DIY Painted Outdoor Cushions and a Paint Sprayer Giveaway

spray painted outdoor cushions
You all know that lately I’ve been performing some pretty daring experiments with fabric and paint, right?  Well, I’m here to tell you that yes, you can paint your outdoor cushions instead of shelling out the big bucks for replacement cushions, and I’m going to walk you through how I took my outdoor conversation set from this:

Outdoor cushions before painting
to this:

Spray painted outdoor fabric cushions
And stay with me to the end, because you’ll have an opportunity to enter our giveaway to win the same paint sprayer I used for this project:  the HomeRight FinishMax Pro Fine Finish Sprayer!

I loved our wicker conversation set, but it was almost six years old, and despite trying to be diligent about keeping it covered and/or out of the elements, the cushions were getting pretty faded.  You can see it in better days {here}, {here}, and {here}, in our three most recent houses (Why yes, we move quite often.  I always have new decorating material).  My first thought was to replace the cushions, but–hello–have you seen the prices for new cushions?!  It would cost almost as much as replacing the entire set, wicker and all!  So I started to think about painting them…

You’ll remember that I dipped my toe into the idea of painting fabric with my thrift store chair {here}:

painted-chair-after-long-001

And then I decided to try spray painting my front porch cushions (with plain old spray paint) here:

spray paint outdoor fabric cushions pillows can you

So, it really wasn’t much of a stretch to decide to try painting these cushions, right?  After all, what did I have to lose?

Having painted my gray chair using just a paint brush, I knew I didn’t want to tackle the outdoor cushions the same way.  For one, I was going to paint them white, so I knew it would probably take me at least three coats (that’s exactly what it did take, by the way).  Second, there were A LOT of them–eleven, to be exact.  Fortunately, I had just received my “care package” for May from the folks at HomeRight–their awesome new paint sprayer, the FinishMax Pro.  You can read about how I used their FinishMax {here} to paint my pencil-post bed with chalk paint.

The FinishMax Pro has the same hand-held spray gun, but it uses an air turbine to give you an amazingly smooth finish.  I’m going to show you a stock photo, since I don’t even have mine right now–I loaned it to a friend so she could paint her kitchen cabinets.  She knocked that project out in a day, by the way–seriously!

FinishMax 0385_retouched

So, here’s what I did.  First, I wiped the cushions off to make sure they were free from dust, pollen, and bird poop (yuck).  Then I set them up on boxes in my “spray booth,” aka my backyard.  Doesn’t everyone have Technicolor grass?!

outdoor-cushions-before-painting

I used the same fabric medium that I used on my gray chair–Martha Stewart.  The point of the fabric medium is to keep the paint pliable enough that your cushions won’t crack when you sit on them later!

If you can’t find fabric medium locally (I bought mine at Michael’s) here’s the Amazon link:

I bought a quart of paint at Home Depot–just off-the-shelf white.  I used an interior paint with an eggshell sheen, because I thought that might add to the water resistance of the finished product (water beads on them now, by the way).  In hindsight, I would have tinted it to an off-white instead of a pure white, just to make it less bright.

For reference, I used two quarts of paint for all eleven cushions, and seven bottles of 6 oz. fabric medium.

outdoor-cushions-supplies

I mixed paint, fabric medium, and water to a 1:1:1 ratio, and that was thin enough for the sprayer to handle easily.  Unlike my gray chair project, I did not spray the cushions with water first.  Since they’re outdoor cushions, they were water resistant, so the water didn’t soak into the fabric.

I sprayed one coat on with the FinishMax Pro, and then went back over it with a brush to catch any drips (there will be quite a few as you want to use lots of thin coats when you’re painting fabric so the end product isn’t stiff as a board). See them here:

outdoor-cushions-drips

I also used the brush to work the paint into the creases between the cushions and the cording.

outdoor-cushions-brush

When they dried, I flipped them over and repeated.  I also lightly sanded the rough patches in between coats.  I didn’t have to sand my gray chair, but some areas on the cushions required sanding.  I noticed that these tended to be the seat cushions, where the fabric was a bit more worn (and probably more fuzzy as that tends to “grab” paint).  This is what those areas looked like before sanding–and they felt like sandpaper!

outdoor-cushions-pilling

Here’s how it looks up close after painting and sanding:

outdoor-cushions-close

After three coats, the floral print was completely covered.  They are definitely less comfortable to sit on than my gray chair, but I am satisfied given that I just saved about $600 on new cushions.  They are comfortable enough, that’s for sure! They’re also pretty much waterproof–see how the water beads on them?  And that was only after the first coat!

water-beading

Here are a few more after shots.  I was glad to have this project finished before the big reception I hosted at my house a few weeks ago (read more about that here).

Outdoor seating conversation area
Backyard tent for a party!

DIY painted fabric outdoor cushions

DIY spray painted outdoor cushions

Don’t you love the lime green and white striped pillows and seat cushions?  Abbey at Online Fabric Store (OFS) sent me three yards of Premier Prints Outdoor Vertical Greenage Fabric and I used it to cover the seat cushions on our vintage wrought iron dining set and sew envelope-flap slipcovers for some of my outdoor pillows.  You can read more about the dining set {here}.  I love how crisp and summery the green looks with my new white cushions!

sheer curtains porch

I feel like I should mention the clean up with the FinishMax Pro.  It is a breeze!  I had actually never used a sprayer until about six months ago, and I was worried that there would be so many working parts to clean that it would eat up all the time I saved spraying vs. using a brush.  Not so at all!  It takes maybe five minutes, and it’s easy enough that you don’t have to look at the directions after you’ve done it once.

