How to Redo a Dining Room Table With Gel Stain

5 Materials
5 Hours

I want to share with you how to paint a dining room table and chairs! I have used paint and gel stain for my last two client orders. The orders have been dining room tables and chairs! 14 chairs between the two sets. Lots of painting but I have some tips and tricks to share with you that will make the process of painting your dining room table and chairs simple, affordable, time saving and give you a lasting finish!

Table before

Steps to Painting a Dining Room Table and Chairs

Begin with a clean surface. Look table and chairs over thoroughly for any food that may have been left behind and wipe clean. (It’s important to remove anything that may be stuck to the table because it will show up raised underneath your painted finish.) I typically use a shop towel and water to wipe the table and chairs clean. If table and chairs seems very greasy I will clean with  TSP and rinse with water.

Once surfaces are clean dip paint brush into the paint and begin to add a first coat of paint to the table and chairs. Paint with the grain going in up and down motions.

Adding first coat of paint

When the first coat of paint is dry you are ready to add a second coat of paint. Repeat in the same pattern as you did with the first coat of paint. This table took about three coats of  Dixie Belle Buttercream. You may also need up to three coats of paint depending on the color of your original surface. 

TIP: Seal the painted surface with a clear finishing wax OR a waterbased poly!

Once you have painted the table legs and chairs you are ready to apply the gel stain! General Finishes Java Gel stain is one of my most favorite products to use. It is EXTREMELY durable and beautiful!

Dip your foam brush into the Java Gel stain and going with the grain begin to apply the Java gel stain. It’s important to go with the grain. Add one coat and let it dry. When the first coat of gel stain is dry you are ready to apply a second coat of gel stain. Going with the grain again add a second coat of gel stain. You want to make sure that you can not see the original finish of the table. I like to let this final coat dry overnight.

Applying first coat of gel stain

After the final coat of Java Gel stain has dried overnight you are ready to seal the table top! I used General Finishes Gel Stain topcoat! I LOVE this topcoat! It goes on super shiny and even when dry it looks shiny and wet but will be completely dry and beautiful! 

Apply the Gel Stain topcoat with a foam brush. You want to make sure you apply the topcoat in an up and down motion. Let first coat of gel stain topcoat dry and repeat the same process adding a second coat. Two coats works very well and is extremely durable!

Applying GF gel stain topcoat

After this step your tabletop is complete! Let table dry overnight. I like to add two coats of the gel topcoat for extra durability. Great job!! You did it!!

I’m also recommending you check out this post by The Budget Decorator! She has a great post on MANY different tabletop makeovers! They will inspire you!

Do you have any questions about how to paint a table top and chairs? If so leave a comment below!

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Frequently asked questions

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3 of 26 questions
  • Doreen Doreen on Sep 21, 2021

    Nice. Where r the chairs?

  • K Conlon K Conlon on Sep 21, 2021

    Why did you use the butter cream paint first

  • Virginia Smith Virginia Smith on Sep 21, 2021

    I want to redo my table do I need to remove paint before a I try your technique. Love your table that’s how I want mine too look



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7 of 37 comments
  • Mary Russell Mary Russell on Jul 18, 2021

    I guess I just don't understand,a person goes out,buys a nice wood table to enjoy,but when wear and tear start to show,instead of refinishing it like it it was originally,they slather on some quick,easy 'paint';I.E.'stain'covering.

    • See 3 previous
    • Baxter Baxter on Sep 21, 2021

      You can paint a wood table, and later, if you want to go back to original wood finish, just strip the paint off and refinish the wood. You can change anything you choose---paint, stain...even the way you comment. Nice job.

  • Jenny Jenny on Sep 21, 2021

    Can you paint and stain the table top? I love the cream colour you chose for the chairs and then stain or use another “shiny” top coat? Gloss? The chairs are GORGEOUS! 😊

    • Megan Megan on Sep 21, 2021

      Hi Jenny! It's best to paint OR stain the table top. A paint and stain on top might be too much. So glad you like the cream color! Yes you can use a shiny top coat. I would recommend an oil based gel stain top coat! :)