So many women are into DIY these days. It’s fun, it’s challenging, and you can save a ton of money building and doing stuff yourself. I made my first piece of furniture all by myself and I want to show you how to make your own 2×4 Outdoor Table with this tutorial.
This is a great beginner woodworking project that uses simple and inexpensive building materials. Perfect for stylish furniture for your home or patio on a small budget.
Patio furniture is ridiculously expensive so I decided to build my own 2×4 outdoor table. Our patio furniture set didn’t include any side tables so I was making due with small folding plastic tables.
I’ve wanted to try building a piece of furniture by myself for a while. So when a blogger I’ve been following for years posted in a group that she was doing a 2×4 challenge, #2x4andMore to be exact, I knew I wanted in! There is nothing like accepting a challenge with a deadline to get me moving.
In this challenge there are 14 building-minded bloggers participating, so please make sure you check out their project which are linked to at the end of the post.
2×4 Outdoor Table Guidelines
The rules were simple, at least 85% of what you build has to come from structural lumber like 2×4, 2×6, 4×4, etc. I knew exactly what I wanted to build because I was inspired by my friend Janice’s Barstool design, I changed it a bit so I worked as a side table.
I’ve took the extra steps to create some building plans for you. You’ll find a link to the free 2×4 Outdoor Table building plans at the bottom of the post.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you purchase an item after clicking on one of my links I may make a small a commission, at no cost to you.
Supplies and Specifics
Building Supplies for a 2×4 Outdoor Table
- You’ll need three (3) 8’ 2×4 boards (they’re actually 1.5” x 3.5”)
- I recommend Kiln Dried so they won’t shrink or warp as they dry.
- Purchase four (4) 2x4s to ensure you have enough. Even the pros make a bad cut now and then.
- Select the straightest boards they have with no twists or warping as this will affect the outcome of your table.
- Cordless Drill
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- Mitre Saw – this is a good starter saw
- Table Saw
- (if trimming your 2x4s – if not see my notes below)
- Exterior Pocket Hole Screws (3 Dozen 2-1/2” for Soft Wood)
- 24″ Clamps (optional but recommended)
- Wood Glue for each joint
- Palm Sander and Wood Filler are optional
- Putty knife
- Spackle or Wood filler
- Exterior Paint in your favorite color (optional)
2×4 Table Cut List
- Cut six (6) 2×4 boards to 19.5” – these will form the Top Slats of the table*
- Cut four (4) 2×4 boards to 21” long for the Legs. Each leg will have a 10 degree Bevel cut at the top and the bottom of each leg. **
- Cut two (2) 2×4 boards to 16-3/4” at the widest point for the Cross Leg Supports. Each support will have a 10 degree Miter cut on either end angling toward the center. **
- Cut one (1) 2×4 board to 11-1/2” for the Center Support. This board has a standard 90 degree cut.
* For my table I trimmed 1/8” off each short side of the 2×4’s for a more squared look. This isn’t necessary. If you choose not to trim your 2x4s increase the length of the six (6) top boards to 21” to ensure your table top is square.
** This website will better describe a Miter versus a Bevel.
Step 1: Cut all your boards to length.
Cutting Instructions & Tips
- Cut all boards to the measurements above.
- Pay close attention to the bevel and miter cuts as noted. The detailed plans offered below go into more detail for assembly.
- When cutting the Cross Leg Supports make sure the top is narrower than the bottom.
- Measure twice, cut once. Sometimes I really have to think about it before I make my cut to ensure the angle is correct. I hate wasting wood.
To cut the bevels for the legs I actually used the miter angle I’d already set by standing the 2×4 on end. This is a cheater way if you don’t have a compounding miter saw that can make a bevel cut.
Here’s what all your parts will look like when cut. I loosely put them together how they’ll be assembled.
Step 2: Predrill all pocket holes.
