minimum length of the table top of 2 inches. This top needs to be larger than the TV tray. The legs of the table will be spread out more so the top needs to be more "square" than the TV tray one. We can't use the single wrapper top from the TV tray - it is too narrow. The solution, use two (2) wrappers and turn them sideways. (another option is to use the foil from the whole pack which is large enough).

Make a two piece top:
Lay two wrappers both shiny side down with the long edges parallel each other. On the inside edge between the two, fold one wrapper up (valley fold) along the natural fold of the gum line. On the inside edge of the other piece, fold down (mountain fold) along that same natural crease where the gum was. Now slide one wrapper over the other and hook the two folds together and press smooth. This will provide a table top just over two inches in length. It will have serrated edges on each end. The smooth ends will be rolled to provide the connection to the legs. If the combined pieces are too wide or narrow, adjust the amount of wrapper used for the connecting folds accordingly.

Take two (2) legs and cross them at a 90 degree angle. Try to get them centered on each other as much as possible (centered on the long part - each 2 1/2 inches long - so about 1 1/4 inches down each). The width of the table top needs to be the same distance as the ends of the cross are apart. Lay the table top out and center it between the ends formed by the legs being crossed. Fold up the ends of the table top at 90 angles on both side. This should produce a "U" shape with equal ends of the U.

Roll the table top connectors:
Take a straight stick and roll each leg of the U toward the middle until you get to the crease. Keep the shiny side down. (pictured - mine are green)
Keep the roll as tight as possible. You may have to roll it a numbers to get a nice tight roll. Pull the stick out of the roll when finished.

Step 5: Make Seat Brackets

Picture of Make Seat Brackets
In this step you'll make four (4) seat brackets. These brackets will be used to hold the seats on the table. The brackets will connect to the table legs just above the "V" braces.

Similar to the V braces, you will use half of the length of each stick as a spiral connector to the leg.
Bend one stick in half. Use another straight stick and create a spiral connector on one end by wrapping one half of the stick around the straight one over and over until you run out of stick on that end.

Short video showing how to make a seat bracket.

You will need four (4) of these and they should all be the same size and shape.
The angle of the straight part to the spiral connector should be at 45 degrees.

Each bracket needs to be connected to the top of each table leg before inserting the legs into their "V" braces. The brackets need to be pushed onto the table leg starting a the long end of the leg with the straight part of the bracket being at the bottom. Push the bracket all the way up so that the spiral connector is at the bend at the top of the table leg (where the table top connector bend is located).

Step 6: Connect the Table Top With the Legs

Picture of Connect the Table Top With the Legs

If you got this far, you will have everything you need to connect the table top with the legs - 4 legs w/ connectors, 2 "V" braces, seat braces and a table top with connectors.

Exactly like the TV tray project, the legs (long parts) need to be threaded through the bottom of each V brace. This time, since you have the seat brackets on there, ensure the brackets are at the top above the "V" brace. Each "V" brace will hold 2 legs in what looks like an "X". (with the addition of the seat brackets it actually looks like an asterisk, but I digress). Slide both legs through the same distance until the bottom of the V is at the halfway point of both legs (about 1 1/4 inch from each end). The connectors (the 1 inch bent parts) need to be at the same end of the "X". They also need to be pointing in the same direction and be approximately 1 1/2 inch apart.
You will need two sets of these figures (they look like spiders to me, w/ 6 legs and feelers). The table top will fit between the top connectors (feelers).

Connect the tray top:
Take the table top and place it in between the two "X" figures. The short connectors will slide into the long rolls of the table top. Make sure the completely shiny side is facing the top of the tray. You will have two 1 inch sticks to slide in on each side. Try to start the two on one side as evenly as possible - don't slide any one stick in too far before getting the other stick on that side started. Repeat on the other side and your table top is installed.

Step 7: Create Two (2) Seats

Picture of Create Two (2) Seats

Seats for the picnic table.

Lay out two (2) foil wrappers beside the long side of the table. Fold them on the natural creases and flatten. Keep the serrated sides up. Center the wrappers to the side of the table. Fold the ends of the wrapper up at both ends to make U shape with equal legs. Take a straight stick and roll down toward the center on each end until you hit the crease. These will be the connectors for the seats.
Each seat will have a rolled connector at each end or two per seat. The seat will be about an inch wide and 2 1/2 inches long (each connector will use about 1/2 inch).

Step 8: Connect the Seats

Picture of Connect the Seats

The final step (other than the admiration of all your friends and family for generations to come) is to attach the seats to the seat brackets.

Simply slide each rolled connector onto the seat bracket keeping the serrations facing down. Do this on each end of each seat and repeat on other side of the table. Bend the brackets so the seats are parallel to the ground (that 45 o angle). Make sure the seats are equadistant from the table and are far enough out so it looks as if there is room for small legs to fit under the table

Congratulations! You've made a nice addition to your gum wrapper outdoor furniture collection, used some otherwise disposable material, and probably spent a good amount of time NOT burning fossil fuels in the process.

(I didn't like the look of the top being two pieces (pictured below). I eventually used one of the foil wrappers that holds the entire 15 pack together for a top. This is a bigger piece that is large enough for the top, is a little thicker and adds more strength/stability to the table).

Until next time - keep wrappering.

Step 9: Use It

Picture of Use It

I just thought I'd add a step to show this isn't just art, it's functional! I'm using the table as a podium to show off one of my other creations (this is titled - Umbrella thingy on a picnic table).

This is probably the upper limit of how much weight it will bear.
The seats would not hold much at all - I'm thinking of adding braces just so they don't sag under their own weight.


Kaiven (author)2008-09-27

Too cool.

gmjhowe (author)2008-04-14

brilliant! just keep them coming, u mite get a gumwrapper medal soon! :)

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