Picnic Projects You’ll Love

With warmer weather ahead, we are all looking forward to spending more time with friends and family outdoors!

Studio 5 Contributor Amy Twitty is shares her favorite DIY picnic projects.

I’m a believer that half the fun of summer is eating outdoors not being stuck in the kitchen on a hot day. Picnics can be spontaneous and last minute or planned with your family and the neighbor next door. Things can be simplified and yet still beautiful to the eye. There are a few key things I think it takes to make a picnic a success.

Recovered Table and Chairs:
Wither you are having a picnic in our backyard or at the park, seating is usually the first dilemma. For a picnic in the backyard you can take that old folding chair and table and give them update. This is very simple to do, especially for someone who has wanted to try upholstery this is a good trial run. You can purchase vinyl at Hobby Lobby, Joanns, or most craft stores. It typically runs between $12 – $16 a yard. I did my table and 4 chairs (standard size) for 2 1/4 yards. Spray painting your table and chairs first with a white primer and then the color of your choice. I left mine white because I liked the way it look with my plastic cover. Unscrew your original fabric back and seats with a simple Phillips screw driver. Depending on your chairs you will want to lay out our chair backs and seats and cut the plastic an extra 2 inches for folding. For my chair backs I cut a piece 21 x 11, seats 19.5x 19.5, and table top 39 x 39. Flip your chair over and simply tuck and staple at the top first. It works best if after your first staple you fold your item over, looking at the front and using your hands press out any creases or wrinkles. Holding in place flip back over and staple on the opposite side of your first staple. Then just circling around you will pull tightly your material and staple in place. This plastic is really easy to work with and very easy to pull tight for staples. After your paint is dry simply screw your back, seats and table top back in the legs of your chairs. And enjoy!!! Now no more embarrassing looks as you pull out your old table and chairs for those summer picnics.

Picnic Blanket:
Do you have the issue with getting to the park and realizing you forgot your blanket? Or the only blanket you want to use is too nice to sit on the ground with? Make your own blanket for just a few dollars. Go to your local hardware store, buy a 6×9 canvas for $9. If you would like to add some color to your canvas/blanket you can simply use leftover paint you have or buy a sample can in the paint department for $2. I wanted to add circles to my blanket. I used four different colors but you can stick with one if you would like. To make the shape I grabbed a bowl, poured my paint on a paper plate. Dipped my bowl in the paint and made a placed on the canvas,creating a perfect circle. Then using a paint brush I filled in the circle with the paint, allowing it to dry for 24 hours before using! Enjoy! Store in your car for easy picnic entertaining plus enough room to seat plenty of people!

Picnic Basket:
Unless you have your Grandma’s old picnic basket or want to spend $50 on a new basket how are you going to get your food to your picnic? You can create this easy picnic basket for under $10. I purchased this apple basket at Hobby Lobby for $7 (use coupon) and the plastic at Joann’s for $6 (use coupon). I used less than half a yard for the lid of the basket. I simply placed my basket on the plastic and measured around the basket, marking the spots 3 inches from the basket. Cut your plastic. Then using your sewing machine, fold over the plastic about 1/4″ creating a pocket for you elastic. Sew in a circle. Since it’s a circle it’s not going to be a perfect circle. Just fold as you go making sure that the pocket your making is at least 1/4″. Leave an opening in your fold about 1 inch long. Cut a 1/4″ elastic about 30″ long. Using a safety pin, push your pin through your elastic. Now put your elastic up in the opening and going around your circle pocket until you get all the way through. When you have pulled it all the way through, gather both your ends of elastic and sew together. The elastic will gather as you pull it, creating a lid for your basket. Don’t worry it may look like a shower cap!!

Lawn Scrabble:
With little ones or adults you should have a back up plan for something in case they get tired of running around or playing on the swings.
You can do this game as you are walking out the door, grab some paper and a magic marker. Write the alphabet on the piece of paper, one letter per piece. You may want to do this twice. This is going to be a life size version of scrabble. Randomly hand out the letters and take turns spelling out words. Whoever comes up with the most words wins!!
Sidewalk Pictionary. You could always gather those giant sidewalk chalk pieces and place pictionary out on the front sidewalk!

Easy Cleanup:
Even though picnics are easier than cooking a gourmet meal in your kitchen, cleanup is still an issue. You should always have a few items on hand for your picnics.

Disposable Bags – You can grab a disposable bag, one for garbage and one for cleanup. When your all done throw those leftover dishes in one bag and your used napkins and plates in the other. I also believe that having wipes on hand can save many sticky fingers and faces at the end of the evening.

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