To paint a table, clean it, make any repairs, sand the surface, prime the table, and then paint it. Protect the finish, and apply a topcoat.
- Clean the table
Wipe down the table with a damp rag. If the table is dirty, clean it with Murphy's Oil Soap or mineral spirits.
- Repair the table
Fill in any small holes with wood filler. For larger dents, use an auto-body filler, such as Bondo. Let the filler dry, and then shape the areas with sandpaper. If the legs are loose, check for missing screws, and replace them.
- Sand the surface
Using your hands or a palm sander, lightly sand the entire surface of the table with 150-grit sandpaper. Avoid exposing the bare wood, and only sand enough to smooth the surface. To clean off the dust, wipe the table with a damp rag.
- Apply a primer
Brush or spray on a primer that is suitable for sanding. Let the first coat dry, and then sand it. Apply a second coat, and let it dry before sanding again.
- Paint the table
To avoid brush strokes, spray on paint or colored lacquer. Let the first coat dry, and then sand it. Apply one or more coats, sanding between each one.
- Seal the finish
To protect the paint from damage, brush or spray on a lacquer or polyurethane sealant. Allow the first coat to dry, and then apply a second one.