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Want to add some farmhouse charm to your outdoor space? Learn how to build a picnic table with benches for under $150.

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How to Build a Picnic Table
How to Build a Picnic Table

Fall is here! With the holidays are coming up, extra seating is a must at our house. And with the beautiful fall weather, having dinner on the patio or deck is one of our favorite things to do. Today, I’d love to show you how easy it was to make this Farmhouse Picnic Table that will add tons of additional seating. Plus it will look amazing on your deck, patio or even on the grass. The total cost for this project was about $150, which isn’t too bad for a huge table with seating for eight.

So let’s get started.

For this project, you will need:

How to Build a Farmhouse Picnic Table
  • exterior screws (1 ¼ inch & 2 ½ inches)
  • 4 inch TimberLok screws (black)
  • (11) 2x6x8 boards
  • (2) 2x12x8 boards
  • (1) 2x10x8 board
  • tape measurer
  • table saw
  • jigsaw
  • circular saw
  • wood glue
  • chisel
  • drill
  • hand sander & sandpaper
  • wood stain/polyurethane combo in Classic Black
  • rag
  • plastic gloves
  • drop cloth
  • painters tape
  • white outdoor paint
  • roller paint brush
  • vinyl numbers or number stencils (optional)

*Remember to use caution, eye & hand protection & extreme care when using power tools.

Step one: Build the table top.

This table can be customized to how big or small you’d like to make it. All you need to do is adjust the measurements.

I wanted a 6-foot table to fit my space, so for the top, I cut six 2x6s to 6 feet long and laid them out on the ground to see what it would look like.

TIP: Be extremely careful when picking out your lumber for this project. You don’t want any warped boards, huge knots or board with splits. We dug through a lot of lumber looking for the best pieces of lumber to use. Be picky! Also, sand all your wood pieces before assembling. Pay special attention to the top of your table & top of your benches. You’ll want everything nice & smooth.

Step two: Stain your table top.

I learned with my farmhouse bench, that staining the top first before you put it all together is the way to go. So I stained each of my boards separately. When I stain, I like to use an old rag and rub the stain into my board that way. I used two coats of stains for my boards, letting it dry 6 hours between coats.

TIP: Be sure to use rubber gloves!

Step three: Make your table legs.

While you are waiting on the stain to dry, you can start on the legs. The legs are the only tricky part of this whole project. But don’t worry, you can do it! The legs are made out of a 2×6 cut to 31 ½ inches long. You’ll need four of these

The legs are made out of a 2×6 cut to 31 ½ inches long. You’ll need four of these cut out. On the ends of your boards, you will need to cut them all to a 32° angle. Lay your boards across each other & mark where they overlap with a pencil.

Use a hand saw to cut shallow grooves and a chisel to remove the wood. Essentially, you will cut out two spots that will allow the leg pieces to fit together perfectly.

Then glue the legs together with some wood glue. Once that dries, the bond will be permanent.


Step four: Attach your table braces.

Next you will make three table braces. Two will go on each end. To make these two, we cut a 2×6 in half and then trimmed them to 32 inches long. We angled the ends to 32° angles just to be fancy. The middle brace piece was just a 2×6 cut to 32 inches long with angled ends. Lay your tabletop on the ground, have someone hold the boards together securely (that was my job!), & then have the other person (my hubby) attach the braces with a drill & wood screws. Attach the two end braces first, then attach your middle brace. TIP: We had to predrill holes & use a drill bit extended to get the screws into the table top for the two end pieces. FYI: We used two screws per tabletop slat.

The middle brace piece was just a 2×6 cut to 32 inches long with angled ends. Lay your tabletop on the ground, have someone hold the boards together securely (that was my job), and then have the other person (my hubby) attach the braces with a drill & wood screws.

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Attach the two end braces first, then attach your middle brace.

TIP: We had to predrill holes and use a drill bit extender to get the screws into the table top for the two end pieces. We used two screws per tabletop slat.

Step five: Attach your table legs.

To attach the legs, we screwed them into the table braces on either end with wood screws.

TIP: I didn’t stain both sides of my tabletop boards. The underneath part I just painted white to match the legs later on. That’s why it looks a little bit messy in these pictures. You could stain the underneath if you wanted to. It’s totally up to you! I also ended up staining my middle brace piece as well, so it would blend in with the tabletop.

Step six: Attach your long brace piece.

This brace piece (that runs between the two leg pieces) is a 2×6 cut to 5 feet in length. Place as close to the middle of the X as you can & screw in using the 4 inch TimberLok screws. This is a two-person job as well. Have one person hold the board up while the other person screws it in with a drill.

