A picnic table is a great outdoor accessory, and building one is a project you can do yourself. With an accurate design, a few tools, and materials, you can have a 6-foot picnic table built and ready in no time. Here is a detailed plan for a 6-foot picnic table with the needed steps, materials, and tools.
- 2 - 2x4 - 8-foot Wood
- 4 - 2x6 - 8-foot Wood
- 4 - 2x6 - 12-foot Wood
- Exterior Wood Glue
- 2 ½ inch Pocket Hole Screws
- 2 ½ inch Deck Screws
- 3-inch Deck Screws
- 16 - 3 ½ inch Carriage Bolts
- 16 - 3 ½ inch Washers
- 16 - 3 ½ inch Nuts
- Wood Saw
- Pivot Square
- Measuring Tape
- Multi Whole Jig
- (A) Battens: 3 - 2×4 - 28 ½ inches (30⁰ angle cut on both ends in opposite directions).
- (B) Tabletop boards: 5 - 2×6 - 72 inches.
- (C) Legs: 4 - 2×6 - 36 inches (30⁰ angle cut on both ends in the same direction).
- (D) Seat supports: 2 - 2×6 - 60 inches (30⁰ angle cuts on both ends in opposite directions).
- (E) Seat boards: 4 - 2×6 - 72 inches.
- (F) Table braces: 2 - 2×4 - 33 ⅝ inches (22.5⁰ angle cuts, both ends in the same direction).
- (G) Seat cleats: 2 - 2×4 - 11 ¼ inches (22.5⁰ angle cut on both ends in opposite directions).
Here is a six-step plan to build a 6-foot picnic table. Following the steps with their added pictures will give you a visual of each step to complete the project without difficulty. If you have the material and tools ready, let's get started.
Step 1: Build Tabletop
The first step to complete is all the cuts needed for the tabletop. The tabletop consists of five 2x6 planks 72 inches long (B) held together with three 2x4 planks 28 ½ inches long called battens (A).
- Take the 2x4 plank and measure 28 ½ inches with the measuring tape and take the square and draw a vertical line across the width.
- Take the pivot square and set it at a 30⁰ angle.
- Place the pivot square on the 28 ½ inches measured line with the 30⁰ angle showing inwards and draw a line across the width.
- Place the pivot square still on a 30⁰ angle inwards on the zero mark at the start of the plank and draw a line across the width.
- Take the wood saw and cut both ends on the 30⁰ line.
- Cut three battens (A) using the same steps.
- Use the drawing below to ensure that the batten (A) is correct.
- Use the multi-whole jig and drill 2 ½ inch pocket holes to secure the battens(A) to the tabletop boards (B). If you are skilled, you can attempt it without the jig, but it is not recommended.
With the three battens (A) done, you must cut the top boards (B) to size.
- Take the measuring tape and measure 72 inches on the 2x6 tabletop board (B).
- Draw a line vertically across the board's width using the pivot square set at a 90⁰ angle.
- Cut five equal-length tabletop boards (B) using the same steps.
After you have your three batten boards and your five tabletop boards cut to size, the next task is to assemble the tabletop.
- Place the five-tabletop boards parallel to each other with a ¼ inch of space between each board. This step is important; you must not place the tabletop boards against each other because wood needs room to expand.
- Take the pivot square set at 90⁰ and check that all four tabletops (B) corners are square and aligned.
- Measure 36 inches on the tabletop boards to find the middle of the tabletop and draw a line across all five boards.
- Put exterior wood glue on the batten board and place it parallel to the middle line so that the thickness of the batten board is evenly spaced over the middle line.
- Secure the batten board to the five tabletop boards with 2 ½ inch pocket hole screws.
- Use the same steps and secure the other two batten boards with glue and screws on the two ends of the tabletop (B).
Step 2: Installing Table Legs
The picnic table's four legs (C) are next and must be cut to size and assembled.
- Take a 2x6 board, measure three feet with the measuring tape, and draw a vertical line with the pivot square to give you the full length of the leg (C).
- Set the pivot square on a 30⁰ angle and draw a line in the same direction on each side.
- Take the wood saw and cut on each line so that leg (C) has a 30⁰ angle going in the same direction.
- Before you cut the legs, confirm that your angles are correct according to the drawing supplied.
- Repeat this step until you have all four legs at the same angle and length.
With the four legs (C) cut, it is time to attach them to the battens. For this part of the assembly, you will need clamps to hold the legs (C) in place and a drill bit for the 3 ½ inch carriage bolts.
- Place the leg (C) against the inside of the batten on the right with the 30⁰ angle flush with the table.
- The leg (C) must angle outward and align with the battens inner angle corner.
- To ensure that you have the leg correctly placed, refer to the drawing for assistance.
