At this point in the year, we’ve already chased away the tail end of summer and we’re heading into fall full force. In some places, however, the weather is still quite warm and mild, so you might still have plenty of enjoyable outdoor time left before colder weather sets in! Our favourite way to harness the last of of our sunny days is to have as many picnics as our friends and family are willing to go with us on. Of course, besides the food and family time, the best part of a picnic is that it’s a good opportunity for some cool DIY projects.
Check out these 15 awesome DIY picnic hacks that will make your day easier and kind of also just make your day!
1. Clip-on utensils
Have you ever seen those cute little miniature clothes pins at the dollar store or your local craft store? Well, besides being absolutely adorable, they’re actually really handy as well! Oh Happy Day suggests gluing them to the back of plastic or wooden disposable utensils so you can clip a fork or spoon to each person’s lunch bag so the cutlery doesn’t get lost in the shuffle somewhere at the bottom of the picnic basket. Clipping them also keeps them up off the ground!
2. Mason jar meals
Mason jar meals are actually useful in all kinds of instances, like school or work lunches or portioning at home during a diet, but we use them most often on picnics! Follow The Decorated Cookie‘s footsteps in finding empty masons jars, cleaning them, and filling them with salad ingredients in layers, potato or pasta salad, or whatever else might need a little more protection from spillage or crushing in your picnic bag.
3. Shower curtain picnic blanket liner
By now I’m sure you’ve noticed that we do love a good excuse to upcycle just about anything! We like it even more, however, when the upcycled used is super practical and saves us a lot of hassle. That’s why we’re all about this suggestion from Real Simple for using an old plastic shower curtain as a protective liner between your picnic blanket and grass that might still be a little damp or dewy.
4. Individual lunch boxes
If you’re having a very large picnic, say for a big family reunion or a wedding shower for example, then it can be hard carrying all the bits and pieces to the right place and distributing everything individually from one bag. Instead, Style Me Pretty suggests building mini individual picnic boxes that let you put in each person’s main sandwich and snacks so you only have to hand things out once. The rest of the meal, like desserts or drinks, can be things they grab themselves, buffet style! We love the addition of a cute stamp on each person’s lunch.
5. Labelled soup thermoses
Have you decided to wait for your last picnic until the weather is a little colder because you love nothing more than a crisp fall day? Then soup in a warm thermos is a great idea for lunch! Oh Louise suggests making several different kinds of soup that people can choose from and affixing each one with a cute, rustic looking little label so everyone knows which kind is which. You know if you just try to memorize them, someone’s going to forget!
6. Spices in wrapped straws
Are you a firm believe that no meal is complete without spices, even on a picnic? Well, we can’t disagree! That’s why we thought this idea for travel spices on Instructables was so neat. It would be rather cumbersome to have to take full spice bottles in a bag to the park, so instead, firmly tape off one end of a plastic straw, fill the straw with the spice you want, and then tape off the other end. Take spare tape with you so you can re-seal them at the end of the meal! We also think labeling the straws is a good idea, just to make sure no one eats something much spicier than they’ve bargained for.
7. Picnic on a bike
Are you looking to get extra crafty and creative with your picnic? Perhaps you’re an avid biker who often finds yourself wishing you had a meal to enjoy even by yourself once you’ve reached the prettiest point on your favourite nature trail? Then you’ll probably love this wooden bike box idea on Awesome Inventions! Fold the side panel down and dig out some snacks or some extra drinks to keep you hydrated and fueled while you ride.
8. Table cloth bottle wrap
Is the picnic you’re going on also an engagement party or an anniversary where people will probably enjoy a glass of wine to celebrate? Make sure to bring enough bottles for everyone, but don’t let them clink together in your basket in case they break! Martha Stewart has the perfect solution for that issue- follow this guide to wrapping the bottles in a handy little napkin sling to make them easier to carry but also safe from hitting against each other.
9. Picnic table cooler trench
Maybe the picnic you’re hosting is actually right in your back yard, or somewhere on your cottage property? Do you have a picnic table waiting for guests to arrive any moment? Then you might find this awesome drink cooling trench idea from The Kitchn kind of fun! Follow their lead in making it and then fill it with ice to keep beers, wine, or cans of pop from getting warm and soupy in the sun.
10. Muffin tin condiments
Taking an entire jar of mayonnaise or a whole bottle of ketchup on your picnic might not be the most space efficient idea, but you can bet people will still want condiments on their burgers or hot dogs. Try portioning a little bit of each thing out instead! The best way to save space is to do that in a muffin tin, just like Charter House Interiors did here. Put a spoon in each one for serving and voila!
11. Egg cartons to serve food
Do you hate the idea of taking real plates on a picnic, but you also find plastic or paper plates quite wasteful? Use your picnic as an opportunity to recycle instead! Save your family’s egg cartons a few weeks in advance of the big day and use those for serving food while you’re in the park or on the back. They’ll work just as well as a plate for most things, as you can see in this picture from Sviitanen!
12. Cupcake liner popsicle trays
The versatility of your cupcake liners on a picnic doesn’t stop there! They’re also a great way to help little kids eat popsicles without having the juice run right down their elbows as the treat melts. Check the idea out on Wonder How To.
13. Egg carton of chocolate filled strawberries
Remember our previous idea for serving meals in egg cartons? Well, we can’t help but notice that egg cartons are also the perfect shape for packing and serving one of our very favourite treats of all time: chocolate filled strawberries! Pop a strawberry into each hole like an egg and they’ll be protected in the picnic basket and served super easily. See how Lily Shop served these ones.
14. Frozen watermelon pops
Frozen treats can be difficult to take on a picnic because they have to stay cold, but some snacks are just plain worth it. These delicious frozen watermelon pops by Tidy Mom are a great example. Fill your cooler with ice and pile these in, because they’ll be gone in no time anyways!