How to Stain a Picnic Table

Staining your picnic table will bring out the wood’s natural beauty and help protect it from weathering. Properly stained tables also have a much longer lifespan, lasting for years and even decades when cared for properly. When you stain your picnic table, you can choose from a variety of colors and finishes so you can customize it to fit your outdoor décor perfectly.

How to Stain a Picnic Table

There are several advantages to staining a picnic table. First, it helps protect the wood from rain, sun damage, and other elements that can cause fading or discoloration.

Staining also provides an attractive finish that can add to your outdoor space’s overall look. Additionally, if you choose a high-quality stain, it will provide an extra layer of protection against wear and tear. In this blog post, You will learn how to stain a picnic table.

Step-by-Step Processes for How to Stain a Picnic Table

Step 1: Inspect the Picnic Table

Take an assessment of the picnic table and inspect it for damage, such as splintering wood or loose screws. If there is any damage, take precautions to fix it before staining. Buy a bottle of stain, preferably one that matches the color of other outdoor furniture. Prepare brushes, rags, sandpaper and a drop cloth to protect the ground beneath the picnic table.

Step 2: Clean the Surface of the Table

Sweep away dirt and debris from the surface using a brush or vacuum cleaner. If there are any stubborn stains on the wood, try scrubbing them with warm soapy water. Allow it to dry completely before beginning to stain. Use medium-grit sandpaper to rub the surface of the table gently. This will rough out any splintering wood and create an even base for staining.

 Using a Brush or Vacuum Cleaner

Step 3: Remove Dust Particles

Wipe away all the dust particles from the surface of the picnic table with a rag or brush. Make sure that this is done before proceeding to the next step. Using a brush or cotton rag, apply the stain evenly across the table’s surface.

Make sure to move with gentle strokes and cover all areas of the wood. Allow it to settle for at least 15 minutes before wiping away any excess stains with a cloth.

Step 4: Allow the Stain to Dry

Let the table sit for at least 24 hours before applying a second coat of stain. This will allow enough time for the wood to fully absorb the first layer of stain and ensure it dries evenly. Once the first coat is completely dry, use fine-grit sandpaper to lightly sand the wood. This will help create a smoother surface and allow for better absorption of the second layer of stain.

Step 5: Re-apply Stain

Repeat the steps, applying a second coat of stain with a brush or rag. Allow it to dry for at least 24 hours before proceeding to the next step. After the stain is completely dried, applying a protective coating is important.

Applying a Second Coat of Stain

This will help keep the table looking new for longer and protect it from wear and tear. Use a brush or rag to apply polyurethane, lacquer, sealer, or varnish; follow the instructions on the packaging for best results.

Once all steps have been completed, your picnic table is ready to enjoy. Remember to take proper care of the wood and reapply protective coatings as needed.

Safety Tips for How to Stain a Picnic Table

  1. Wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, gloves, and safety glasses when staining a picnic table to protect from debris and chemical hazards.
  2. Make sure the surface of the picnic table is free from dirt or dust before beginning to stain.
  3. If using a wood cleaner or brightener on the picnic table, make sure to follow the instructions on the label exactly.
  4. If you use a brush to apply the stain, it is best to use an old brush that won’t shed bristles during application.
  5. Always work in a well-ventilated area and avoid breathing in fumes from the stain.
  6. Keep the stain away from children and pets who might be exposed to it.
  7. After staining, make sure to dispose of rags or paintbrushes properly and wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Keep the Stain Away From Children

These safety tips should be kept in mind when staining a picnic table so that you can stay safe while working. Staining a picnic table can give it an entirely new look and liven up your backyard or patio area.

What Type of Wood is Best for Staining a Picnic Table?

The best wood for staining a picnic table is pressure-treated lumber. Pressure-treated lumber has been treated with chemicals that make it more durable and resistant to insects, moisture, and rot.

The treatment process also makes it easier to apply stains and other finishes evenly since the chemical treatment saturates all wood surfaces evenly. Cedar and redwood are also good options for staining, but they tend to be more expensive.

Whichever type of wood you choose, it should be free of knots and other blemishes so the stain or finish will look its best. Additionally, ensure that the wood is completely dry before applying any type of finish; this will help ensure smooth and even coverage. Once you’ve chosen the right wood, it’s time to move on to staining your picnic table.

How Many Coats of Stain Should Be Applied to the Picnic Table Surface? 

The number of coats you should apply to a picnic table when staining will vary depending on the stain type. For most types of wood stains, one coat is usually sufficient. However, some wood surfaces may need multiple coats to achieve the desired color and finish that you’re looking for. Additional coats can be applied if needed until you are happy with the results.

Allow ample time for proper drying between coats. After each coat is applied, make sure to lightly sand the surface with a fine grit of sandpaper before applying the next coat.

This will help to ensure that each layer of stain bonds properly and evenly to the wood’s surface. Additionally, be sure that you are selecting a stain that is appropriate for the type of wood you are working with and the desired effect you wish to achieve. Different types of stains can produce vastly different results, so it’s important to make sure that you choose a stain that will produce the look you want.

How Long Does the Staining Process Take? 

Staining a picnic table is not an overly-time consuming project. Depending on the condition of the picnic table and the type of stain used, it can take anywhere from 1 to 3 hours to complete. Before staining, you should clean and sand the wood surface of your table thoroughly to achieve a smooth finish once you apply the stain.

This process can take approximately an hour. After cleaning and sanding, you should apply the stain according to the instructions on the package. Once all surfaces have been stained, you should wait at least 4-6 hours before applying a sealer. The sealing process will add an additional 1-2 hours, depending on the product used.

How Do You Clean Up After Staining a Picnic Table? 

Once you’ve finished staining your picnic table, a bit of clean-up is required. To ensure that the stain goes on evenly and looks great, it is important to clean up after staining. The first step is to take a dry cloth or paper towel and wipe away any excess stain from the table’s surface – this will help prevent any streaks or unevenness.

 Wipe Away Any Excess Stain

Be sure to use a lint-free cloth so that you don’t have any unsightly shreds of material stuck to the table.

Once you’ve wiped away any excess stain, you should also clean out your paintbrush and other tools used in the staining process.

This can be done with warm, soapy water and a sponge or rag. After cleaning the brush and other tools, ensure they are dried thoroughly before storing them away. Finally, protecting your newly stained table from the elements is important by covering it with a waterproof cover when not in use.

How Often Should You Re-stain Your Picnic Table? 

Once you’ve stained your picnic table, it will need to be re-stained regularly to keep looking its best. There is no hard and fast rule on how often this should be done – it depends on the climate and weather conditions in which your picnic table is located.

In general, if you live in a very humid or rainy environment, you will need to re-stain your picnic table more often than if you live in a drier climate.

It is also important to consider what type of stain and sealant you us,e as some last longer than others. If your picnic table is exposed to the elements, it should be re-stained at least once a year. If you keep it in a sheltered area, you could probably get away with re-staining it every two to three years. In either case, if you notice excessive weathering or the stain’s color fading, it is time for a new coat.


In conclusion, staining a picnic table can be an enjoyable and rewarding project. It doesn’t take much time or money, but the results are worth it! With the right materials and careful preparation, you can quickly transform your plain picnic table into a classic outdoor statement piece.

Be sure to follow all safety instructions when using any chemicals, and remember that patience is key – it’s best to take your time and do a thorough job for the best results. I hope reading this post has helped you learn how to stain a picnic table. Make sure the safety precautions are carried out in the order listed.

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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