Have you ever stained a picnic table before? This was our first year staining our table and I wanted to share with you some tips on how to stain a picnic table so you can enjoy it all summer long. Thanks to a coat of stain, our table looks and feels just like new and I can’t wait to show you just how easy it is to do.
Walmart challenged to me to showcase an idea for a Spring project and I knew that this was one of those projects that I really needed to complete on my to-do list, particularly after such a brutal Indiana winter.
Have you ever spotted something in a magazine and just knew you had to have it… yet, you could find it nowhere! Many years ago, I flipped through a magazine and spied a picnic table that Katie Brown owned that was in her backyard and I just knew I wanted a table like that. After inquiring on Facebook, we found a gentleman in town who makes picnic tables and after telling him what I envisioned, he built this beautiful table for us that comfortably sits eight to ten people. When I look out my window, this makes me so happy and the meals shared at this table are what summer is all about.
To keep her looking good, we decided to freshen her up for another year of family meals.
Thompson’s WaterSeal Waterproofing Stain (we did our table in Nutmeg Brown in Semi-Transparent)
Foam & Paint Brush
1. Before we begin, we need to prep our surface. Using a heavy-duty cleaner, spray and wipe down your table to remove any dirt and grime. Be sure that you clean the entire surface well and then wait 10-15 minutes, or until the table is completely dry, to begin staining. You never want to stain the table while it is wet so be sure that you are not trying to stain after a heavy rain.
2. Since our piece was in good condition, it did not require any sanding. If your piece needs to be smoothed though, use a medium grit sandpaper sanding in the direction of the grain. This can be done with a small palm sander or can be done by hand. Once you are done with that, finish with a finer grit of sandpaper to smooth out any rough areas and give the table an even, smooth finish for the stain. Once it is sanded, make sure to use a tack cloth to remove any sanding.
3. Once your piece has been cleaned and prepped, it is time to begin applying stain. With the Thompson’s Water Seal Waterproof Stain you do not want to thin this. Make sure that you shake well and shake, stir or mix thoroughly before and occasionally during use. Before you begin staining, make sure you try a test run with a small trial patch in an inconspicuous place, like the underside of your bench or table, to make sure that the stain is the color you are going for.
Apply using an exterior paint pad, brush, roller, or even a rag to begin applying the stain to your table. If you are doing the legs and underside of the table, lay down your drop cloth and invert your piece and do the bottom first. Allow the bottom to dry, it should take less than two hours to be fully dry, and then begin staining the top.
5. Use your foam brush to get into the detail parts and legs of your table, using a rag to remove any drip marks on the ends.
6. Allow your table to dry for two hours.
This table looks just like new again and it only cost me $30 in supplies. Since picnic tables do reside outside, they are exposed to all of the weather elements, which means you need to stain your table from time to time. This stain typically will last two to three years, but possibly less time than that, depending on if your picnic table is in direct sunlight. The properties of sunlight can dry out the stain and cause it to weather much faster. It also has a lot to do with how much freezing and thawing happens, which in our area, seems to happen often!
I’m so proud of my table and I hope it inspires you to freshen up your own picnic table for Spring. Speaking of staining, I am still SO proud of this stained table I created for our office. If you are looking for tips on indoor staining, be sure to visit that post!
Too intimidated by stain? Check out how I spray painted my side table and how we painted our kitchen table that is STILL going strong after all these years. And it never hurts to reupholster those chairs while you are at it!
Have you ever stained a picnic table or deck? What tips can you share on this?