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How To Make A Low Picnic Table


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Abigale Nutter





Are you ready to elevate your outdoor dining experience with a unique and practical addition to your backyard or patio? Building a low picnic table can be a rewarding and enjoyable DIY project that offers a perfect spot for relaxed gatherings, board games, or simply enjoying a meal al fresco. This low-slung table design is not only stylish and functional but also provides a casual and inviting atmosphere for socializing.


Creating your own low picnic table allows you to customize the dimensions, materials, and finishing to suit your personal preferences and outdoor space. Whether you're a seasoned woodworking enthusiast or a novice looking for a fun and manageable project, crafting a low picnic table can be a fulfilling endeavor that adds a touch of charm to your outdoor living area.


In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of constructing a low picnic table, from gathering the necessary materials and tools to the final sanding and finishing touches. With a little creativity, some basic carpentry skills, and a can-do attitude, you'll soon have a stunning low picnic table that's perfect for hosting gatherings or simply unwinding in the great outdoors. So, roll up your sleeves, gather your supplies, and let's dive into the gratifying world of DIY woodworking as we embark on this exciting project together.


Materials and Tools

Before embarking on your low picnic table construction journey, it’s essential to gather all the necessary materials and tools to ensure a smooth and efficient building process. Here’s a comprehensive list of what you’ll need:



  • Pressure-treated lumber or cedar: Select high-quality wood that can withstand outdoor conditions and resist decay.
  • Wood screws: Opt for corrosion-resistant screws suitable for outdoor use.
  • Wood glue: Choose a weatherproof wood adhesive for added strength.
  • Wood stain or outdoor sealant: Protect your picnic table from the elements with a durable finish.
  • Sandpaper: Ensure a smooth and splinter-free surface with varying grits of sandpaper.
  • Wood filler: Perfect for filling in small gaps and imperfections in the wood.



  • Measuring tape and pencil: Essential for marking and measuring wood for accurate cuts.
  • Circular saw or miter saw: Ideal for making precise and clean cuts on the lumber.
  • Drill/driver: Necessary for driving screws and pre-drilling holes for a secure assembly.
  • Sanding block or orbital sander: Makes the sanding process more efficient and effective.
  • Clamps: Useful for holding wood pieces together during assembly and gluing.
  • Safety goggles and ear protection: Ensure safety during cutting and sanding processes.


By ensuring you have all the required materials and tools at your disposal, you can streamline the construction process and minimize interruptions. With everything in place, you’ll be ready to dive into the exciting world of woodworking and bring your low picnic table to life.


Step 1: Cutting the Wood

With your materials and tools assembled, it’s time to commence the construction of your low picnic table. The initial step involves cutting the wood to the appropriate dimensions, ensuring precision and accuracy for a sturdy and visually appealing final product.


Begin by measuring and marking the lumber according to your desired table dimensions. A measuring tape and pencil will be your best allies in this phase, allowing you to outline the cuts with precision. Whether you opt for pressure-treated lumber or cedar, ensure that the wood is of high quality and free from defects to guarantee a durable and long-lasting picnic table.


Once the wood is marked, utilize a circular saw or miter saw to make clean and accurate cuts along the measured lines. Take your time to ensure that each cut is straight and smooth, as precise cuts are pivotal in achieving a professional-looking end result. Whether you’re cutting the tabletop, bench seats, or frame components, attention to detail during this phase will significantly impact the overall quality of your low picnic table.


If you’re new to woodworking, consider practicing your cuts on scrap wood to familiarize yourself with the tools and techniques before working on the actual picnic table components. This preparatory step can boost your confidence and result in more refined cuts when working on the final pieces.


Remember, safety should always be a priority when operating power tools. Be sure to wear appropriate safety goggles and follow all safety guidelines recommended for the tools you’re using. With the wood cut to size, you’re now ready to progress to the next exciting phase of assembling the frame of your low picnic table.


Step 2: Assembling the Frame

With the wood cut to the desired dimensions, it’s time to move on to the assembly phase, where the individual components will come together to form the sturdy frame of your low picnic table. This step is crucial in ensuring the structural integrity and stability of the table, providing a solid foundation for the tabletop and bench seats.


Begin by laying out the cut pieces for the frame, including the table supports, cross braces, and bench seat supports. Utilize clamps to hold the pieces in place during assembly, ensuring that the components are aligned correctly before driving in wood screws. Pre-drilling pilot holes can help prevent the wood from splitting and make the screw insertion process smoother.


Wood glue can also be used in conjunction with screws to reinforce the joints, adding an extra layer of strength to the frame. Apply a thin, even layer of wood glue to the mating surfaces before securing the pieces together with screws. This combination of glue and screws creates a robust bond, enhancing the overall stability of the frame.


As you progress with the assembly, periodically check for squareness and alignment to guarantee that the frame is coming together accurately. A square frame is essential for ensuring that the tabletop and bench seats will fit seamlessly and securely onto the assembled base.


During this phase, attention to detail is paramount, as any misalignments or inaccuracies in the frame assembly can lead to issues during the later stages of the construction process. Take your time to ensure that the frame components are securely joined and that the entire structure is stable and level.


By the end of this step, you should have a robust and well-constructed frame that forms the foundation of your low picnic table. The next phase will involve attaching the legs to the frame, bringing your table one step closer to completion.


Step 3: Attaching the Legs

As you progress with the construction of your low picnic table, the next crucial step involves attaching the legs to the assembled frame. The legs play a pivotal role in providing stability and support to the table, ensuring that it can withstand the rigors of outdoor use while accommodating gatherings and activities.


Begin by positioning the legs at the corners of the frame, ensuring that they are flush with the outer edges and perpendicular to the ground. Clamps can once again be utilized to hold the legs in place during the attachment process, facilitating a secure and precise assembly.


