Introduction: Bicycle Picnic Box

About: Dutch guy who likes to DIY and, off course, bicycles!

Recently I moved from The Netherlands to Austria (No kangaroos). Since cycling is such a big part of my life I did not realise how fortunate the Dutch people actually are with there cycling infrastructure. It took me a while to get used to the Austrian infrastructure. Lets say its something else. But I was determined and kept using my bike for all kinds of transportations that are really strange for Austrians/non Dutch people. It did not take long to get the 'crazy Dutch guy with his bicycle' label. People around me are getting used to the fact that you can go to IKEA with your bicycle. :) The bicycle culture is a bit 'hipster' and that's probably why someone pointed me to the Bicycle Picnic Box. She found it on Instagram and told me that it would fit me and my bike. At first I didn't think much of it but the idea stuck and after some research I came to the conclusion; I can make that! I found some Instructables but they did not fit all my needs. For example, I wanted to be removable without tools because I don't want it to take with me everyday. Then decided to make my own and first Instructable. I hope you enjoy it! :)

Step 1: Get a Bicycle!

Bicycles come in all different shapes and sizes. I took mine with me when I moved to Austria. It’s my everyday bicycle next to mine mountain bike with I use for, you guess it, going in the mountains. I have my Gazelle for some years now but did not know much about it. While writing this Instructable I discovered that it is built in '68. Nice detail for a bicycle that I use every day :)

You can pick whatever bicycle you like as long there is space for the picnic box. Personally I think a bicycle you ride upright are the best suited for the picnic box. You will go to a picnic to relax. There is no need to race there so it might be good to adapt to this relaxed (Dutch way) of cycling.

Take in consideration the limitations your bicycle might have such as braking lines or the bike pump holders in my case (Step 4) Once you made the decision stick with that bicycle. Unless you have an identical one it is unlikely that it will fit on another bicycle. A man's framed bike is probably easier to work with than a woman's frame due to the extra bar in the frame.

Step 2: Materials

The main materials I used where plywood and pine timber. The full list can be found below. The total amount I spend on the materials was around 30 Euro. (excluding screws, wood glue, sandpaper, etc)

  • Plywood 1200x600 mm
  • pine timber (24mm x 44mm x 2000mm) (x2)
  • pine trim (5mm x 38mm x 900 mm)
  • pine trim (5mm x 5mm x 900mm)
  • slide barrel bolt (x2)
  • Hinge (x2)
  • Paint (optional)
  • Chain (0.7m)
  • Velcro
  • Hooks
  • Screws (different sizes)

Step 3: Tools

Because I am still a student at the moment and my dorm is quite small I don't have the space and money for a lot of tools. The tools I used are quite basic and most people will have them laying around. It has some limitations but If I can make something like this its likely everyone can.

Tool list:

    • (cordless) drill - recommended to prevent splitting
    • dremel or hacksaw
    • clamps
    • handsaw
    • fretsaw
    • chisel
    • screwdriver (or drill)
    • stapler
    • sandpaper
    • Paper (wrapping paper or just A4's attached to each other)

    Step 4: Size and Dimensions

    The size and dimensions will be different for any bicycle you will design this for so you will need to take your own measurements. I tried to take my own but I disconcert it was quite hard to find the right dimensions, especially the angles. A small deviation can make a big difference so I decided to draw the frame instead. I had some big pieces of paper lying around and taped them to my bicycle. I cut it to size and started drew the inside of my frame. After most of the drawing was done I took it off and straightened the lines with a straight piece of cardboard. Now I had the perfect template to take my measurements from and get the angles right!

    Cycling comfort

    To determine the width of the box I took a box that I had laying around. You could also pick some cardboard and attach it to the upper frame tube your bicycle (if you have one). This is important because you should be able to ride your bike when you finish your project. You will probably lose a bit of comfort riding your bicycle but since you are not likely to use it daily and won't need high speeds to go to your picnic this should be fine. Nevertheless, it’s something to note. Take your bicycle for a spin with the cardboard in place and see if you like it. Take some time to see if you really like it because when you pay attention to the cardboard you are likely to ride in a 'special' way. you should be able to ride it without paying too much attention so you can use the attention for other traffic. When your box is finished it will be hard/impossible to make any changes to the size of the box.

    Step 5: Frame

    When I got all the measurements it was time to start building. I started with the frame. I cut the pine timber to size and glued them together. Because I did not have any claps that could hold these angles I decided to screw them together as well. before gluing I pre drilled the holes and tested the frame with only the screws in place. The frame fitted together nicely and fitted in the frame of my bicycle. I removed the screws, added the glue and put it back together. the screws now act like a clamp. To prevent the screws from interfering with the outer layer I used a countersink.

    Space for the pedals

    When the box is wider than the space between your pedals you will have to make some space for them. You could either remove the hole area that could interfere with the pedals or you narrow the specific area. The first option will be a lot quicker and easier to build.

    I chose for the last option because it would give me more space in the box and will look nicer. I also cut one of the frames on the bottom to make space for the chain and replaced some of the structure with another piece of timber. as shown in the picture.

    Step 6: Sides

    The sides where pretty straight forward but i wanted to make sure everything would fit. I took some cardboard of the dimensions I was looking for and used a stapler to temporarily secure the frame and make some test fittings. everything worked out fine so now it was time for the plywood.

    First I made the pieces that go around the frame. I used the dimensions from the cardboard test in the beginning of the Instructable. In my case I had a width of 10cm + 2x4mm for the sides.

