Pretty in paint: how to paint an outdoor picnic table

Your outdoor furniture does not have to be boring. After you’ve bought your perfect pieces, you can perk them up with a little bit of paint and some DIY knowledge. If you want to pull your backyard together but are not sure how, painting your garden furniture in matching colours can do the trick. You can start with your picnic table and then move onto your matching wooden bench to create a synchronised look.

You could look for a picnic table and wooden benches for sale so that the style is matched when you paint them or look out for garden benches for sale in a different style for an eclectic touch. A picnic table and garden bench can be the focal point of your yard or simply enhance the greenery surrounding them. Below are some top tips on how to make your picnic table pretty in paint.

Start by cleaning the table

Cleaning your picnic table and wooden benches is the most important step to take when painting it. Start by mixing some dishwashing liquid with warm water into a bucket and mix it well together. Look for a sponge that is not too abrasive but that will be able to remove dirt and stains from the wood.

Once you have scrubbed the entire table and benches, you will need to let it dry completely before moving on to the next step. You might have to wash it again in order to fully remove all dirt, so that when you paint over the surface it is clean and does not bubble or flake. Avoid using harsh chemicals which could strip the wood or cause damage to it.

Move on to sanding it down

Once the picnic table and benches are completely dry, you can sand these down. Start with fine sandpaper to remove light stains and splintered patches, if necessary. Once this is done, sand the wood again with medium-grain sandpaper to make the surface smooth and grit free.

After sanding everything down, wipe the wood with a damp cloth to remove any grit or remaining wood fibres. You will need to let it dry for a second time, as it is not advisable to paint damp wood. If there are any scratches or pitting, sand over these again, wipe them down and let them dry. This might sound like a lengthy process, but it will give you stunning end results once you are done.

Next up: perfect priming

The table should be dry and smooth to the touch, which means that you can move on to painting it with a high-quality primer. Paint small, tricky areas with a smaller and more angled brush so that you reach every crevice, then use a bigger brush for the larger surface areas.

After each layer of primer, you will need to wait for it to dry and then sand the wood once again. You should aim for at least three layers of primer, with the final layer being sanded too. After wiping away all dust and letting the surface dry, you can move on to painting the table with the paint of your choice. Priming the wood is vital if it is going to be used outdoors, so be sure to perform this process properly and remember to sand it after each layer has dried.

Paint it up

Once your primer has dried completely, you can paint your furniture. Be sure that the paint you have chosen for the furniture is suitable for harsh outdoor conditions. If you want a fun and vibrant outdoor space, choose bright colours such as coral or yellow.

For a more subdued aesthetic, opt for a grey or dark brown paint. You will need to be sure that you sand the wood lightly between each layer to ensure that the paint sticks properly to the wood. Two coats of paint are ideal for a wooden picnic table and bench set, as this will allow it to last longer. You can finish it off with varnish for a proper seal against the weather. But if you prefer a more rustic look, you can leave the paint as is or decide not to paint the table at all.

Always remember after-care

One of the most important things to remember about painting wooden picnic or patio furniture is the after-care. You will need to cover it up when not in use and if the weather is bad. Remember to perform regular checks of all patio, garden and picnic furniture for any damage from insects or moisture.

If you see that there is damage such as wood borer holes or rot, you will need to sand that area, treat it and cover it with weatherproof sealant. This will ensure that it does not become damaged again and that it does not become wearied or aged. You can ask your local timber yard for tips on how to maintain your wooden furniture or ask them to have a look at problems you are not sure how to fix.