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DIY Stained Picnic Table

This stained picnic table looks a million times better after just a few hours of work! My in-laws gave us this picnic table a few months ago and I’ve been dying to give it a refresh! It’s 20+ years old, so over time the wood has gotten dirty and grayed. Amanda offered to help me revive it and with a bit of hard work, we were able to make this table look new again! 

A quick trip to Home Depot was all I needed to get my supplies and get started! 

stained picnic table

Step 1: Clean

I used Behr’s All-In-One Wood Cleaner to clean all of the dirt and grime off my picnic table! I followed the instructions on the label and used ½ of a 2-gallon bottle.

First, I mixed 1 gallon of the cleaner with 1 gallon of water in a pump sprayer.

To start cleaning, I first wet the table down with water.  Then I liberally sprayer the table down for about 7-10 minutes, until I ran out of the mixture.

refinish picnic table
stained picnic table

Then I used a bristle brush to scrub the heck out of the table! It took about 15 minutes of very hard scrubbing for Amanda & I to get the table clean. Once we finished scrubbing, I hosed it down for another 5 minutes to get the cleaner off and left the table to dry for 24 hours. 

Note: Behr recommends cleaning the table out of direct sunlight. This is because you don’t want the table to dry while you are cleaning it.  It was brutally hot when we cleaned my table and I definitely recommend trying to early morning or evening time! My table did start to dry, but we were able to spray more water onto it while scrubbing to keep it wet.

Step 2: Apply Stain

Once the table had fully dried out, I applied Behr’s Transparent Waterproofing Wood Finish in Clear.  This is technically made for fences and decks but in my opinion, picnic tables fall into that family! To stain the entire table took about 1/2 a quart.

stained picnic table

I used a 2” Chip Paint Brush to apply the finish in the cracks and then went over the top of the boards with a 3/8 nap roller.  I applied two coats, allowing it to dry for 1 hour between applications.

This was such an easy weekend project, and my picnic table looks brand new!! Cleaning the table is definitely dirty work, so be prepared to jump into a pool or a shower after you finish!

DIY Stained Picnic Table Links

stained picnic table

DIY Stained Picnic Table

Build Time 3 hours
Dry Time 1 day


  • Pump Sprayer
  • Bristle Brush
  • 2” Chip Paint Brush
  • 3/8 nap roller


  • Behr All-In-One Wood Cleaner
  • Behr’s Transparent Waterproofing Wood Finish in Clear


  • Clean
  • Apply Stain
stained picnic table
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