picnic table

Since we finished rebuilding the porch, I’ve been brainstorming furniture for outside entertainment. I knew I wanted furniture, but didn’t really want anything that I’d have to clean often or would potentially house pests or pollen. I wanted something simple, something that I could hose off, but was practical for entertaining. After looking on Craigslist for a table and chairs, I decided it’d be easier and cheaper for Justin to build me something I liked. I added “picnic table” to Justin’s to-do list and moved on. Well last Saturday whenever I went to pick-up paint for my girl’s room, I noticed Lowe’s had a special on picnic tables for $88. With a quick text message, I convinced Justin we needed this table and to pick it up on his way home. $88, I mean can you beat it? We couldn’t even purchase the wood for that amount!

It only took me about an hour to realize I wanted to paint and stain it. At first, Justin was totally against it – only because he thinks I paint everything, which may be true. Either way, I had a vision and I wanted to do it immediately.



  • apple cider vinegar
  • a cup of coffee (black)
  • steel wool
  • a sample of your favorite paint
  • a sander (or sandpaper)

After discovering this weird concoction while working on a project for my Etsy shop, it’s become my go-to when working on old, weathered projects. Seriously, I have used it a bazillion times. It’s cheap, simple, and works amazingly, but… it smells horrendous. You mix one cup of coffee, one cup of apple cider vinegar, and let a handful of steel wool sit in the mixture for about 15-20 minutes. Rub this concoction on (with the steel wool or paint with a brush) whatever you’d like stained and voila, you’ve got a beautiful stained piece of work.

*Tip: Wear gloves or your cuticles and nails will be black from the mixture. I never learn. It’s been days and I still look like I’ve been digging in the mud!

I applied this concoction to the legs and base of the picnic table. Then, Justin informed me that I should seal it to protect it from the weather – so apply one coat of whatever sealant you prefer to the entire table. I couldn’t tell you what we used, but I recommend clear. Ours had a bit of an orange hue.

Next, paint the tabletop and bench top of the table – I used Embellished Blue by Sherwin Williams. It’s the color of our dining room and I couldn’t love it more.


Once the paint has dried, sand over it to give it a weathered look. I used a hand sander, but sandpaper would work too – it just may take more time.

Overall this project could have been completed in an afternoon, but we had a wedding to attend, so it took me two afternoons to complete. Also, it’s a fairly cheap project to tackle. I always purchase the sample size paint from Lowe’s, which is about $3 and save there. And the other items for staining, I keep on hand.

Since purchasing and completing this project, I’m happy to say it’s become our dinner table. Aside from the nights it’s rained, we’ve been enjoying these longer days and dinner outside. It’s been amazing!

So, what do you think? Would you tackle this paint project?


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