When you are outdoors, there are a lot of great DIY backyard picnic ideas to try that always look great, and are most often cheap and worth it to do yourself. So why pay more for less character without all those great personal touches and choices that make pieces your own? For your next great backyard picnic, outdoor lunch, or dinner party, here are some great DIY ideas you’ll want to try and show off for guests, family, and friends. Be the host of envy and create great moments and memories with these top backyard picnic DIYs.
DIY Picnic Blanket
This warm, easily-personalized DIY backyard picnic idea is great for table settings and yard time!
- 3 ½ yds. fabric of choice
- Approx. 2 yds. heavy fabric like denim, (blanket will be 68 in. by 54 in. so depending on how wide your fabric is, you will need to figure out how much to get as denim and other heavy fabrics often come wider than regular cottons).
- 3 packages wide single-fold bias tape in coordinating color
- 1 package cotton batting
- 6 in. velcro
Lay out your large piece of denim fabric with the right side down. Lay a single layer of cotton batting across this and cut to fit. Lay your top fabric on top of the denim and cotton and cut to fit. Piece this fabric together by cutting 2 large pieces and sewing a seam up the middle. Lay that fabric on top and pin the blanket around the edges and in several middle places.
Zig-zag around the blanket edges. Pin your bias tape all the way around the blanket. Cut off the corners. Sew all the way around this, near the inner edge of the bias tape. At the corners, do a zig-zag stitch on the raw edges. Sew a seam through the whole blanket right on the center seam you made earlier. To make sure the batting stays in place during washing you can add ties every 6 in. or sew through it to hold things down.
To make the straps, cut two pieces 4 in. wide by 29 in. long. Fold them in half longwise and sew up the long side and one of the short sides. Turn the right side out and fold in the open end, press, and sew it shut. Sew a 3-in. Velcro strip on one end and a 3-in. strip of the other velcro piece on the opposite side of the strap and the other end. Sew the strap to the bottom of the blanket.
DIY Drink Cooler
This DIY backyard picnic idea is worth the effort for a drink cooler that looks so cute as outdoor decor. It also looks great using cedar wood!
- Miter saw or hand saw
- Six 1×4 boards, 8 ft. long
- Five 1×2 boards, 8 ft. long
- Three 1×3 boards, 8 ft. long
- One 2×3 board, 4 ft. long, ideally try to find a scrap or buy an 8 ft. board
- One Styrofoam cooler
- 1 set 2 ½ in. Zinc narrow hinges
- One rubber stopper with a chain
- One 6 ½ in. Zinc utility pull
- Silicone sealant
- One sink flange
- One ½ in. U Bolt
- One ice scoop
- One Zinc bottle opener
- 3 hooks, optional
Using a miter saw or hand saw, start by building the surround for the cooler. Measure and cut as your go as board sizes vary and climates can affect boards. Measurements are as follows: 8 boards- 1×4 at 25 ¼ in., 4 boards – 1×4 at 16 ½ in., 8 boards- 1×2 at 25 ¼ in., and 4 boards- 1×2 at 16 ½ in. Place the 1×4 and 1×2 boards together to make the future sides. The pattern is alternating 1×4, 1×2, 1×4, 1×4, 1×2, 1×4.
Drill pocket holes at the ends of the placed-together boards, around 7 holes on the left and right sides so that only some 1x4s have pocket holes going toward both ends to attach to the 1x2s. Attach the boards together to form a rectangle box shape using Kreg Jig pocket holes and Gorilla Glue wood glue. The measurements for the legs are as follows: 4 boards- 1×3 at 38 ¼ in. and 4 boards- 1×4 at 38 ¼ in. Place together each 1×3 to a 1×4 with pocket hole screws and a line of wood glue.
Nail them to the surround with a Brad Nailer or other applicable. Put a few nails on the outside and a lot on the inside as well as a generous amount of wood glue. Drop the cooler inside the surround for a snug fit. The top should be flush with the top of the surround with a little space below. Cut three 2×3 boards at 16 ½ in. and drill pocket holes into both ends of each board. Attach with pocket hole screws and wood glue.
Use 1×2 boards to trim the top, making edges flush with the surround. You will have overhang between the legs. Measure for these cuts to get them exact and attach with brad nails, (or other applicable), and wood glue. For the top, use 1×2 boards for the trim on the lid and drill pocket holes into the ends of the 16 ¼ in. Attach with pocket hole screws and wood glue. Measurements are two 1×2 boards at 25 ¼ in. and two 1×2 boards at 16 ½ in.
Attach the boards for the top with pocket hole screws. The pocket holes should be 5 on the left and right sides and 6-7 in the middle areas. The measurements are as follows: four 1×3 boards at 23 ¾ in. and four 1×2 boards at 23 ¾ in. The 1x2s and 1x3s should alternate. Attach the trim to the top with pocket hole screws and wood glue. The top of the boards should be flush with the trim.
For the drain, twist the flange into the spot where you want the drain, making sure the 2x3s on the bottom are out of the way. Goop silicone sealant around the flange and drop it back inside the hole. Push it snug and wipe off excess sealant. To attach the cooler top, use a generous amount of sealant on the top of the styrofoam lid and press it into the wooden lid. For an optional finish, brush on 1 coat of Rust-Oleum Dark Walnut stain and follow up with 3 coats of Rust-Oleum Spar Varnish in satin.
