Introduction: Picnic Table Condiment Holder

Picture of Picnic Table Condiment Holder

Keeping your condiments corralled at a cookout is a central concern. This condiment contraption has been around for ages, and here's a new take on this classic design.

This intermediate woodworking project is a great way to get into Summer, and have an awesome retro project that your friends will envy the next time you fire up the grill.

Download the PDF template, or use my CAD drawing to make your own!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

Step 2: Design

Picture of Design

Starting by referencing outdoor picnic tables for dimensions and referencing a CAD model I designed my own table, mixing classic design with functionality.

Starting with a full size table top rectangle in CAD, I scaled it down match the sizing of the condiment container diameter. For the bottles I used:

  • spice shaker diameter = 1.5" (38mm)
  • condiment diameter = 2.5" (64mm)

Once I had the table top configuration I drafted up the picnic table legs, seat supports, seats, and condiment rack. I then arranged them in a flat-pack configuration which could be printed.

PDF template and CAD drawing

Step 3: Print Template

Picture of Print Template

Print out the picnic table condiment holder template on a 11" x 17" (A3) sheet of copier paper. the template down't fit the entire page, so trim the excess white space from the template ends with scissors.

Step 4: Spray and Stick to Wood

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With a spray adhesive stick the template to your 1/4" thick project board.

For this project I used a poplar project board I sanded to a medium-fine finish and was relatively free from warping. The template was cut out on a bandsaw

Step 5: Cut Pieces

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Cut the pieces from the template with a bandsaw, if you don't have one use a coping or other thin blade saw. The cuts should be reasonably straight, but any deflection or rough edges can be sanded later.

You should have: one table top, 4 legs, 2 truss sections, 2 seat supports, 2 seats, 1 bottle shelf, and 1 salt + pepper shelf.

Step 6: Sand Edges

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Use sandpaper to refine any rough edges from cutting.

Step 7: Tabletop Openings

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Using a hole saw sized to match the condiment bottles and seasoning shakers, the tabletop was clamped down and the openings were drilled. If you can't find an exact match to the diameter of the bottles you have go for the closest size larger. Check with your actual bottle and shaker diameters to ensure your table openings are the correct size.

Use sandpaper to remove any rough edges.

Step 8: Glue Table Together

Picture of Glue Table Together

Time to assemble the pieces. Building this mini version of a picnic table is a lot like building a full size table. I started by attaching the legs to the trusses, leaving them clamped for a few hours until the glue dried.

The truss and leg assembly was then glued to the underside of the table. Again, clamps were used to hold the pieces together until the glue had dried.

While portions of the table were drying the salt + pepper shelf can be glued perpendicular to the middle of the bottle shelf.

The seat supports were glued on next, using more clamps. Lastly, the bottle shelf was glued to the seat support and the seats were glued to the ends of the seat supports.

Step 9: Napkin Holder (optional)

Picture of Napkin Holder (optional)

I wanted a napkin holder on my picnic table, because I'm sometimes messy when I eat.

The napkin holder is attached to the outside of the table on the legs and is made from 3mm stiff wire I found at the hardware store. I measured the distance between the legs where they intersected the seat support and drilled an opening to match the diameter of the wire.

Using the measurement taken, I bent the wire into 3 right angles using pliers. The wire was trimmed to length and small feet were bend into each end of the wire to insert into the table sides.

Push the wire feet into the table legs to complete the napkin holder.

Step 10: Finish Wood

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To seal and protect my picnic table I used Danish Oil, a rub on finish that offers a matte and durable finish. Wearing protective gloves, and in a well ventilated area, the oil was rubbed onto the picnic table with a rag and allowed to soak into the wood. Excess oil was wiped clean.

Step 11: Flame On

Picture of Flame On

Load up your cookout condiments and let the good times roll!


tylerops (author)2016-02-14

this is cool

tylerops (author)2016-02-14

this is cool

tylerops (author)2016-02-14

this is cool

tylerops (author)2016-02-14

this is cool

lilchumy (author)2016-01-03

*with you

lilchumy (author)2016-01-03

This is a very cool idea. I run a small etsy shop online in my free time. Would it be ok without if I use your template to make a few of these and sell them at my shop?

Thank you,
Cole Slatcher

Doigts de Fee (author)2015-09-15

I Just love it !
Very nice !!! Thanks !

kayut (author)2015-05-19

It looks like you used 1/4" wood board and not 1/2"

mikeasaurus (author)kayut2015-05-19

Good catch, I fixed the text.

kayut (author)mikeasaurus2015-05-20

Also, i printed the pdf Truss was shorter than the other. Can't wait to show you when I'm done!

glogothetidis (author)2014-11-01

This is the coolest condiment holder ! Great idea and nice work mate. I like it +++

jmitrovic (author)2014-10-19

Great idea. Thank you

domenic3 (author)2014-09-02


simpson8485 (author)2014-08-14

I don't have access to a printer, could anyone give me just the dimensions for the table top and I'll work out the rest, and maybe what angle the legs are? Mucho grasias

BLR_RAVI (author)2014-07-31

very lovely and very creative..any miniature stuff look cute..

GrumpyOldGoat (author)2014-06-29


Any chance of including a set of plans for 8 1/2"X11" paper?

I don't have a printer... or paper, in the 11"X17 size.

Thanks for a great afternoon project!

andymic (author)GrumpyOldGoat2014-07-07

I don't have access to either A3 paper or any printers that size either, but I opened the files in Adobe reader and printed them using the poster option on 4 separate A4 pieces and joined them together. Works just as well :)

seamster (author)2014-06-29

This is great!

Now, who wins in a fight between Rex and Godzilla?

Ricardo Furioso (author)2014-06-29

Great. Thank you for sharing. More!

alpal (author)2014-06-29

My neighbour used to make these in his shed and were one of his best sellers at the market!

OddJob (author)2014-06-29

Cool project! Well instructed and concise and to the point. I like the "options" for those of us that don't have all the tools (like a band saw). One point, would it work to finish the wood before gluing to get all the surfaces that my old, large fingers might not reach? Really nice 'ible!

steinie44 (author)2014-06-29

Nice. I made one from a 10" 2x4

whiskywizard (author)2014-06-27

Excellent instructable, on all levels. Thanks.

clarie91s (author)2014-06-27

So cute!

Fishyfish123 (author)2014-06-26

Hihi! :)

doodlecraft (author)2014-06-26

Aw, totally cute! Simple build too, love it! :)

Gah, it's so cute! I love that you were able to do it without a laser cutter, too :)

bricobart (author)2014-06-26

You forgot the mayonnaise!!! - which is my way to say that 'I like' it ;)

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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