It’s Frugal Friday and here’s a whopper! We’ve had our wicker patio furniture for about 8 years and it spent the first 6 years of its life exposed to the elements. It’s held up well despite being a Walmart clearance special! Nonetheless, the cushions really started to bother me this year. They were old, faded, and completely outdated. My gut hurt looking at these ugly things. To make matters worse, I could see them from my kitchen (where I spend most of my time), so my gut was hurting a lot. I researched some options, which were all too expensive. Who knew replacement outdoor cushions were SO expensive?! In the end, I decided to transform my patio furniture cushions with paint! This was SO MUCH CHEAPER than all other options. I can’t wait to share how to paint your patio seat cushions and transform your patio for less than $50!
This sounds crazy. Yes. I looked into reupholstering the cushions with outdoor fabric, but because I have 8 large cushions, it was going to cost $130 in fabric alone, plus sewing time. A new similar furniture set would cost about $400 and new cushions were out of the question. New cushions cost almost as much as replacing the whole set, plus I could not find anything big enough. I was not about to spend $400 on this thing. Our current furniture is in great condition and has good “bones” as they say.
I was desperate. Finally, after months of moping around (discouraged and eating too much ice cream), I googled “can you paint patio seat cushions?” I laughed as I typed thinking it was a crazy idea. I found two tutorials…that was about it. I was nervous because, well, only two people have every tried this and blogged about it?!! My favorite tutorial was from 11 Magnolia Lane. This motivated me to go for it! After all, how much worse could these cushions get anyway?
The before and The After
Paint Your Patio Seat Cushions!
- Paint. I used Olympic Icon outdoor paint in a flat finish (from Lowe’s). I picked this because it only cost about $21 for a gallon and I could pick my own color. I believe any type paint will work fine. The other couple tutorials used different paint and they turned out great too. (Color: Valspar Rushing Stream 5005-10B)
- Paint Brush. My grandpa loaned me his Wooster, so that was free!
- Fabric Medium/Textile Medium. I used Martha Stewart brand from Michael’s. I ran out, so had to get more at Hobby Lobby. It was a different brand, but the same price and worked the same. Fabric/Textile Medium is the ingredient that makes the paint flexible and washable for fabric. It prevents painted fabric from cracking and can be used with acrylic or latex paints.
I used 3 Fabric Medium Bottles @ $5.99 each= $17.97
- Sand Paper. I used an old piece from my garage. Free!
- Sponge and bowl of Water. This is to lightly wet the fabric surface as you paint so the paint spreads easier.
- Pillows…if you want. I planned to make 2 from a shower curtain ($19.99). I ended up finding 2 clearance outdoor pillows at Target for $5 each, so I returned the shower curtain. Win!
- Patience. This project took me 2 days to complete and my tush was bruised from sitting on my concrete patio to paint, so use a tush cushion! I used a gardening knee pad the second day on my tush and was so much more comfortable!
Total Cost: $48.97!
How To Paint Your Patio Cushions:
- Clean your cushions. I attacked mine with the water hose sprayer and clorox wipes. Then let dry overnight.
- Mix paint, fabric/textile medium, and water You’ll need a separate bowl for this. I used 1 part medium: 1 part paint: 1/2 part water. This created a more liquid texture. As one of the tutorials put it, the texture was similar to milk.
- Lightly wet the fabric with a damp sponge. This allows the paint to spread easier. I only did this before the first coat of paint, as the paint spread easily on subsequent coats.
- Get painting. Just go for it! My project (and the tutorials I read) took 4 thin coats of paint. Thin coats are key.
- You will want to sand your cushions between some of the coats to add extra fabric flexibility. I sanded between coats 3 & 4. You may want to do more, depending on your liking.
- Let your paint dry between coats. I had so many cushions to paint, by the time I went through with a coat, the first ones I’d painted were already dry so I could literally just make an assembly line, flip them over, and continuously paint without taking breaks. If you paint on a warm sunny day, this helps:-)
Here is my first coat and second coat side-by-side. I had a panic attack and “oh crap, what have I done?” moment, so don’t panic if your first coat looks terrible. Second coat was looking better!
Here is the second and third coat side by side. This is when I got brave enough to invite my husband over to look. He thought I was a genius. Don’t let your skeptical significant other see your first coat or they’ll think you’re a crazy person wasting your time.
The final result! I also spray painted my wicker furniture black, which really helped! That was lightning speed compared to painting 8 large cushions + 2 pillows front and back. I used 3 cans of black spray paint @ 3.97 each.
And just for kicks, I decided to enjoy my new-to-me patio set by having a summer snack!
This entire project cost me less than $65 if you include the spray paint, which is optional. ! It would have cost me $130-$400 to reupholster or replace this set. Now that’s frugal!
Now, I know you are smart people and will have some smart questions about this venture. For example, do the cushions crack when you sit on them and are they comfortable? The cushions are just a slight bit firmer than they were in the first place, they don’t crack when you sit on them, and they are just as comfortable as they were to begin with. Once the paint dries, it’s dry, and it will not come off on your clothes or anything else.
I must note that our patio is usually a wasps magnet, but for some reason, I was not approached by a single wasp or bee the entire 2 days I sat out there painting. It’s a natural wasp repellant! Hallelujah! It did attract some flies though. I was okay with that. We are planning to put up a screen soon, so no big deal. I don’t know if it was the paint I used or what, but the flies loved me out there painting!