- Once the leg is correctly placed, take the clamp and secure the leg (C) to the batten.
- Drill a hole on each corner through the leg (C) and the batten (A) batten (A) for the 3 ½ inch carriage bolts.
- Remove the clamp and the leg (C) and place exterior wood glue between the leg (C) and the batten (A).
- Place the leg (C) back against the batten (A) and align the two holes.
- Put 3 ½ inch carriage bolts through the holes, and secure them with a washer and a nut.
- Continue with the other three legs (C) on each corner using the same steps.
- The measurement between the far ends of the legs (C) on each side must be 4 feet 4 inches.
Step 3: Install Seat Supports
The seat supports (D) are two 2x6 boards that hold the legs from flaring open and simultaneously support the seat (E).
- Measure 60 inches on the 2x6 board and draw a vertical line using the pivot square.
- Set the pivot square to a 30⁰ angle.
- Place the square on the 60-inch measured line and draw a 30⁰ angle on both ends in the opposite direction.
- With the wood saw, cut both angles and repeat these steps for the other seat support (D).
- Measure vertically from the bottom of the legs (C) 1 foot 6 inches and draw a horizontal line through both legs (C) on one side.
- Place the seat support (D) top edge on the horizontal line with the 30⁰ angles showing inwards.
- Take two clamps and hold the seat support (D) in place. Ensure that the seat support (D) is evenly spaced on each side of the legs (C).
- Drill two holes through the seat support (D) and the leg (C) for the 3 ½ inch carriage bolts.
- Remove the clamps and put exterior wood glue where the seat support (D) connects with the legs (C), align the holes, and secure it with the 3 ½ inch carriage bolts, washers, and nuts.
- Repeat the same steps to assemble the seat support (D) on the other side.
Step 4: Install Seats
With the legs (C) and seat supports (D) secured, the picnic table can stand on its legs to continue the assembly process.
- Measure 72 inches on a 2x6 board and draw a vertical line with the pivot square.
- Cut the board on the measured line with a wood saw and repeat this step until you have four seats (E) boards.
- Put exterior glue on the seat support (D) where seat (E) rests.
- Place two seat boards (E) on one side with a ¼ inch gap between the two-seat (E) bords. And secure it in place with clamps.
- The two seats (E) should overlap the seat support (D) with the same length as the tabletop boards (B).
- Take pocket hole screws and secure the seat boards (E) from the seat supports (D) into the seat boards (E).
- Repeat this procedure on the other side to complete both seats (E).
Step 5: Install Table Braces
The table brace (F) functions to stabilize and strengthen the table, and it is secured in the middle of the picnic table between the batten (A) and the seat support (D)
- Take a 2x4, measure 33 ⅝ inches, and draw a vertical line with the pivot square.
- Set the pivot square at a 22.5⁰ angle and draw a line on each end of the table brace (F) board in the same direction.
- Take the wood saw and cut the 2x4 where you measured it for the table brace (F).
- Use the drawing supplied to ensure that your angled cut is correct.
- If you completed one table brace (F), cut another one because you will need two boards for the picnic table.
With both table braces (F) cut in the correct length and angle, you can continue to fit them to the table.
- Take the multi-hole jig and pre-drill holes before you attach the table braces (F).
- One end of the table brace (F) attaches to the center middle batten (A) against the tabletop (B), and the other end is in the center of the seat support (D) in line with its top edge.
- Put exterior wood glue on each end of the table brace (F) and set it in its correct place.
- Use the drawing example to ensure you have the right table brace (F) positioning.
- Secure the table brace (F) to the seat support (D) and batten with 3-inch deck screws.
Step 6: Install Seat Cleats
The seat cleats (G) are a critical part of the picnic table because it strengthens the seating area that takes the most weight.
- Take a 2x4, measure 11 ¼ inches, and draw a line with the pivot square.
- Set the pivot square to 22.5⁰ and measure the angle on both ends of the seat cleat (G).
- Unlike the other board you cut at an angle, the seat cleat (G) is cut on the 2 inch thickness portion of the board.
- Take a wood saw and cut on the measured lines.
- Place the seat cleat (G) in the middle of the seat (E) so that it functions as a support for both seat boards (E) and clamp it into position.
- Pre-drill the holes so that the 2 ½ inch deck screw attaches to each seat board (E).
- Loosen the clamp, put exterior glue on the seat cleat (G), and fasten it with 2 ½ inch screws where you drilled the pilot holes.
- With one seat cleat (G) attached, continue to the other side and repeat the step.
With the picnic table assembled, take sandpaper and smooth out rough edges and sharp corners. Sand the whole picnic table if needed to ensure that there are not any splinters. The picnic table is complete; you can decide whether to stain or paint it to protect it.