The perfect posh picnic table

We didn’t have a picnic table last summer, but it wasn’t for lack of trying.

We almost bought a moderately-discounted one at the beginning of the season, but it just seemed like a lot of money for a pile of wood and a few screws. I was certain we’d be able to get a better deal on one soon.

Well, fast forward three months later, and we still didn’t have a picnic table. They never did go on sale again, and I was too stubborn to give in. So at the beginning of this summer, you can bet we snatched one up at the first inkling of sale!

Once it was put together, I considered just staining the whole thing. But then I saw an inspiring photo on, and decided to try my hand at two-toning it.

After all, our porch and deck are two-toned — stain on the horizontal surfaces, white paint on the vertical posts and rails — so they should probably all match, right? (In my world, yes.)

Here’s how I did it:

  • I grabbed a leftover can of stain (from staining our sandbox last summer) and brushed a bit across a small section of the table. I let it soak in for a few seconds, and then wiped it with a rag. Staining is much easier than painting, isn’t it? I repeated the process until the full table and both benches were done, and it didn’t take long at all.
  • Then I used some leftover white exterior paint (from doing the deck railings last summer) to brighten up the legs of the picnic table. I’m not going to sugar-coat it — it was difficult to reach the underside parts. You don’t realize how many random cross-pieces a picnic table has until you’re sweating and contorting to reach them with a brush. I really should have painted the pieces before assembling — or waiting until the stain was dry, so I could have flipped the table over — but patience is not really my thing.
  • Once the white was dry, I did a few touch-ups — and, you know, yanked out the patches of grass that were coated in globs of white paint — and then I was done!

I love projects that I can start and finish in a single afternoon, especially when I can use up materials we have on hand.

We’ve had some BBQ dinners outside on our new table so far, and it’s been great. We had absolutely no seating in our backyard before, so it’s nice to have a spot to sit down, chat with the neighbours, and watch the kids race around the yards.

This project may have another chapter, though. I’ve been thinking of adding something new to the center of the picnic table, like a monogram. I might cut out a paper stencil and paint it on with white, or possibly burn the design into the tabletop.

My husband has a soldering iron that I’d like to steal and mess around with — uh, I mean “that I’d like to borrow, use responsibly, and then carefully put back in its place.”


So what do you think?

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