    Next I placed the frame with the added sides on the plywood and used it as a guide to drew it on the plywood. For the space for the paddles I had to make some extra pieces of plywood. It was hard to determine the arc of the paddles so I used a plate for the arc and made sure it would fit before gluing it in place. I either used weight or clamps to keep everything together while the glue was drying.

    Step 7: Door/Table


    I made the door/table from the same plywood as the sides with some extra support at the hinges. I placed the hinges on the underlying wooden frame so I could screw them in bottom side. The side of the door/table only had 4mm of plywood witch I thought was not enough to hold the hinges. therefore, I glued some extra wood in place to have some space to secure the screws of the door. The screws I used for this part where only 1.6 cm long but still too long. I cut them of using the dremel. because It was only possible to have 2 screws in the bottom part I glued 'fake' screws in place to hide the holes.

    Slide barrel bolts

    To close the door/table I used two slide barrel bolts. I placed them on top of the door and placed in such a way that the bolt will lock itself in place using gravity. because the slide barrel bolts don't have to carry any weight and had more points to attach it I did not use any extra wood to support the screws. I cut the excess of the screws with the dremel.


    To hold the door at a 90 degree angle I used a chain because it looks better than a piece of rope but I am sure it will work just as fine! I used some small hooks to hold the chain. In the frame I used closed loops. In the door/table I used open hooks so I can change the angle depending on the surface the bicycle is standing on. After placing the hooks in the door I discovered that it could not close any more because they were running in the frame. I solved this problem by removing some wood in the frame.

    Step 8: Attatchment to the Bicycle

    To attach the box to the frame I used Velcro. The reason I chose this material is that I wanted the box it to be removable. Although I really like the box I don't want to take it with me on all my daily trips. it is taking a way some cycling comfort, adds weight and I don't picnic everyday unfortunately. I took the Velcro from some IKEA mattress holders that I saved because you never know where they could come in hand!

    Picture off the straps: IKEA Straps

    I removed the Velcro from the straps using a small knife to cut the stitching. After removing them I stitched the pieces together with a 2 centimetre overlap. I cut it to size so it can go around the frame of the bike and overlap the entire area for maximum support. I made two straps for the upper side and one for the front and one for the backside. The hold is very strong and can support a fully loaded box. The straps where used for holding a rolled mattress together in the first place.

    In the box itself I cut slits with a router bit and the Dremel. The piece of the Velcro that is stitched together is placed inside the box and the other pieces stick out on each side and fold around the frame to keep the box in place. I did not attach them to the frame because the fit is too tight and it would not be possible to get it in the bicycle.

    Step 9: Interior


    For the straps I used Velcro. I could only find adhesive Velcro so I bought a ribbon to stick to the adhesive side. The Velcro was a bit wider than the ribbon so I cut it to size. I used a screw and ring to attach the straps to the box. Make sure they are long enough to go around the bottle or other stuff you want to carry. The more they overlap the stronger the hold. It could easily carry my 1 litre glass bottle with I guess is around 1.5 / 2 kg. (regular street bumps and holes included)


    Because the space on the bottom of the box has a lot of different sizes I decided to cover it up and use it an extra space to store small things like shot glasses, mini pallets and/or battery powered LED string. I made it from piece of plywood and some decorating wood of 5x5mm. I also added some self-adhesive Velcro to it. I cut the decorative wood to size and glued it to the side just below the door so it would level out when the plywood in in place. It keeps itself in place due to the form if the frame but nevertheless I used the Velcro to the bottom just to be safe. The top has some Velcro to it to keep the glass holders in place. It was self-adhesive but it did not stick that well to the wood. I used thumb tacks to keep it down and bend them on the other side with a hammer. not very pretty but it works! ;)

    Glass holders:

    The glass holders I made from a nylon band that came with a IKEA Mattress. I measured the size of the glasses around three-quarters from the bottom. This is because my glasses are slightly pylon shaped and therefore can be hanged in the bands. I made the band 2 centimetres longer so they had overlap and could be sewed together. By heating the ends with the lighter I prevented the nylon band from falling apart. Because my glasses are slightly pylon shaped they can be hold in place by an elastic band.

    Step 10: Finishing Touch

    I sanded all the edges to a more or less 45 degrees' angle. This to prevent sharp edges and improve the looks.


    The wooden box looks very nice by itself but I decided to give it an extra personal touch by painting it. for this project I chose black IKEA Behandla (wood glazing paint). It comes in a can of 375ml (12.67 fl.oz) and should be enough for 6m2 (65ft2). It comes in a range of colours: from plane and black to bright orange and blue. The great thing is that it only costs 4 Euro! The more layers you paint the darker the final colour. in this case I used 1 layer so you can still see the texture of the wood and it will be a different colour then the one of my bicycle. I finished everything with a matt lacquer from a spray can witch costed 7 Euro. I did not use it all so technically it was less but I will give the full prices. If you have some paint laying around the paint job could be free!


    To finish of the project I made the Gazelle logo from some leftover plywood. I printed it out and glued the logo on the wood with paper glue. (Pritt stick) I used the fretsaw to cut it out the logo. To remove the paper from the cut out logo I laid it down on a wet towel. After a minute you should be able to remove the paper and glue. I used the towel to remove the glue and let it dry. finally, I gave it a sand and matt lacquer finish. I used wood glue to attach it to the box.

    Step 11: Enjoy!

    I hoped you enjoyed my Instrucatble! When the weather will be better I will make and add some pictures of the bicycle and picnic box in the final colours. Feel free to leave some feedback or a comment and if you really liked it please vote for me! :)

    Bicycle Contest 2016

    Grand Prize in the
    Bicycle Contest 2016

    First Time Author Contest 2016

    Participated in the
    First Time Author Contest 2016