Pre-drill pilot holes through the legs and into the frame to prevent splitting and facilitate the insertion of wood screws. This preparatory step is essential for creating a strong and durable connection between the legs and the frame. Once the pilot holes are in place, drive wood screws through the legs and into the frame, securing them tightly to ensure a stable and wobble-free foundation for your low picnic table.


When attaching the legs, it’s important to verify that they are of equal length and that the table remains level. A spirit level can be used to confirm that the table surface is flat and even, providing a comfortable and balanced platform for dining and socializing.


With the legs firmly attached, take a moment to inspect the table for stability and structural integrity. Gently test the table for any wobbling or unevenness, making any necessary adjustments to ensure that it stands securely on various outdoor surfaces.


Upon completing this step, your low picnic table will have taken a significant leap towards its final form, with a sturdy frame and securely attached legs ready to support the subsequent addition of the tabletop and bench seats. The next phase will involve incorporating the tabletop, bringing you closer to the completion of this exciting woodworking project.


Step 4: Adding the Tabletop

As you approach the final stages of constructing your low picnic table, the addition of the tabletop marks a pivotal moment in the project. The tabletop not only serves as the primary surface for dining and gathering but also contributes significantly to the visual appeal of the table as a whole.


Begin by carefully positioning the tabletop on the assembled frame, ensuring that it overhangs evenly on all sides for a balanced and aesthetically pleasing look. Clamps can be used to secure the tabletop in place during the attachment process, preventing any shifting or misalignment while you work on affixing it to the frame.


Utilize wood screws to secure the tabletop to the frame, driving them through the underside of the tabletop and into the supporting frame components. This method ensures a secure and stable connection while maintaining a clean and unblemished surface on the tabletop itself.


As you fasten the tabletop, periodically check for uniform overhang and alignment to confirm that it sits evenly on the frame. This attention to detail will result in a professional and polished appearance, elevating the overall craftsmanship of your low picnic table.


Once the tabletop is securely attached, take a moment to inspect the table for any imperfections or irregularities. Sand any rough edges or surfaces, ensuring that the tabletop is smooth to the touch and free from splinters, enhancing both its appearance and user comfort.


With the tabletop in place, your low picnic table will have assumed its final form, providing a functional and inviting surface for outdoor dining and socializing. The next and final step will involve sanding and finishing the table, culminating in a refined and durable piece of outdoor furniture ready to enhance your outdoor living space.


Step 5: Sanding and Finishing

As you near the completion of your low picnic table construction, the sanding and finishing phase is essential for refining the table’s appearance and ensuring its longevity in outdoor settings. This step involves smoothing any rough surfaces, rounding sharp edges, and applying a protective finish to enhance the table’s durability and visual appeal.


Begin by using varying grits of sandpaper to sand the entire table, focusing on the tabletop, bench seats, and exposed edges. This process not only creates a smooth and splinter-free surface but also prepares the wood for the application of a protective finish. Pay special attention to any visible imperfections or rough spots, aiming to achieve a uniformly smooth texture across the entire table.


After sanding, consider applying a wood filler to any visible knots, cracks, or gaps in the wood. This step can contribute to a more refined and flawless appearance, particularly when using clear or translucent wood finishes. Once the wood filler has dried, lightly sand the areas again to ensure seamless blending with the surrounding wood surface.


With the sanding complete, it’s time to apply a protective finish to shield the table from outdoor elements. Whether you opt for a wood stain or outdoor sealant, ensure that the chosen product is suitable for exterior use and provides protection against moisture, UV rays, and general wear and tear.


Apply the finish evenly across the entire table, following the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific product you’ve selected. Multiple coats may be necessary to achieve the desired level of protection and aesthetic appeal, so be sure to allow adequate drying time between applications.


Once the finishing product has cured, take a moment to admire your handiwork and revel in the transformation of raw lumber into a stunning low picnic table. The sanding and finishing phase not only enhances the table’s visual allure but also fortifies it against the elements, ensuring that it will continue to be a focal point for outdoor enjoyment for years to come.



Congratulations on successfully completing the construction of your low picnic table! Through meticulous cutting, precise assembly, and thoughtful finishing, you’ve transformed raw materials into a functional and visually appealing piece of outdoor furniture that’s ready to enhance your outdoor living space.


As you admire your handcrafted creation, envision the delightful gatherings, memorable meals, and cherished moments it will host in the years to come. Your low picnic table is more than just a piece of furniture; it’s a centerpiece for outdoor enjoyment, a gathering place for laughter and conversation, and a symbol of your creativity and craftsmanship.


By embarking on this DIY woodworking project, you’ve not only honed your carpentry skills but also added a personal touch to your outdoor environment. The satisfaction of creating something with your own hands and witnessing the tangible results of your efforts is a reward in itself, and your low picnic table stands as a testament to your dedication and ingenuity.


Whether you’re planning a leisurely outdoor brunch, a lively barbecue, or a tranquil afternoon of relaxation, your low picnic table is poised to accommodate and enhance these experiences. Its sturdy construction, thoughtful design, and durable finish ensure that it will be a steadfast companion in your outdoor adventures for years to come.


As you integrate your newly constructed low picnic table into your outdoor setting, take pride in the craftsmanship and care you’ve invested in this project. Whether it’s a focal point for family gatherings, a platform for outdoor projects, or a quiet retreat for solitary moments, your low picnic table is a versatile and enduring addition to your outdoor lifestyle.


So, take a seat at your handcrafted table, bask in the satisfaction of a job well done, and savor the countless memories that await around this inviting centerpiece of outdoor hospitality. Your low picnic table is not just a piece of furniture; it’s a testament to your creativity, craftsmanship, and the joy of bringing your vision to life through the art of woodworking.