Child's Picnic Table

These wood working plans include:

Detailed drawings showing: Side and end Elevation showing the dimensions of this child's picnic table.

This plan includes a List of Materials: showing a breakdown of materials needed for the project, as well as a list of the tools needed.

The Instructions include the sizes of pieces to cut and how to layout the ends of the child picnic table. Tips are included for cutting identical pieces of wood and cutting the end of a bolt off without damaging the threads. This is a simple plan with instructions for the beginning woodworker.

Drawing of child picnic table.

List of Materials:

  • 10 - 6' 2x4s #2 and better grade cedar, spruce or fir
  • 16 - 1/4" x 3 1/2" galvanized carriage bolts, washers and nuts
  • About 3/4 of a pound of 3" galvanized casing or finish nails
  • 1 - liter or quart of stain or paint

Tools Needed

  • Saw - power or hand
  • Square and straight edge
  • Hammer
  • Drill and 1/4" bit
  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Socket or adjustable wrench


Let's start off with laying out the frame of the child picnic table full size. Use a 4' x 8' sheet of plywood set up on saw horses. Measure up 19 1/2" from the bottom of the plywood in two spots about 3' apart and scribe a straight line across those marks. Make this line roughly in the center of the sheet. Find the center of this line and measure 12 3/8" out each way. Drop a perpendicular (90°) from this center to the bottom of the plywood. From this bottom center measure 17 5/8" out each way, along the bottom of the plywood. Cut a 2x4 about 26 3/4" long. Lay the top of this board on the top line on the plywood. Transfer the marks from the plywood to the face of the 2x4. Cut 4 pieces of 2x4 just under 24" long for the legs. Lay these legs on top of the table support piece and intersect the marks at the bottom of the plywood. Look at the end view drawing. Now mark the length and angles of the legs and the table support piece. When you cut each piece out, copy and cut duplicates for the other side. Of course, all four legs must be the same.

Tip: When cutting identical pieces of boards for opposite ends of a project, place the pattern on the piece to be copied good face against good face. This way both opposite ends will have the best side of the pieces facing out. With the wood we get nowadays, each piece seems to have a good side and a bad side.

Now cut a 2x4 45" long, cutting the ends back toward the center about 25°. This is your seat support piece. Now lay the legs down on the plywood with the table support on the top and the seat support up 11 1/2" from the bottom of the legs to the top of the support piece. Check out the drawings, make sure your legs are flush with the top edge of the table support piece and the ends of the table support are flush with the sides of the legs. The legs should be on the marks of the plywood. Nail these intersecting pieces together. Keep the nails staggered, leaving room to drill holes for the bolts.

Do the same thing for the other side.

Trim 11 of your 2x4's to 36" long or just under. TIP: If you go to a lumber yard or building supply, you can buy 'shorts' which are 6' long that are cheaper by the foot than a 12' 2x4.

Get a helper to hold one frame of the child's picnic table while you place a 2x4 top piece on the other and tack it in place. Consult the drawing again and notice that the top boards overhang the frame by 1 1/2" measured from the outside of the table support and the outside boards overhang the legs by about 3/8". Tack the remaining boards on leaving about an 1/8" between boards. Nail the heads home after you are happy with the spacing.

The two boards for the seat go on next as shown on the drawing. Notice the picnic table is not sturdy endways. Flip the table over carefully onto its top. Cut your 2x4's about 18" long at a 45° angle, as shown on the side view drawing. Nail these pieces to the edge of the underside of the center table top pieces and against the seat support pieces. Flip the table over again. Now it's stable. Don't forget to put the carriage bolts through the table top support and legs and the seat support and the legs. An added feature may be to use acorn nuts on the ends of the carriage bolts to avoid any scrapes on the child's legs.

Tip: Since bolts usually come in increments of 1/2", take a hacksaw and cut the bolt off to the required length for the acorn (cap) nut to fit. To do this easily to avoid messing up the threads, put a regular nut on first, then cut off the necessary thread, then remove the nut, cleaning up the threads as it comes off. Make sure there is a flat washer under the acorn nut.

Let the wood dry out sufficiently before you put on your finish of stain or paint.


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