How to Paint Picnic Table

Are you looking to add a touch of personality to your garden or backyard? Painting your picnic table is an easy, affordable way to give it some flair and make it stand out. Also, painting this furniture type protects against the elements and can extend its life.

How to Paint Picnic Table

In this blog post, we’ll show you how to paint picnic table properly and provide tips for finding just the right colors and finishes so that you end up with a great-looking piece of outdoor furniture!

Supplies and Tools You Will Need to Paint Picnic Table

  • Paintbrush or roller
  • Painter’s tape
  • Sandpaper (both fine and medium grit)
  • Drop cloths (to protect immediate surface area)
  • Primer
  • Exterior paint in two different sheens, one for the tabletop and one for the legs. Try a satin finish for the top and a semi-gloss for the legs.

Step-by-Step Guideline on How to Paint Picnic Table

Step 1: Prepare the Surface

Before you start painting your picnic table, it’s important to ensure the surface is properly prepared. Begin by washing and sanding the entire piece using fine-grit sandpaper.

Surface is Properly Prepared

This will remove any dirt or residual stain from the wood. Next, use medium-grit sandpaper to roughen up the surface so that the paint will adhere properly. Finally, wipe down the picnic table with a damp rag to remove any remaining dust.

Step 2: Apply Tape and Drop Cloth

Now it’s time to protect the area around your picnic table with painter’s tape and drop cloths. This will prevent splashes and spills on the ground, patio, or other furniture.

Apply the tape to the table’s edge, then lay down drop cloths around it. Be careful to cover any areas that don’t need painting, such as hardware or the underside of the table.

Step 3: Primer

Once the surface is properly prepped and the area is taped off and protected, you can begin priming. Use a high-quality primer designed for outdoor use and apply it with either a brush or roller, depending on the size of the picnic table.

Allow the primer to dry completely before moving on to painting. Primer is useful as it will provide a strong base for the paint and help it stick to the table better.

Step 4: Paint

Now it’s time to get to the fun part: painting! Begin with a coat of exterior satin paint for the tabletop. Apply with a brush or roller and allow enough time for this coat of paint to dry completely.

Switch to a semi-gloss paint for the legs to give them a shine and extra moisture protection. Apply the paint in thin layers and allow each coat to dry before applying the next.

Step 5: Seal

Once you have finished painting your picnic table, it’s important to seal the paint. This will help protect it from the elements and make it last longer. Opt for a clear sealant designed for outdoor use and apply using either a brush or roller. Allow enough time for this coat of sealant to dry completely before using the picnic table.

Apply Using Either a Brush

And there you have it! You now know how to paint a picnic table properly and give it that extra protective layer against the elements. We hope this guide was helpful and that your finished project looks great! Happy painting!

10 Best Ideas for Painting a Picnic Table

  1. Choose bright colors that contrast with the surrounding outdoor elements.
  2. Playoff different textures and sheen combinations to create an eye-catching effect.
  3. Add designs such as stripes or polka dots for a playful look.
  4. Use a stencil to paint designs like flowers or animals onto your table.
  5. Create an ombre effect by gradually blending different colors.
  6. Use chalkboard paint for a functional and stylish look.
  7. Paint one side of the table with a different color than the other to create contrast.
  8. Get creative with metallic paints, or add glitter for some sparkle.
  9. Paint the tabletop in an abstract or geometric pattern.
  10. Use a wood stain or glaze to give the table an antiqued appearance.

Happy decorating! With these painting ideas, you can make your picnic table look stylish and unique. Have fun with it, and enjoy the process of creating something special for your outdoor space. Good luck!

Some Tips and Tricks for Painting a Picnic Table

Start by Cleaning the Surface
  1. Start by cleaning the surface of the picnic table. Use a degreasing cleaner and a scrub brush to remove any dirt, dust, or other debris that may have accumulated on it over time.
  2. Once the surface is clean, sand it down with medium-grit sandpaper using an electric sander (or you can use a hand sander if you don’t have access to an electric one). This helps create a rough surface that the paint will be able to adhere to more easily.
  3. After sanding, wipe down the table with a damp cloth and let it dry completely before painting.
  4. Once the surface is dry, apply a coat of exterior-grade primer. This helps ensure the paint adheres to the surface and will last longer. Allow this coat to dry completely (at least 8 hours) before applying the paint.
  5. Paint the picnic table with two coats of exterior-grade latex or oil-based paint, depending on your preference. Make sure you use a paintbrush or roller for the best results. Apply the first coat, let it dry for about 4 hours, then apply the second coat.
  6. Use a clear polyurethane sealer over the entire surface to protect your newly painted picnic table from wear and tear. This will help keep it looking new for a longer period of time.
  7. After the clear coat has dried, you can enjoy your newly painted picnic table! Make sure to wipe it down with a damp cloth occasionally to keep dirt and dust from accumulating on it.

Following these tips will help ensure that your picnic table is painted correctly and looks great for years to come. Have fun and enjoy your newly painted picnic table!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Color Should I Use for Painting the Picnic Table?

The most popular colors for painting picnic tables are white, beige, blue, and yellow. You can also choose to use a darker tone of your favorite color, such as dark blue or black.

It all depends on the type of look you want to achieve. For instance, if your outdoor space has a lot of green elements—like plants and trees—a green picnic table could look great. If you want something a bit more modern, black or gray might be the way to go.

What Kind of Paint Should I Use?

For best results, use a paint specifically designed for outdoor furniture, like Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2X. This paint is highly resistant to fading and chipping, making it perfect for outdoor use. It’s also available in various colors so that you can find the perfect shade for your picnic table.

What Kind of Design Can I Use on My Picnic Table:

Consider Using Stencils

If you want to add a unique touch to your picnic table, you can choose a fun and colorful design. Consider using stencils or painting a mural on the table with bright colors. You could also use paint pens or markers to create patterns and designs that will show up when the paint dries.

What Should I Do After I’m Done Painting?

Once the paint is completely dry, seal it with a few coats of polyurethane or lacquer. This will help protect your picnic table from weathering and fading in the future. You can also apply a coat of wax for extra protection and give it an attractive sheen.

Do I Need to Prepare the Wood Before Painting?

Yes, it’s important to prepare the wood surface before painting. This will help ensure that the paint adheres properly and lasts longer. Start by sanding down any rough spots on the wood and removing any existing paint or varnish.

Next, apply a primer or sealer to ensure the paint will not peel off over time. Finally, wipe down the surface with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt before you start painting.

Do I Need Special Brushes for Painting?

You don’t necessarily need special brushes for painting. However, using high-quality brushes that are designed for outdoor furniture can help ensure a smooth finish.

Look for brushes made of synthetic or natural bristles that are specifically designed for outdoor surfaces. These should provide the best results and help you achieve your desired look.


Painting your picnic table is a simple DIY project that can transform the look of your outdoor space. After reading this post, you should know and be confident about how to paint picnic table.

Remember that proper preparation and application are key, so take your time when applying the paint, and don’t rush it.

With patience and hard work, the result will be worth it: an attractive piece of furniture in your backyard! The painted picnic table will lend visual interest to any outdoor party or barbeque and become a centerpiece for conversation and enjoyment for years to come. Best of luck – may the painting experience be an enjoyable one!

Photo of author

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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