What Kind of Spray Paint Can Be Used on a Wooden Table?


An old, beaten up piece of furniture isn't necessarily destined for the dumpster just because its finish is worn. Many thrift-store junkies revel in taking these pieces and transforming them using spray paint. Two or three cans later, the piece in question looks like it just came out of a wood shop. A variety of paints can be used to refinish wooden tables, depending on the needs of the person doing the work.

Spray Paint 101

  • Spray paint get its spray capability from hydrofluorocarbons, which act as propellants. The paint itself is similar to the paint you buy in 1- or 5-gallon cans, but the delivery system is where spray paint shines. For small projects, such as refinishing a wooden table, spray paint can produce thin coats of paint that -- when applied correctly -- does not drip or collect on ornamental features.

Preparing the Surface

  • Before spray painting a wooden table, apply a primer. Primers also come in spray cans, making the job very simple. Water-based primers are easier to clean up than oil-based paints, but still provide the same sealant and adhesive properties. If you are using a dark color, a coat of similarly colored primer can make the painting process much faster. Most often a single coat of primer is all that is necessary.

Types of Spray Paint

  • There are two types of spray paint that can be used on wood. A general purpose enamel spray paint is the most common, often labeled as indoor/outdoor or multi-use. These paints come in a variety of finishes, from matte to high gloss. New developments in aerosol paint technology has enabled a latex paint to be successfully placed in a can. Currently, this environmentally friendly paint is only available from Krylon.


  • After going through all the trouble to spray paint your table, you want the finish to last. Tables get a lot of wear and tear, applying an additional sealant is warranted. Be careful when applying a polyurethane-based coating to a white or light-colored table, however, as these products tend to yellow over time. Polyacrylic is recommended for spray painted furniture because it does not yellow.

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