Reviving an old picnic table with a freshly painted design is sure to inspire outdoor meals and entertainment. Themes for painting picnic tables range from bright, bold summer colors to subtle, rustic tones that compliment nature's autumn backdrop. The large surface of a classic picnic table presents a prime opportunity to get creative with colors without having to worry about imperfections or big color commitments.
Nothing says summer like a red, white and blue picnic table. Paint the slats on the surface of a picnic table in alternating red and white stripes. The key is to keep it simple. However, for an all-out patriotic theme, paint the benches blue, allow them to dry thoroughly overnight, then paint 50 white stars (25 on each side) on the benches. Star stencils or star shaped sponges are readily available at most craft stores. Design professionals at Martha Stewart recommend using an exterior semi-gloss paint for more shine. Though picnic table slats are ready-made outlines for painting, it's also a good idea to tape off the inside edges of the slats to keep paint colors from straying.
Natural Wood and Brick Red
For a rustic theme, paint only the top portions of a picnic table brick red and leave the legs, brace bars and underside a natural-wood color. The contrast imparts a subtle rugged look that blends well with every season, especially fall and winter. This is one of the easiest paint jobs for a picnic table because color is applied with a roller. For a distressed look, add imperfections to the legs and paint finish with a rock or hammer and allow paint to wear naturally over time.
Coordinated With Home's Exterior
Paint a picnic table with colors that match your home's exterior. Give the table's surface the darkest color from your home's color scheme, and paint the benches the same color as the lightest base color on your home. For example, a sage green house with dark brown trim calls for a dark brown picnic table surface with sage green benches, cross bars and legs. This theme creates backyard continuity and a clean look for old picnic tables that need new life.
A white-washed picnic table adds a touch of casual country appeal to any outdoor dining event. This look calls for a water-based white latex. Mixing two parts paint and one part water gives paint a translucent consistency that allows the picnic table's natural wood to show through. Brush on the paint with light stokes, coating the entire surface. The result is a picnic table that exudes effortless "farmhouse" charm.