Now grab your cordless drill because it’s time to make the pocket holes. Play around with a few scrap pieces to get the feel for it. If you’ve never used a Kreg Jig to make pocket holes I suggest you bookmark my friend Anika’s recent article and video “How to Use a Kreg Pocket Hole Jig.” I wish I’d seen this before I started because there is a small learning curve but once you’ve done it a few times it’s awesome!
When all the pocket holes are drilled according to the building plans, I suggest pre-screwing the pocket hole screws part way into the pocket holes. This will make the assembly go a bit quicker. Make sure the screw doesn’t extend out of the board.
To determine the proper spacing of pocket hole screws for the top boards I researched on the Kreg website. I wanted enough for good connection and support, but I needed to make sure the pocket holes connecting the top slats wouldn’t be in the way when I was ready to assemble the base.
This is covered in the Building Plans but only 5 of the top slats will get pocket holes, they aren’t needed for the 6th board.
Step 3: Assemble the 2×4 table top.
Long clamps will make this project go much smoother.
- Start with the top and lay the boards on a flat work surface.
- Run a bead of wood glue between each 2×4 and clamp all six boards together.
- Working on one board at a time screw in each pocket hole screw the remainder of the way.
I made my shorter clamps work but it’s always best to have the right tools. You can see more of this in the Building Plans. I will have longer bar clamps before my next project. Shhh don’t tell my hubby, he kept telling me to go buy some but I wanted to build the table with what we already had. I was successful, but long bar clamps would have made it easier.
Step 4: Assemble the table base.
- Take two of the legs cut at 10 degree bevels and one of the mitered cross leg supports.
- Measure up each leg from the bottom and make a mark at 4-3/4″.
- The bottom of the cross leg support will sit on that line and will be centered on the leg.
- Hold the cross leg support in place and drive in the pocket hole screws.
This is where I wish I had one of the Kreg Jig right-angle clamps. I was working by myself and while I made it work, that clamp would have saved so much time and ensured my joint was as perfect as I wanted it to be.
Don’t you love the yellow garden glove, that grippy texture helped me hold on tightly to the 2×4.
After the front and back legs are assembled it’s time to attach the Center Support.
- Find and mark the center of each cross leg support.
- Attached the center support to each of the table legs.
You can see better how I connected the Center Support in the video below.
Step 5: Attach 2×4 table top to the base.
After the base of the table is assembled it’s time to attach the top.
- Make a few marks on the underside of the the table top so the overhang is even all around.
- Turn the top upside down on your work surface with the slats running horizontally.
- On the front and back near the edge draw a line near the corners at 1-5/8” then draw a line at 2-3/4” on the sides.
- The corner of the leg will line up where the two lines meet.
- Attach each leg to the table top using the pocket holes and screws.
Your table is done 🙂
I decided to paint mine a fun color for my patio. Last Summer I did a Patio Refresh Series but it still wasn’t bright enough for me with all the brown on the fence and on our rust-colored patio furniture. I put it to a vote on Instagram and on Facebook and Teal won. I walked into the hardware store and literally chose the first paint chip I picked up. Hawaiian Teal, how could that be bad?
So how much did these tables cost? I bought kiln dried 2x4s for my 2×4 Tables that cost about $3.29 each. That’s less than $15 per table and with the cost of paint it’s around $20 per table. Buying a wood table would cost much much more.
The Remodelaholic #2x4andMore challenge inspired me to build my 2×4 Outdoor Table. For a full week of structural lumber projects be sure to visit Remodelaholic. Don’t forget to check out all the projects in this challenge by visiting these talented bloggers.
Remodelaholic | The Ugly Duckling House
Charleston Crafted | Woodshop Diaries
At Charlotte’s House | Making Joy and Pretty Things
Frazzled Joy | Ginger Snap Crafts
Everyday Party Magazine | Hertoolbelt
North Country Nest | Our House Now a Home
Practical and Pretty | Girl, Just DIY!