Ready to give your old (or new!) picnic table a fresh new look? Stain it! Not only does stain update the look of your picnic table, but it extends its life, giving you more years of enjoyment around it.
Staining a picnic table doesn't take professional skill or a large budget - it's a simple project you can do yourself. To demonstrate, we transformed our unfinished 6 ft. wood picnic table into a two-tone finished product. It took us about two hours (not counting dry time) to complete it. We stained the legs, bench supports, and table braces a dark brown, and the tabletop and benches a lighter red-brown. Follow the transformation below.
Want to find out how to stain a picnic table? Check out our step-by-step instructions below!
Step 1: Gather your materials.
To stain your picnic table, you’ll need the following materials:
- Exterior stain. We used an oil-based exterior stain for our project.
Wondering how much stain you need for the table? Every table is different, but for an average 6 ft. picnic table, you’ll need enough stain to cover 86 square feet of surface area.
- Paint brushes. Be sure you grab the right one for the stain you’re working with.
- Foam brushes. These will come in handy when you are getting in the cracks or around the hardware.
- Extra rags.
- Drop cloth.
- Painter’s tape.
- Gloves. These are optional, but you may want to wear gloves and clothes you don't mind getting messy.
Step 2: Prep your picnic table.
Prior to staining your picnic table, be sure your picnic table is clean and free of any mold, mildew or dirt. (Find out how to clean a picnic table here.) Give time for your picnic table to dry. Then, sand all surfaces you’ll be staining.
With the help of a friend (this is a 2-person job), flip the table upside-down for easier access to the legs and bench supports.
Step 3: Stain the legs, bench supports, and tabletop braces.
Stain the legs, bench supports and tabletop braces. If you want a two-tone finished table like ours, make sure you do not drip any stain on the sides of the benches or table top. We used a small foam brush to stain the harder-to-access spots. Let the stain dry to the touch.
Step 4: Stain the tabletop and benches.
With the help of a friend, flip the picnic table back over so it’s upright. Paint the tabletop and benches. We used a lighter red-brown stain for these components to contrast the dark brown on the legs. Take care not to drip any stain on the already-painted legs. Use a narrow foam brush to get in the gaps and the umbrella hole.
Step 5: Let dry.
And you're finished! Now, give your picnic table enough time to dry before using it. Check the instructions on the stain for specific drying times.
Looking for a picnic table? Check out our selection!