TIP: I used these special TimberLok screws because you would be able to see the screws once the table was finished. They have a decorative black head, & I wanted that look. It’s prettier than a plain old screw, too.

Flip your table over and there you go: It’s looking good already!


Step seven: Make your benches.

How to build a picnic table

For the legs of our bench, we used a 2×10 cut to 16 ½ inches. You’ll need 4 of these cut out.

TIP: To make it a little fancier, cut a half circle out of the bottom with a jigsaw.

For the bench seat, we used a 2×12 cut to 6 feet long. You’ll need two of these cut. Then the two braces (one for each bench) are made out of a 2×6 cut to 5 feet long pieces.

First, screw in your legs on both ends. We screwed them in at an angle from the inside so no screw holes would be visible when we were done. Then we attached the brace the same way we did for the table using the 4 inch TimberLok screws.

TIP: Use a scrap piece of 2×6 to hold your board in place as your screw it in. This makes it easy to attach it in in the same exact spot on both sides. We also used scrap pieces of lumber to hold our bench off the ground as we were working so our bench top wouldn’t get scratched up. We didn’t want all that sanding we did to go to waste.

Flip it over and you’ve got a bench. Repeat all the steps for the other bench.


Step eight: Paint your table legs & benches.

I chose to paint my benches and table legs white. You could stain the whole table or paint the whole table. Whatever your heart desires. Since it is going to be outside, make sure you do one or the othe so that your table is protected.

TIP: Make sure your stain and/or paint is for exterior use.

Step nine: Add numbers to the benches. (optional)

How to Build a Farmhouse Picnic Table

One of the hallmarks of farmhouse style is numbers, so I decided to add black vinyl numbers to both benches ~ 1-2-3-4 on one & 5-6-7-8 on the other. I cut my own vinyl using a digital craft cutter using the Another Typewriter font. My text size was 628.

You could also use stencils and black paint to do this as well, or you can also order vinyl lettering online. I really love how the black numbers tie into the tabletop and the exposed black screws.

Let me know if you have any questions. I hope I inspired you to tackle a new project for your home!

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About the Author

Ginger Bowie

Ginger Bowie is the blogger behind Ginger Snap Crafts. Ginger loves sharing her crafty ideas, latest DIY projects, yummy recipes, organization tips, kids crafts and more with her readers. Ginger is the wife to one amazing guy & mom to 5 wild & crazy kiddos that range in age from 6 to 19. Her family loves calling Northwest Arkansas home. She has a crazy & busy life, and she wouldn’t change a thing. Ginger Snap Crafts is a place that she hopes inspires others to create along with her! If she can do it, she knows you can, too!

  • Skywalker

    Hi Ginger, I know it’s been a while since you posted this but I have a question. Have you had any wood movement or warping of the table top since you made this? The boards don’t have any expansion gaps so how has this coped over the last year?

    • Ginger Bowie

      Hi there! Thanks for your question. 🙂 I’ve had this table out on our uncovered patio for almost a year now. Only one board has a very slight warp….you can’t really tell unless you look from the side. It’s one of the middle boards. So overall it has held up really well. The boards do have a little wiggle room, so if there has been any movement they’ve done fine. I’ve had a tiny bit of cracking on some of the table top boards. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I never sealed the boards. I just stained them which isn’t the best idea if they are going to be exposed to the weather 24/7. So I probably should do that soon or just paint the table top black with outdoor paint! 😉 The benches and everything else that is painted with the outdoor paint have held up really well. They still look brand new. Hope that helps! 🙂

      • Skywalker

        Thanks so much for the prompt reply. I’m pretty keen on replicating what you’ve done but seeing that I live in not-so-sunny England, I’m worried that leaving it outside is going to warp it all kinds of ways. I’m not sure what the weather is like in Arkansas but over here it rains more often than not, especially during winter. Humidity swings will be significant so I’m wondering whether I should put gaps in between the boards, something that I don’t want or like, but may have to if I want it to last more than a year.

        Also, the reason for the benches doing better than the table top could be because you used only two pieces of wood for the bench top which can expand sideways and are not growing into each other.

        • Ginger Bowie

          If I were you, I’d think about using treated lumber. That would hold up much better in the rain & you wouldn’t have to worry as much about swelling. It does rain here in Arkansas, but not near as much as England! I worry more about the snow & ice here. Last winter wasn’t too bad though! Good luck with your project! 🙂

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