Porch Deck and Patio

Porch, Deck + Patio

Outdoor Projects

DIY Picnic Table for Two

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 193 Projects

A picnic table doesn’t have to be a clumsy, uncomfortable family feeding trough. Instead, create a unique picnic table that’s just the right size for two people to enjoy. Portable and lightweight, it can be set in a corner of your garden, beneath a shade tree, or on your deck or patio to enhance outdoor dining experiences.

The generously proportioned tabletop can be set with full table settings for a fancy, multicourse meal in the garden. Or, you can take advantage of the intimacy the table and benches foster by sharing a cool beverage with a special person as you watch the sun set. 

Made with plain dimensional cedar, this picnic table for two is both sturdy and long-lasting. As shown, deck screws and glue complete the fastening work for this project. The deck screws are driven through countersunk pilot holes. For a more refined look, counterbore the pilot holes and fill them with cedar plugs. Sanding all cedar surfaces smooth will contribute to the refined appearance. For a more rustic look, position the rough faces of the cedar face outward on the structural members. The seat boards and tabletop should be smooth.

picnic table chart

picnictable cutting list

How to Build a Picnic Table for Two

  1. yg10a

    Cut the tabletop frame pieces, the table stringers, and the table slats to length. Sand the parts. Draw cutting lines that start 2 1⁄2" from one end of each stringer and connect with a point at the same end, 5⁄8" in from the opposite edge of the board (see main diagram). Cut along the lines with a circular saw to make the cutoffs.

    Fasten the shorter tabletop frame pieces to the sides of the stringers. The tops of the frame pieces should extend 7⁄8" above the tops of the stringers and the ends should be flush. First, drill 1⁄8" pilot holes in the frame pieces. Counterbore the holes 1⁄4" deep using a counterbore bit. Attach the pieces with glue and drive 1 5⁄8" deck screws through the frame pieces and into the stringers.

  2. yg10b

    Position the longer tabletop frame pieces so they overlay the ends of the shorter frame pieces. Fasten them with glue and 1 5⁄8" deck screws to complete the frames. Set the slats inside the frame so the ends of the slats rest on the stringers. Space the slats evenly. Drill two pilot holes through the tabletop frame into the ends of each slat. Counterbore the holes. Drive 1 5⁄8" deck screws through the frame and into the end of each slat, starting with the two end slats.

  3. yg10c

    Cut the table legs and table stretcher to length. Use a compass to draw a 1 1⁄2"-radius roundover curve on the corners of one end of each leg. Cut the curves with a jigsaw. Hold an end of the stretcher against the inside face of one of the table legs, 16" up from the bottom of the leg and centered side to side. Trace the outline of the stretcher onto the leg. Repeat the procedure on the other leg.

    Drill two evenly spaced pilot holes through the stretcher outlines on the legs. Counterbore the holes on the outside faces of the legs. Attach the stretcher with glue and drive 2 1⁄2" deck screws through the legs and into the ends of the stretcher. Turn the tabletop upside down. Apply glue to the table stringers where they will contact the legs. Position the legs in place within the tabletop frame. Attach them by driving 2 1⁄2" deck screws through the legs and into the table stringers.


  4. Cut the bench slats, bench frame pieces, and bench stringers. Cut the ends of the bench stringers in the same way you cut the table stringers, starting 5⁄8" from the top edge and 2" from the ends on the bottom edges. Assemble the frame pieces into two rectangular frames by driving 1 5⁄8" deck screws through the longer frame pieces and into the ends of the shorter pieces.

    Turn the bench frames upside down. Center the bench slats inside them so the outer edges of the slats are flush against the frame. Attach the slats by driving 1 5⁄8" deck screws through the frames and into the ends of the slats. Fasten the stringers inside the frame so the tops of the stringers are flat against the undersides of the slats, 3" from the inside of each frame end. Attach with glue and drive 1 5⁄8" deck screws through the angled ends of the stringers and into the undersides of the slats. Locate the screws far enough away from the ends of the stringers so they don’t stick out through the tops of the slats. The stringers are not attached directly to the bench frames.


  5. yg10d

    Cut the bench legs and bench stretchers to length. With a compass, draw a roundover curve with a 1 1⁄2" radius on the corners of one end of each leg. Cut the roundovers with a jigsaw. Center the tops of the bench legs against the outside faces of the bench stringers.Drill pilot holes in the stringers. Counterbore the holes. Attach the legs to the stringers with glue, and then drive 2 1⁄2" deck screws through the stringers and into the legs.

    Drill pilot holes in the bench legs and counterbore the holes. Glue the bench stretchers and attach them between the legs with 2 1⁄2" deck screws.


  6. yg10e

    Cut the bench legs and bench stretchers to length. With a compass, draw a roundover curve with a 1 1⁄2" radius on the corners of one end of each leg. Cut the roundovers with a jigsaw. Center the tops of the bench legs against the outside faces of the bench stringers.Drill pilot holes in the stringers. Counterbore the holes. Attach the legs to the stringers with glue, and then drive 2 1⁄2" deck screws through the stringers and into the legs.

    Drill pilot holes in the bench legs and counterbore the holes. Glue the bench stretchers and attach them between the legs with 2 1⁄2" deck screws.


  7. Sand or round over all of the sharp edges and then sand all surfaces of the table using up to 150-grit sandpaper. Apply a nontoxic wood sealant.

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