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Picnic Bench Makeover

Picnic Bench Makeover

Hi and welcome back to a new tutorial ,using a really effective technique to create a design under stain.

Recently I started to create a garden, from scratch, in our new home . We built a patio, pergola, firepit area and garden shed bar . You can see  this project highlighted on my Instagram Account.  Then I  looked at our picnic bench and thought…wow you need a makeover worse than me lol lol . You will see the BEFORE in the video below.


So the first thing I set about doing was taking it apart. I no longer wanted to be stepping over a bench to sit down and I wanted a little more comfort. I had bought four wicker chairs last year for only 50e and wanted to use them for this table in the summer. Yes of course they will rot if I leave them out all year, but the intention is for them to be out under the covered pergola ,for the summer months only.  There are links to products in this post but only the ones I stock. Other products are available nationwide.


After taking the benches off the table and putting the legs back on straight, so they didn’t stick out , I decided to prime and paint the under side. I primed the wood in the oil based bloxx it  and then painted it in the new outdoor paint from Fleetwood Paints call Superflex and is available in most Fleetwood stockists around the country ( Ireland) . You can get this paint tinted into any colour you want, so I chose one of my own colours. Shabby Vintage Lace, its an off white. 

You will see the application in the video, but basically I rolled on both the primer and the paint with the 4 inch microfibre rollers and I used this sanding pad in between coats to to give a lovely flat finish.

Before I could stain, I sanded the table top as there was paint etc on it from lots of other projects. It started to look better already . If you want to know more detail about staining you can see this blog post HERE.. How To Get The Perfect Stain Every Time. 

But here’s a quick few tips that are all covered in the video below.

  • You must be working with raw wood
  • If you are sanding back a pre painted or varnished piece of furniture , you will  have used a medium or coarse sandpaper to remove the coats of paint.
  • You MUST then go up the grades of paper finishing with a fine or superfine to close the grain .
  •  I usually finish with this 500grit pad ( have a few to hand, as once you use them they will become an invaluable part of your projects ). The wood then goes from feeling rough to feeling quite smooth. You have started to close the grain you opened when sanding, When you are happy with the FEEL of the wood, you will know the stain will flow more evenly and absorb more evenly
  • Applying the stain with a sponge brush like THIS will ensure a smooth application and you can rub the stain in and off, there is no need for a cloth to RUB OFF THE EXCESS. However if you are using a bristle brush you should have a cloth to hand for the excess.
  • When thoroughly dry you can apply varnish to seal, Then rub lightly over  the surface with THIS sanding pad again. This totally closes the grain and the wood will feel and good as it looks.

Then I grabbed this A5 Stencil ( one of the range of stencils we sell on  and painted a stencil design onto the raw wood. When stencilling I always recommend using a repositionable spray. This will ensure you don’t get any bleed through. I used a stencil brush but you can also use a roller. Be sure to remove excess paint on some paper of kitchen roll before applying to the stencil.

When I had the pattern complete I was ready to stain.  The stain will NOT cover paint, so you will be able to see the stencil design through it. The stain I used was the exterior stain from Fleetwood Paints and I finished with yacht varnish, although you do not have to varnish over this stain. I only did so, because we use this table a lot for eating outside in the summer and all kinds of spills end up on it. Also It has rained a LOT since doing this table and the rain has just sat on top, not penetrating the wood at all. The colour of the stain was a mix of natural oak and a dark brown .

Now here is the video tutorial. Enjoy and tag if  I have inspired you to give it a go.

Follow me in Instagram for a lot more projects and tutorials.

Aileen Hogan of ( • Instagram photos and videos

Aileen x



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