DIY colorful, weathered picnic table

DIY Colorful, weathered picnic table with a dark stain

We bought this picnic table a year ago because we needed something for the back deck and didn’t want to be limited by the number of chairs around the table. One more can always squeeze in! And we’ve loved it. But I couldn’t decide for the life of me what I wanted to do to finish it. I kept going back and forth between staining versus painting it, but I couldn’t decide what would wear best and be worth my time. So of course I decided to go with probably the most complicated route and decided to both paint AND stain it!

Best decision ever! And it wasn’t even that hard! 

Aaaaand now it even looks like we meant to leave it outside for a beating last year 😉

DIY Colorful, weathered picnic table with a dark stain

We didn’t have to pay a dime for this project! I mean we did… at one point… But nothing was bought specifically for the project this year. We used materials, stains, and paints that we already had lying around the house! The yellow paint was from my front door, and the white was from around my house! The green, blue, and maroon were from my parents’ house! And the stain was the same color we used for our open shelving project earlier this year in our kitchen!

The nice thing about going with colors and stains that we already had, was that they were already my style and go along with the current look around my house!

DIY Colorful, weathered picnic table with a dark stain

DIY Colorful, Weathered Picnic Table:

1. Keep the table in a dry place.

We moved our table to the garage to keep it dry for a few more days after it dried out in the hot sun!

2. Sand the table.

I used an electric sander and mostly focused on the top of the table and benches.

3. Lightly apply the white paint.

I kept my strokes in line with the boards and applied sparingly. The goal is not to cover the whole board. It’s just to make it look like maybe at one point in time the board used to be covered. So make sure to paint all the way past the edges a few times.

4. Lightly paint the other colors.

Same rules apply as the with the white paint.

5. Sand.

I used sandpaper to hand sand the colors down so I could see the grain of the wood through the paint. Some spots needed more work than others, but you really can’t mess up this step!

6. Stain.

This step is once the paint has dried of course. When staining over the paint, I stained only two boards at a time. When I finished the second board, I went back to the first and wiped any excess stain off the board. I rubbed the paint for a while to get all the stain off the paint.

7. Polyurethane.

I used a brush and applied over the whole table.

8. Sand and apply a second coat.

I haven’t yet, but I plan on taking a light sand paper over the whole table and applying a second coat to at least the part that gets a beating from the weather. And this is the step that I will repeat next year for extra protective measure and upkeep.



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  • OMG I love that table! The colors are so bright and fun! Amazing job!

    Sandy a la Mode

    • Morgan Leigh

      Thank you! It’s such a fun addition to our back deck!