Build a simple DIY kids picnic table using just 2x4s.
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It’s time for another At Home DIY challenge – this month is all about projects you can do with 2x4s! I was originally going to build a basic workbench, but I accidentally published the post too early … yep … smooth move, I know. So I had to come up with a new 2×4 project.
It worked out for the best though. You need a sheet of particleboard for the workbench, so it’s not exactly a straight-2x4s project. But this simple kid’s picnic table IS! Just grab yo’self a pile of 2x4s and you’re ready to go. Plus, your kids will love it!
Assembling this picnic table is kinda a bear. I did my best to explain it in the plans, but I recommend checking out the video as well. It’s just a quick time-lapse, but it at least gives you some sort of an idea of how it went together. If you come up with a better way, by all means – go for it!
Enjoy the plans!
Tools & Supplies:
- Miter Saw
- Orbital Sander
- Tape Measure
- Exterior Wood Glue
- Exterior Spar Urethane (It’s cheaper at Home Depot than Amazon, but that’s what it looks like)
- 2 1/2” Screws – Exterior Grade
- Speed Square
- Safety Glasses
- Ear Protection
- 8 | 2 x 4 @ 8′
- 4 | 2 x 4 @ 21″ cut at 30 degree parallel miter (legs)
- 2 | 2 x 4 @ 19 1/2″ (top leg supports) **see cut diagram**
- 2 | 2 x 4 @ 40 1/2″ (seat supports) **see cut diagram**
- 9 | 2 x 4 @ 32″ (seat slats and tabletop)
- 2 | 2 x 4 @ 16″ (truss supports) **see cut diagram**
Leg and Seat Supports:
Cut the leg supports (top board in the diagram) to 19 1/2″. Mark 1 1/2″ down from the top of the board and 1 1/2″ in from the end of the board along the bottom. Draw a line between both marks, align your saw with the angle, and cut. Repeat for the other side.
Repeat the same process for the seat supports (bottom board in the diagram).
If you watch the video, you may notice that I cut the leg and seat supports a little differently than shown. I cut the ends off at an angle from the top corner back 1 1/2″, rather than starting the cut 1 1/2″ down and then cutting back. The issue is then there wasn’t enough room to drive screws through the outside tabletop and seat boards, so I had to improvise. I recommend cutting the supports as shown above to avoid that issue.
Cut the truss supports as shown in the diagram. Make sure to write the angles on the sides so you know which way they attach to the table. The 48 degree end goes against the bottom of the tabletop. The 41 degree end goes against the inside of the seat supports.
I sanded all the boards separately before assembly, as well as the whole table after assembly. There are a lot of corners and angles that are pretty impossible to reach once it’s all together. Since this is for the kiddos, I recommend sanding everything really well – don’t want any splinter catastrophes!
Now on onto assembly:
Once you finish all the cuts, assemble the legs of the table as shown with wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws.
Drive screws through the back of the supports into the legs to hide them on the inside of the table.
Build two sets of legs.
Connect both sets of legs with the seat slats.
Place the inner seat slat flush against the legs and space the outer seat slat 1/2″ apart.
Attach the seat slats with wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws through the slats into the seat supports.
Make sure the legs are square and standing perfectly vertical. Attach the tabletop boards with wood glue and 2 1/2″ screws.
Drive the screws through the top of the boards into the leg supports.
There should be a 2 1/2″ overhang from the leg supports on either end of the tabletop (ignore the missing pieces in the diagram below – I hid the seats so you can see the tabletop measurement).
Flip the table upside down and attach the center truss supports.
The 48 degree end goes against the bottom of the tabletop. The 41 degree end goes against the inside of the seat supports.
When you put the truss supports in place, they’ll space each other correctly. Just make sure both ends are flush against the tabletop or seat support and they meet in the middle.
I used wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws to attach the truss pieces. I drove the screws directly through the angled ends into the tabletop and seat supports.
Countersink all the screws so they don’t stick up and get it the way (or at least drive them until they’re flush with the boards).
Hit it one more time with the sander, and then finish as desired! I left it the natural pine color and simply sealed it with Exterior Spar Urethane.
Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Don’t forget to check out the rest of the 2×4 DIY ideas: