How to Paint a Folding Table

Painting a folding table can bring new life to an old piece of furniture. Whether you are looking for a colorful accent in your home or trying to spruce up something for a garage sale, painting a folding table is the perfect way to do it. Not only does it allow you to customize the look of the furniture, but it also helps protect it from rust and wear.

How to Paint a Folding Table

Painting a folding table has many advantages. Firstly, it can give the table an updated and modern look. Additionally, painting a folding table is faster and easier than replacing it altogether or purchasing a new one. The painting also allows you to customize the color to match other furniture in your home or office space. In this blog article, you can find step-by-step instructions on how to paint a folding table.

How Should You Prepare the Surface Before Painting?

Proper surface preparation is key to a successful paint job on a folding table. Start by wiping down the entire table with an all-purpose cleaner and dry it thoroughly with a lint-free cloth.

Here are a few steps You should follow to Prepare the Surface Before Painting:

  1. Begin by cleaning the surface of your folding table with a rag and warm, soapy water.
  2. Use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the tabletop and legs to provide a good surface for the paint to adhere to.
  3. Wipe away dust and debris from the table with a damp cloth.
  4. Prime the surface of your folding table with a latex primer, using a foam brush and working in smooth strokes. Allow this to dry thoroughly before applying paint.
  5. Once the primer is dry, use a quality acrylic or latex paint in the color of your choice and apply it to the surface of your table using a foam brush.
  6. Let the paint dry for at least 24 hours before using the table again.
  7. To seal and protect the painted surface, apply two coats of clear acrylic sealant with a foam brush or spray can to complete your project. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly before applying the next one.

Materials You Will Need

  1. Folding table
  2. Sandpaper or sander
  3. Primer/sealer
  4. Paintbrush and roller
  5. Pencil and ruler
  6. Masking tape
  7. Newspaper (optional)
  8. Paint of your choice. 

11 Step-by-step Instructions for How to Paint a Folding Table 

Step 1: Prepare the Table

Start by thoroughly cleaning the table with a damp cloth to remove any dust, dirt, or grease that may be present. Once it is clean and dry, sand the surface lightly using fine-grain sandpaper and wipe away any residue with a soft cloth. It is important to ensure that the surface is smooth and free of any imperfections before proceeding. You may also choose to use a sander for quicker and more even results.

Residue With a Soft Cloth

Step 2:  Choose the Paint

Choose a paint that is suitable for furniture, such as an oil-based enamel or acrylic paint. Consider choosing a color that matches the rest of your home’s décor to add style and cohesiveness to your space. Remember to choose a paint that is intended for the surface you are painting, whether it’s wood, metal, or plastic. The type of paint you choose will determine the type of primer and sealant you need.

Step 3:  Paint the Table

Spread a drop cloth or paper onto a flat work surface to protect it from spills. Place the folding table on top and begin painting in small sections, starting at one end and working your way down while overlapping each stroke slightly. Use even strokes and light pressure so that you don’t leave brush marks visible when the paint dries. Allow the first coat to dry completely before applying a second coat. It is recommended to paint two coats for a smooth and durable finish.

Step 4:  Allow to Dry

Allow the first coat of paint to dry completely before applying a second coat. You may choose to sand lightly between coats to achieve a smoother finish. However, this is not necessary if the first coat looks good. Once the second coat has dried, your folding table should be ready to use. However, if you want to add extra protection and shine, continue with the next steps. 

choose to sand lightly

Step 5:  Mask Off Any Areas You Don’t Want to Paint

Place masking tape along any edges or areas you want to keep clean or untouched. This includes the table’s edge, hinges, and locks. If there are any rubber or plastic parts on the table, cover them with painter’s tape to prevent paint from getting on them. The tape will also help create clean and sharp lines. You can also use newspaper to cover the floor or any surrounding areas if you are painting indoors. It is important to protect the surrounding areas from accidental spills or splatters.

Step 6: Mark Your Design (optional)

Use a ruler and pencil to mark off any designs or patterns you may want on your table, such as stripes or geometric shapes. This step is entirely optional; you may choose to leave your table a solid color. If you are painting a design, ensure the paint you use is suitable for creating straight lines and is compatible with your table’s surface material. The design can also be done with painter’s tape by creating a stencil and painting over it.

Step 7: Apply Painter’s Tape

Using the marks you made in the previous step as a guide, apply painter’s tape along each edge of the design to ensure clean lines and prevent paint from bleeding onto other areas of the table. Take your time to make sure the tape is straight and properly adhered to the table’s surface. It is important to take your time and do this step carefully for a professional-looking finish. You may also use a ruler to ensure the lines are straight and even.

Step 8: Fill In With Paint

Using a small roller or brush, fill in the design with your chosen paint color. If you are using different colors, allow each section to dry before moving on to the next one. This will prevent the colors from bleeding into each other and mixing. If you are using a stencil, make sure to hold it down securely to prevent paint from getting underneath it. The design may require multiple coats, so allow each coat to dry before adding another one.

Step 9: Remove Painter’s Tape

When your design is complete and the paint is still wet, carefully remove the painter’s tape. Removing it while the paint is still wet ensures clean lines and prevents any peeling later on. If the paint has already dried, use a small utility knife to score along the edge of the tape before removing it to prevent peeling and chipping. It is important to take your time while removing the tape for a clean and professional finish.

Step 10: Allow to Dry

Allow the paint to dry completely before removing any remaining painter’s tape or using the table. This may take a few hours, depending on the type of paint and the number of coats used. It is recommended to let the table dry for at least 24 hours before using it to ensure the paint is fully cured and hardened. This will prevent any smudges or damage to your newly painted surface. It is also important to keep the table in a well-ventilated area during the drying process.

