When The Apron blog team decided to put together a tailgating series, we began to brainstorm around items that would make your tailgating life a little bit easer. Let’s simplify the storage process with a customized storage tote. Let’s make it easier for friends and family to find us (or you!) with an easy-to-make PVC flagpole. Then we thought about the tailgating food spread, arguably the most important aspect of the tailgate! We wanted to come up with a way to build a tailgating table that slides out of the back of a pickup truck.
So we brought in the DIY experts over on the The Home Depot How-To Community Forums to help us out. Our thought was that you could easily extend your truck’s tailgate, and give it the look of a wooden dining table by adding some legs to a table top. This way, you could leave your table in your truck bed, pack supplies on top, and pull it out when you’re ready for the party. Of course, this tailgate table works equally well for picnics during the off season.
ChrisFixIt came up with our game plan (sketched out below), and showed us how to build a sturdy tailgate table that could be customized for any truck bed.
Here are your step-by-step instructions.
You’ll need these materials to build your tailgate table:
2 ten-foot pieces of 2″x4″, cut into the following lengths (an associate at your local Home Depot store can make the cuts for you):
48″ for the front board
58 ½” for the side board
58 ½” for the second side board
35″ for the first middle support
35″ for the second middle support
1 Sheet of cabinet grade ¾” plywood measuring 4′ x 5′ (we used two smaller sheets of plywood with a combined size of 4′ x 5′)
3″ Wood screws
2 Adjustable furniture legs
Begin by measuring 5” in from the ends of the 48” front board, mark a line there, and place the board aside.
Take the 58 ½” side board and measure along the length placing marks at 1 foot (this marks the rear middle support) and 2 feet from the other end (this marks the forward middle support location). Repeat this for the other side board.
Using wood screws, secure the supports at the marks placed on the 58 ½” boards in the previous step. Pre-drill pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting. With the supports and sides joined you will have something that looks like a giant “H”.
To complete the table frame, take the 48” front board and align it with the 5” inset marks from Step 1 and secure with wood screws. Now your “H” looks kind of like a two-rung ladder.
Make sure the 5’ x 4’ plywood sheet is screwed down to the top. In the photos you’ll see that we used two sheets of plywood that together equaled 5′ x 4′.
Your table top is pretty much complete.
If you want to stain your table, this is the point where you should do that. We used Behr Exterior Deck Stain in Padre Brown.
The legs are going to be dependent on the height of your truck. In our case, we had a couple of adjustable legs lying around that we decided to use.
To attach these adjustable legs, we created two notches using leftover 2″ x 4″. Take a look at the sketch near the top of this how-to to see how we did it. This way, the legs don’t have to be bolted in place. When we arrive at our tailgating location, all we have to do is slide each leg into its notch, re-adjust the leg height if necessary, and we’re ready to start setting out our food spread!
The 5’ x 4’ dimension of this tailgate table should fit easily between the wheel wells of most medium- to heavy-duty trucks with no problem, but you can easily customize the size of this table to fit your own truck by altering the table top height and size of the frame.
If you use a deck stain to finish your table, then you should be able to leave your table (except the legs) in your truck bed all tailgating season, so that you’re ready to roll bright and early Saturday morning. Be sure to store your table in a garage or large closet during months when you won’t be using it. Or better yet, deploy your tailgate table at picnics or while camping year round.
ESPN’s College GameDay was built by The Home Depot, and now The Home Depot’s Facebook page has a College GameDay app. The app features tailgating DIY projects, including how-tos for a tailgate table, ladder golf and cornhole game. It also helps fans find great tailgating products at great prices.
For even more tailgating ideas and inspiration, follow the Apron blog’s Tailgating series. We’ll gear you up for game day with tips, like a sweet tote for tailgating gear, and more awesome DIYs, like an A-frame chalkboard sign.