How to set up & decorate a picnic table

How to make a picnic set

As spring weather approaches thoughts of picnics in the park or the countryside fill the minds of many. A lot of people purchase disposable plates and cups before going on a picnic but making your own picnic set eliminates the need and expense. One of many different things that can be used to pack picnic items. A backpack, satchel, or book bag works fine if there’s room to hold everything.

How many people usually go to the picnic? Four? Six?

Decide how many you’ll pack for and start by putting large items first. Plates should definitely not be your nicest China. They should be lightweight and difficult to break. One-dollar stores are full of inexpensive plates with matching glasses. The glasses should be about 6 to 8 oz since it’s easy to get a refill while on a picnic. If you have an extra-large pack the larger glasses of 12 to 20 oz is fine.

The picnic tablecloth can be plastic or fabric but if you usually dine on the ground plastic is better. Roll the tablecloth as tightly as possible or fold flat for storing. Roll silverware or plastic utensils in the set of napkins and tuck them into the pack as well.

Condiments present a slightly larger problem. Without the proper containers, you can arrive at the picnic with ketchup squirted all over the dishes and napkins. Use containers made especially for condiments. These are usually squirted bottles with a snap-on lid but ones with a screw-on lid are even better. Place the condiment containers inside the pockets of the pack if possible. Empty pill bottles make great salt and pepper shakers.

After the bottles are clean and dry, fill with salt or pepper then glue a small cardboard dot on top. These will last quite a while but when empty simply peel the cardboard, re-fill and glue another cardboard dot on top. You can also purchase salt and pepper shakers made specifically for picnics with snap-on lids. Use tiny plastic bowls with snap lids for holding peppers, strawberries, or even candies.

If you like the kind of picnics where you choose a spot and cook your own food be sure and pack the necessary barbecue utensils in the picnic duffle. Or, make a separate pack for barbecue utensils, foil, squirting water bottles,s, and other handy items.

After the kids have played for a while and the picnic is almost set up it’s a good idea to have some disposable wet cloths for hand washing. They’re also handy for wiping off dirty picnic tables and benches. And using some of the disposable washcloths on dirty dishes before packing them will make clean up easier later. Pack a couple of bottles of water for drinking or rinsing off dishes.

Drop-in some dry washcloths and a towel or roll of paper towels. Other things you might need are plastic grocery or trash bags for trash, zipper bags for leftovers, and small bowls from which to eat. And in case you ever take your dog along, treats and a separate bowl for him.

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