Step 11: Protect Your Work

Once your table is completely dry, apply a coat of clear acrylic sealant to protect the paint and prevent any scratches or chips. Allow it to dry thoroughly before using the table. This final step will help your newly painted folding table look new for longer and withstand regular use. Remember to reapply the sealant every few years or as needed to maintain the integrity of your paint job. The sealant will also add a glossy finish to your table, giving it a polished appearance.

Following these steps on how to paint a folding table will help you achieve a beautifully painted folding table that is sure to add charm and character to your space. With proper preparation and the right materials, painting a folding table can be an easy and enjoyable DIY project that anyone can do.

Precautions for How to Paint a Folding Table 

  1. Ensure the area you are painting in is well-ventilated and away from any open flames.
  2. Wear protective clothing such as coveralls, gloves, goggles, and a dust mask to protect yourself from paint fumes and overspray.
  3. Make sure there are no loose parts on the table before painting it. Tighten all screws and remove any debris from the surface.
  4. Use a drop cloth to cover any surfaces that should not be painted or sprayed with paint, and use painter’s tape to protect areas you do not want to be painted.
  5. Make sure you sand the table down with medium-grit sandpaper before painting it.
  6. Use a primer before painting the table to ensure the paint will adhere properly.
  7. After applying primer, apply two coats of high-quality paint that are made for furniture and other household items.
  8. Allow each coat to dry before adding another one. You should also use thin layers of paint to ensure smooth coverage with minimal drips or streaks.
  9. Once you finish the painting and all the paint has dried, add a coat of finishing sealer to protect your work.
  10. Finally, let the table completely dry before folding it up or using it.

How Should You Protect the Newly Painted Furniture From Damage? 

After successfully painting your folding table, it is important to protect the newly painted furniture from damage. To ensure that your painting job lasts for a long time, you should apply a coat of sealant or polyurethane to the surface. This will create a protective barrier against dirt and dust and prevent any water and moisture damage.

Prevent Any Water and Moisture

It is also important to dust your newly painted folding table regularly to avoid any buildup of dust or dirt that can damage the finish. If you are using a folded version of this furniture, avoid moving it around too much, as this could cause scratches and other blemishes on the surface. Finally, keep the item away from direct sunlight and excessive humidity to prevent fading or discoloration.

How Can You Clean Up Any Messes That Occur When Painting? 

When painting a folding table, it is important to take precautions to prevent any messes from occurring. Before beginning your project, cover the area around the table with plastic sheeting or old newspapers. This will help protect against any paint splatter that may occur during the process. Additionally, you should use drop cloths on top of your painting surface to help contain any potential messes. Once the painting is complete, you can simply fold up the drop cloths and dispose of them.

Cleaning spills or mistakes as soon as they happen will also help ensure that everything looks perfect when you’re finished. Be sure to use a damp rag or sponge to pick up any spills or smudges, and then use a clean cloth to wipe away any residue. With the right preparation and patience, you can create a beautiful piece of furniture that will last for years.

A Beautiful Piece of Paint

Is It Necessary to Call Any Professional to Paint a Folding Table? 

Yes.  Though it is possible to paint a folding table yourself, it may be wise to consult an experienced professional for the best results. A professional will know how to properly prep and prime a surface before painting and any special techniques that may need to be used when working with folding tables. Additionally, they will have access to high-quality paint and finishes that may not be available to the amateur painter. This can help ensure a superior finish and longer-lasting protection for your folding table.

Remember that it’s important to use paint specifically designed for furniture rather than walls or other surfaces, as this will provide better coverage and protection from scratches and wear.

How Much Will It Cost if You Hire a Professional?

If you are not confident enough or don’t have the time to paint your folding table yourself, then consider hiring a professional to do it for you. Hiring a professional painter can be expensive, depending on the project’s size and complexity. On average, it may cost between $150 and $400 to paint a folding table professionally.

In addition to the cost of labor, you may also need to purchase materials like paint and primer, which can add to the project’s overall costs. Ensure you get a clear estimate from your contractor before hiring them for the job. It is also important to enquire about any other additional fees that might be charged.

Hiring a professional is a great way to ensure that your folding table gets painted properly, but it can be expensive. Therefore, make sure you consider all the factors before deciding whether to hire a professional or do it yourself. 

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Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Can I Use Regular Wall Paint to Paint a Folding Table?

A: It is not recommended, as wall paint may not provide the same durability and protection as furniture-specific paint. Using the wrong type of paint may result in chipping or peeling over time. It is best to use paint specifically designed for furniture.

Q: Can I Paint a Folding Table Without Sanding?

A: While sanding is not strictly necessary, it can help create a smoother surface for the paint to adhere to and improve the overall finish. If you choose not to sand, make sure to thoroughly clean and prime the surface before painting.

Q: How Long Does It Take for Paint to Dry on a Folding Table?

A: This can vary depending on the type of paint used, but typically it takes about 1-2 hours for each coat to dry. To avoid smudging or uneven coverage, it is important to allow enough time for each coat to fully dry before adding another layer.


Although painting a folding table can add new life to the piece, there are some drawbacks to consider. For one, the design of most folding tables often requires more paint than a regular table. This is because the folds in the corners and sides make it difficult for the brush or roller to get coverage without leaving streaks or unpainted spots. 

Painting a folding table is an easy way to give it new life. With the right tools and preparation, you can make your folding table look new in no time. A few simple steps, such as sanding, cleaning, priming, and painting, will ensure that the job is done right the first time. 

Be sure to use outdoor paint and a sealant to make your table last. With a little effort, you can create a beautiful piece of furniture that will bring style and function to any room. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to paint a folding table. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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