The warm weather is upon us and as a Seattleite, it’s like nectar to my sun deprived soul. Our NBC affiliate, King 5’s New Day Northwest asked me to provide some ideas to improve upon dining al fresco, and I couldn’t be more game.
Instead of a few crafty ideas, I went with one, low skill level – high impact, DIY to not only improve your picnic presentation, but to also increase the ease of outdoor entertaining.
I’m going to show you how a few crates, a drill and some screws will make the coolest picnic set up that is not only beautiful, but practical. Now that’s MY kind of DIY.
What we’re making
- Wood Crates, minimum 2 for the DIY, but a few extra for food display is nice
- 2 qty, 3/4″ wood dowel rods from a hardware store
Please chuckle along with me as you look at those red “x” marks on the picture above. You know how great ideas go… they change as you realize they don’t always work! Of course the pictures were taken and the supplies were used, so this is what we have to work with!
I didn’t list screw sizes because it depends on the type of crate you drill into. Honestly, I eye balled it. What I do specify are the copper pipe brackets because they will fit the 3/4″ dowel rods you’ll be using.
Something I didn’t list was a pen or pencil to make your marks. I feel like you can figure that out. You look smart.
If you don’t have an electric drill, it’s a $40 purchase you’ll never regret. You will regret getting a corded drill and not a cordless, I know from experience dude.
Let’s get crafting! We’re going to start with the Beverage Crate
We’re going to start by applying our anchor hooks. These little guys will be handy should you put your picnic on a soft surface and want to secure it.
Start a little hole at the base of your crate so you can hand screw in the eye hooks. Repeat on the three other corners of your crate. Anchor down your crate on the grass by using camping stakes.
Now let’s add our copper brackets which will serve as our Cafe Light Pole holders.
To give the dowel rod optimal support, we recommend placing your brackets as high and as low as your crate will allow for maximum coverage.
Begin by placing your copper bracket in the center of of the top plank. You’ll need to know the exact placement in order for your bottom bracket to align, so measure from the outer edge of the bracket to the edge of your crate and note the distance. Remember this number.
Use a pen or pencil to draw a circle of where you will be drilling. To ensure you are affixing the bracket at level, measure the outer edge of your drawn circle to the top edge of your crate to ensure your drill dots are of equal distance in centimeters.
With your drill bit begin your holes but be sure not to go all the way through, you want your wood screw to really latch on to the wood on its own accord.
Use your wood screws to affix the bracket to your crate. Repeat the steps on the lower plank and voila!
For your Buffet Crate repeat these instructions, HOWEVER your buffet crate needs to have the open side down, so your anchor points need to be placed on the open side corners.
Let’s make those Cafe Light Poles!
Take your 3/4″ dowel rod and start a hole at one end, then hand screw in your cup hook. Repeat on the other rod.
Place your rods in their brackets, then string your lights and BAM! A killer picnic set up has begun.
For the menu, I stacked smaller crates to display my “Dinner in a Jar.” Each dish is in a color coded mason jar, indicated by squares of fabric. Here are links to my chosen recipes:
For the Beverage Crate, I placed an insulated bag to hold ice and beverages. Easy peasy!
This is how your picnic set will look packed up
And watch my New Day Northwest Segment to see it in it’s entirety!
Questions? Email email@example.com