Farmhouse Outdoor Table
The perfect outdoor sitting idea is your own DIY backyard picnic table. Make it your own with different wood and measurements for a personalized outcome.
- Six 2×8 boards, treated wood, 8 ft. long
- Four 4×4 boards, treated wood, 8 ft. long
- Three 2×4 boards, treated wood, 8 ft. long
- 2 ½ in. wood screws
- 4 ½ in. wood screws
- Kreg Jig
- 2 ½ in. kreg screws
- Wood clamp
Using the Kreg Jig, screw together the six 2×8 boards in four different spots. Always use the wood clamp for ease. Add support by securing three 2x4s, 32 in. long with 2 ½ in. wood screws to the bottom of the table top. The top and bottom pieces were roughly 1 ft. from the edges and the third in the middle. Basically, decide where you want the legs to go and secure the supports. Cut four 4x4s 28 in. high and secure them to the table with the 4 ½ in. wood screws.
The legs should be 15 ¼ in. apart. You can screw two screws in three sides, the fourth being against the support, at an angle. For the side against the support, screw the support to the leg. Cut two 4x4s, 15 ¼ in. long and secure one between each of the leg sets, 6 ½ in. from the bottom. You can use one angled 4 ½ in. screw on each side of the post. Cut one 4×4 to 59 in. and place it between the two short posts secured to the legs. Just as with the small post, use one 4 ½ in. screw per side, angled.
Suspending Mason Jar Lights
For the perfect outdoor lighting idea for backyard gatherings and picnics under a tree, try this cute lighting idea that always looks great
- Simple small mason jars in quantity and colors of choice, use more and various for a look that wows
- Pebbles to fill each mason jar about ¼ full
- Tea lights, enough for 1 per mason jar
- Thick, strong twine to loop each jar around a tree branch
Put a tea light in each mason jar. Fill each jar about ¼ full with the pebbles to hold the tea light in place. Secure a piece of twine of desired individual lengths to the rim or given handle of each jar. Loop the string ends together around a chosen tree branch, tie, and enjoy.
Pretty Picnic Basket
For a cute craft challenge that results in a unique fabric-lined picnic basket, try this backyard DIY.
- Picnic basket of choice
- Fabric ¼ in. wider on all sides than basket, doubled for two pieces
- 3rd piece fabric with dimensions 2 in. longer than basket circumference and 3 in. wider than basket height
- Piece chipboard or thin cardboard for solid base insert
- Thread and needle or sewing machine
Take any metal, wicker, or wooden basket. For your inner liner, place your basket on top of your fabric and trace around the base. Cut about ¼ wider on all sides. Cut out a second piece using the first one as a template. Measure around the circumference of your basket and add 2 in. Measure the height of your basket and add 3 in. You should get a longer rectangular piece. Use a piece of chipboard or thin cardboard to create a solid base insert for your basket using the previous method as desired.
Fold the shorter edge of one of the base pieces of fabric down twice about ½ in. each and stitch them together to create a clean hem. This will be the insert’s pocket. Starting near the middle of one of the shorter edges with right sides together, start pinning the long edge of the long piece to the perimeter of the base piece. Once pinned together, stitch all the way around about ¼ in. from the edge. This is the basic shape of your insert. Next, fold the top edge down ¼ in., press, again, and press. Pin all the way around to secure.
This is the casing for the ribbon drawstring. Insert it into the picnic basket and fold it over the outer edge of your basket to fit. Find the center of the front edge and make a mark as wide as your ribbon. This is a buttonhole for your ribbon to come out of the casing. You can free-hand or just leave it raw. Unpin the buttonhole to create it. Insert your ribbon into your casing. It should be about ¼ in. wider than your ribbon. Stitch all the way around the casing. Do not stitch your ribbon down. Remove your pins and draw your ribbon tight to test.
Attach the base insert pocket to the rest of it. Place your base insert fabric right side down and set your picnic basket insert on top of it. Pin it together. Starting from one hemmed edge of the base insert piece, stitch all the way around to the other and backstitch. Trim your edges. Insert your cardboard or chipboard into the pocket for a solid layer for picnic items. Leave your edges raw or use a zig-zag stitch and medium stitch length for a more finished look.
Succulent Container Garden
This backyard picnic DIY is the perfect outdoor decoration for tables, garden spaces, and picnic settings.
- Soft-bristled brush, optional
- Container with drainage holes
- Plastic window screening or landscape fabric
- Succulent plants of choice
- Cactus or succulent potting soil
- Stones, gravel, sea glass, or marbles, optional
Succulent roots thrive in shallow, wider containers. Make sure your pot has good drainage. You can also drill bottom holes. Buy succulent potting mix and blend equal parts regular potting soil, coarse sand, and perlite or pumice for an ideal mix. Be aware of any varying light and care requirements of different succulents chosen. Group similar succulents in a given container. Cut a piece of plastic window screening big enough to cover your pot’s drainage holes. Cover the bottom of the container with enough potting soil so it remains a half-inch below the container rim.
Place your plants, still in their nursery pots, into the container for an idea of spacing. Decide arrangement. Take the plants out of those pots and place them back into your container individually. Gently pack additional soil around each plant. Fill all spaces between plants. Remove leaf-covering soil. For a finished look, cover the soil surface with a top dressing of coarse material such as gravel, pebbles, sea glass, or marbles. This can be bright-colored or neutral depending on the desired look.