Want to win your own HomeRight FinishMax Pro spayer (a $124.99 value)?  I thought you might!  Here ya go:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you have more questions about painting fabric, then please read the tutorial on how I painted my gray chair {here} and the questions/answers post on painting upholstery fabric {here}.   You’ll probably find that most of your questions are answered in those two posts.

Disclaimer: As you all know, I am a HomeRight Brand Ambassador, and every month they give me a product to review and give away to you (yay!). While they give me a product and compensate me for the time it takes to try the product and write the post, the opinions are always my own. If I think the product is just “meh,” then I will tell you! Conversely, if I tell you that I think it’s ah-maz-ing, then I am dead serious and you should immediately run to the store to buy one! I included our Amazon affiliate link in this post; if you buy through that link we get a small commission (I will name my yacht after you). You don’t pay a cent more than you would otherwise.

Thanks for stopping by~

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Comments

  1. Jeannie Garcia-Buechele says:

    I am in Aww over the painted cushions, I have always wanted to do that but didn’t want the cushions to be still and uncomfortable. Looks like I have a new project on my bucket list 🙂

  2. OK, you talked me into it! I need to paint my cushions! They look awesome!
    Debbie

  3. I have a set of wicker furniture that was gifted to me. The cusions are in dire need of being replaced… Or maybe just repainted? Do you think the cusions were less comfortable because of the type of paint you used? My furniture is used in a sunroom, so it doesn’t have a need to be weatherproof.

    • Chelsea, while I don’t have personal experience with this, other bloggers have used chalk paint followed by clear wax and they say that their cushions are quite comfortable. At $35-$40 a quart, that was more than I wanted to pay for this particular project (although I love chalk paint in general), but you might consider going that route instead. Good luck!

  4. So glad to see this! Thanks for sharing. I have 4 chairs with a fire pit set, that I had recovered once at a very reasonable price, but the real cost was fabric that really didn’t match anything else (no choice) and extreme fading. The fabric is otherwise in good condition, and waterproof. I simply can’t afford to recover again, but have been wondering if painting might work. I just started using Chalk Paint on furniture with fabulous results, so I will probably try it despite the cost. A little goes a long way. The one element I could not figure out was how to keep the chalk paint durable and flexible outdoors. So, great to find out about the Martha Stewart fabric medium, and all the other details. Looking forward this project! Thanks again.

    • I’m so glad you found it helpful, Karen! One thing that I’ve also heard of, but haven’t tried myself, is using the Annie Sloan clear wax on the cushions when you’re done to soften them up a bit. If you try it, let me know how it works. Good luck with your project!

  5. Finally finished my own firepit set deep patio cushions, and the result is stunning, especially cnsidering I was about to toss them out. I did add a monogram using Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and applied a coat of her wax over it. The texture is silky. I used a Glidden outdoor latex in red, and the monogram is in Old White (I thought the Pure White would be highly light relective, and thus too bright). Wish I could post the before and after, but your blog was a great inspiration! Thanks!

    • Karen–they sounds beautiful! Thanks for letting me know! If you head over to our Facebook page (also 11 Magnolia Lane), you should be able to either post them to our timeline or message them to me. If you want me to share them with our readers on the Facebook page, I’m sure they’d love to see your before and afters–I know I would. Thanks!

  6. I have an indoor chair that I want to paint the cushions and wicker too. However, I want to move it outdoors. Would this process still work? Do I need to add something for the cushions as far as becoming water resistant?

    • I’m not sure, Crystal, but if it isn’t water repellant after you paint it, you could always Scotchguard the cushions as a final step. Let us know how it work for you, and good luck!

  7. Debbie miles says:

    Going for it!!! We got our beautiful faux wicker furniture end of season clearance for a great price. But the cushions are an awful green. I’m thinking more teal blue around the pool to brighten up the yard. I’m so excited. THANKYOU! I’m getting ready to paint my first indoor chair But I’m going to tackle retying the springs first. 😜 Yikes. But will seel

  8. I read your post where you spray painted some of your outdoor cushions as well. It seems so much faster!! Does the fabric medium with paint make that much of a difference…or would I be ok to just spray paint?

    • The spray paint worked because I was painting black over black, so I just needed a quick coat of color. If you’re changing color, or using a light color, you’ll need multiple coats, and the spray paint will be very stiff. The fabric medium keeps things slightly more supple.

  9. Hello! I love the way your grey chair and your outdoor furniture turned out! I have a set of outdoor furniture that needs an update but I am looking for guidance. The material is not typical canvas. It’s more of a plastic/vinyl. It’s, oddly enough, comfortable to sit on. I’m just wondering what you would suggest to cover this type of material. I’ve been searching the web and was thinking about using unicorn spit but am unwilling to pay the price for the product in addition to shipping costs and have it fail. Any suggestions would be much appreciated! Thank you!

    • Hi, Katie–

      I haven’t used Unicorn Spit yet so can’t tell you if it would be worth the cost…I’m guessing it might be easier to have custom cushions made instead. Is your fabric perhaps oilcloth? That was commonly used for older outdoor cushions, and I think it can be painted.

      My usual is advice with a fabric that I haven’t tried before is to test an area first as you experiment; and of course that’s what I’m going to recommend that you do here, too.

      Good luck with your project!
      Christy

  10. Hello! I too have outdoor cushions I want to paint. Was wondering….. if more fabric medium was used would the outcome of texture and softness of fabric occur? Would it be more comfortable?

    • I think additional fabric medium would make them more supple; the only issue might be that you’d also probably need more coats for full coverage. While I haven’t done this myself, chalk paint followed by clear wax seems to work well for maintaining softness, too.

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