Kids' Picnic Table




Introduction: Kids' Picnic Table

This is an easy-to-build picnic table sized for kids up to age 6 or so. I tried to keep it a standard size, with easy cuts and a simple structure. This is my first instructable, so suggestions are appreciated!

Step 1: Cut List

It's a short supply list:

8 Cedar 1" x 4" x 8' Deck Boards
75 Deck Screws (1 5/8")
Sandpaper and varnish or stain
Cut two trapezoidal seat supports, with the longer end at 33". Angle the ends at 22.5 degrees.
Cut two trapezoidal tabletop supports, with the longer end at 17". Angle the ends at 22.5 degrees.
Cut two center supports at 25.5" with square ends.
Cut four legs (parallelograms, if you'd like me to continue to be geometrically proper) at 21", again with 22.5 degree angles.
Cut nine 31" pieces for the table top and seats.

Step 2: Top Supports

Choose the best-looking top pieces that look good together and put them face-down on something soft. Align the ends and put the top supports and one of the spacers on as shown. Line everything up, put two screws in each end, then flip it over to attach the top.

Step 3: Top

Center and align the top center board and screw it down to the top support with two evenly-spaced screws at each end. Add the rest of the boards, spaced with nails, or tight against each other. (I made the first 10 or so with spaces, but as they age, I think tight against each other is better.)

Step 4: Legs

Line the legs up so that the outer edge of the leg is right near the bottom corner of the top support board and put four screws in from the inside. You might want to do two legs on a side first, then put one screw in each of the other legs in order to turn the table over and level it before putting in the remaining screws.

Step 5: Seat Supports

This spacing works well for me: with the table upside down, one scrap piece on end, one on its side, and screw the seat supports on. Make sure they're evenly spaced on each side.

Step 6: Lower Spacer

Put in the lower spacer with two screws from each end. I use 3" screws if I have any.

Step 7: Varnish

Put the Seats on to finish up, then sand as fine as you care to.

I'm in the Pacific Northwest, so it takes six coats of Varnish to make it two years, or you can let the table gray naturally. One thought about natural though - without the varnish, ketchup and mustard stains aren't very wipe-able.

Step 8: Accessorize

It's all set for a china tea set.

One warning. As soon as your friends with children see these, you'll be making them for birthdays and Christmas for years.

11 People Made This Project!


  • Water Contest

    Water Contest
  • Tiny Home Contest

    Tiny Home Contest
  • Metalworking Contest

    Metalworking Contest

25 Discussions

Just a tip, if you buy wood from a hardware store, it is more than like sized by the “nominal” size and not the “actual” size. Therefore, using 1-5/8in screws will poke through when screwing on the legs to the top and the seat braces to the legs. I do reccomend the 1-5/8in for everything else, but for those two things I reccomend 1-1/4in.

1" x 4" cedar decking is not available here in Easton, Maryland. Who did you buy from?

I got by with only 6 deck boards, each 8' long.

I made it and it turned out awesome. All the instructions were easy to follow. My girls loved It.


Could you tell me where you got the cedar 1x4's? I have been to Home Depot and Lowes I find the 1x4x8's of cedar but they are not even close to a true 1".

I made it according to plans and it worked perfectly! It is an awesome little table and the kids love it. I am really impressed and plan to build another (I already have 2 boards toward another because like others have said, you only need six 8' boards, not 8) Great project!

Can anyone give me the overall length and width of this table as complete? Thank you!

1 reply

If you follow the plans, the table will be 31" x 33".

how much over hang for the seat supports do you leave for seats. instructions aren't very clear. Also for the table top bracing how far from the edges do you put the bracing, the long side as well the short side.There are no type of measurements for this. Thanks

@kputney, I have a question. You say that the boards are 1x4 but deck boards are almost 5.5 inches wide. I assume you ripped them to width? Thanks

I'm looking to building this table in the next few days, but unless I'm missing something I think it should only take 6 not 8 8 foot boards.

3-31 inch boards per 8 foot board need 9 so there are 3-8 foot boards

2-21 inch boards, 1-25.5 inch board and 1-17 inch board take 1-8 foot board

2-21 inch boards, 1-25.5 inch board and 1-17 inch board take 1-8 foot board

2-33 inch boards out of 1-8 foot board

To me that totals up to 6 not 8, if someone sees what I'm missing let me know!

1 reply

Well a little follow up to my post.

I did make this for grandson this week! I did not have any cedar scraps like the original poster did so I had to purchase materials. Around here the price of cedar was a bit high so taking to guy at lumber yard, nice local place, we decided on using 5/4X4 #2 pine. If you read my first post I had questioned the original poster saying it would take 8 eight foot boards. Well after double and triple checking my figures I bought 6 eight footers. That still left me with enough material and a 39 inch piece of scrap. Then as my wife was worried the little guy would hit his knees on the lower cross brace I eliminated that so another 25 inch piece for future project.

After cutting all pieces used router to round over all edges that were exposed and rounded corners of top and seats. Then I applied two coats of MinXax Spar Polyurethane. Assembled using #8X2 inch deck screws everywhere with the exception of the four screws going into the end grain of the brace under the center board of the top, those were I believe 2 1/2 long to hold better.

After assembling two more coats of the Spar Polyurethane were brushed on and then the final coat was sprayed on to get a better finish. I could have used plain 2X4 lumber to save some money but felt the 5/4X4 gave it better proportions. I did not want to use pressure treated for a couple reasons, first not comfortable with the chemicals used possibly getting into kids food and second not sure I could put a good finish on it without letting it dry for a long time.

Awesome. What a nice quick build it was. Thanks

Thanks for this. It was a fun build.

15, 9:31 AM.jpg

I am making this today (will update) but I've also created a SketchUp model based on these, with some slight modifications. Just in case anyone wants to make their own changes too, and have something to create a set of plans and BOM from.

created a version with some leftover wood. nice instructable! thx!

i made it also for my nephews... excellent gift for easter. thank you for the idea :)

Maybe it's 'mosquito-drilling' but if you had used wood bolts - those with a round top - it would have looked even better. And been more sturdy. But those are details, the kids won't care ;)

2 replies

You're right, Bricobart. This started as a "What should I do with my leftovers" project after building a deck, so the deck screws just stuck as I made more. The screws make it much faster to build, but bolts would look nicer and be stronger.

Step 6 Lower Spacer. I would position the cross member flat on top to avoid touching tall people's shin bones.