How to Easily Spray Paint Patio Cushions (and still love them!)

Did you know that you can spray paint patio cushions? Did you know that they actually make a product for that? I’m sharing the products that I used (and a few tips) to make an entirely new look for my worn out patio furniture and you’re not going to believe the transformation.

At our house we have a lot of outdoor space. We have a piece of property that’s fenced and sits on a hillside so there are lots of spots for outdoor furniture.

The house itself has a large covered porch and an even larger wood deck extending from it and then we’ve also got the area surrounding the pool.

Since we’ve got a large family we’ve also got a lot of patio furniture.

We need lots of spaces to sit and lounge.

Now I don’t know about you, but our patio furniture sits outside all year.

I’ll pick up the cushions for a few months when we’re not using the pool but other than that it generally is pretty exposed to the elements. I simply don’t have enough space to move everything indoors, much less the will to drag it all up a hill to store it!

We’ve gotten into a pretty good rotation of replacing items as they’re needed, mostly it’s the patio umbrellas these days.

patio furniture before

I Decided to Paint our Patio Cushions and Furniture

I have a small conversation set that includes a loveseat and two chairs. At one point it also had a glass top coffee table. I think the table is still around here somewhere….

Anyway, while we were focusing on a refresh of our outdoor area I noticed that this patio set had several areas that are starting to rust on it. The cushions are a little worn but otherwise still in okay shape so spray paint to the rescue!

I’m not going to lie, I initially just planned to paint patio cushions with regular spray paint (spoiler, I’ve done this), but then I found this amazing product called Outdoor Fabric Spray Paint!

I didn’t even know there was such a thing!

Here’s what prompted this whole project – see the rust spots?

Rust on patio furniture

This is only a couple of them, let me tell you the loveseat was in terrible shape and each time I thought I’d made progress I’d find a new spot of rust and raised paint.

Prepping to Paint Patio Cushions

I started off by scraping all the rust spots that I could find on the frames of the patio furniture with a wire brush and a paint scraper.

My wire brush has a scraper on the end but I prefer a separate tool because I find that it’s a lot easier to use.

Some of the tools I used:

Tip for painting outdoor furniture: Once you’ve started painting, if you see a spot that raises let it dry and scrape it again. Sometimes a spot isn’t as evident until you start working on it. I have found that there can be an edge that wasn’t raised until some fresh paint gets underneath it so it’s important to check your work as you go and be prepared to apply multiple coats.

All of the frames got a couple of coats of white paint on them and what a difference!

But I know that’s not what you’re interested in. You want to know about the fabric paint.

The before set of patio furniture.  The frames were a greyish brown shade and the cushions were a light khaki.
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How to Paint Patio Cushions

Let me say that I’ve used regular spray paint on my patio cushions but this is the first time that I’ve tried Fabric Spray Paint.

Be sure that your patio cushions are clean and ready for paint. This is probably the most important thing to make sure that the paint covers your cushions more evenly.

The easiest way to do this is just to scrub them down with some dish soap, hose them off and let them sit out in the sun to dry.

If you’re like me, the prep is the hardest part because you just want to get started on the fun part – the transformation.

The outdoor fabric paint is designed to use on weathered cushions so if you’ve got brand new cushions that are UV protected it may not work on them. New fabric is pretty sun resistant for a few years and that’s why we buy it.

The spray fabric paint is meant for well worn cushions. Not damaged cushions, but cushions that you can tell have been used.

It’s also meant to be used on a polyester blend or polyester, which most outdoor fabrics are made of.

If you’re not sure about your fabric then it will be up to you to decide if it’s worth the expense.

Of course I didn’t check my tags or even think twice about trying the spray paint, I just figured it had to be cheaper than a new set of furniture, or even a new set of cushions.

And I was right!

Paint Patio Cushions Progress

In this progress picture you can see that one coat made a big difference. It changed the color from a faded putty to an actual turquoise!

Woohoo!

I added a second coat after these had dried and called it good. If you’re very particular you’re probably going to want to add more paint but unless I look really closely I think it looks good.

spray painting turquoise on a patio cushion

Who is going to be looking at your patio furniture that closely but you anyway?

Um no one….they just want it to be comfortable to sit on!

Upside, it dries to the touch in 30 minutes (or less) and it cleans up super easily.

I could just wash it off my hands and nails without a lot of scrubbing.

You should wear gloves when painting.

I should wear gloves when painting, but I (don’t) didn’t. So just know that it came off my hands easily in case you don’t happen to have gloves on either.

I’d advise you not to get it on your clothes either since it is fabric paint!

Spray Paint Patio Cushions Tips

According to the representatives, one can should cover around 5.5 square feet.

That would be the front and back side of a 20 X 20 pillow with around 3 coats.

I used approximately 6 cans of fabric paint for our cushions. That’s a loveseat bench with two back pillows and two chairs with back cushions.

Obviously if you’re painting the cushions the same color it’s going to take a lot less paint than if you’re changing the color completely like we did.

Also, if you’re very particular you may need more paint. I found it was hard to paint around the piping on the cushions so there are probably a few spots that are thinner in that area but I’m okay with it.

The Spray Paint Wasn’t As Easy to Use as Some

This was my first time using the Fabric Spray Paint and I struggled a little bit with the nozzle clogging.

The nozzle clogged several times.

Be prepared with a paper towel to clear off the front of the nozzle and shake your can often.

Shake, shake, shake your can.

Shake your can way more often than you would if you were using regular spray paint.

If the nozzle clogs, you may just need to hold the nozzle down until the clog clears and it starts spraying again.

You can also try turning the can upside down a spraying to release a clog.

So clearly clogs are an issue. It was one of the biggest complaints that I read about in the reviews.

I get it. It’s annoying but since I read the reviews I did expect to have some trouble with clogging.

I found that wiping the front of the nozzle regularly helped keep it clear and spraying but I did return several cans of paint when I could no longer get them to spray. I had 4 cans that I had very little problem with but I had a couple that I used about half of them and they quit spraying.

I cleaned them. I turned them upside down and held the nozzle down. I shook them. No luck.

The price of each can is about $12 so there was no question about returning them and I had no problem getting my money back for them.

I’m not sure if this was user error or it’s something in the design. If all the cans had clogged I’d think user error, but I had several with no problems so I have no idea what the problem was. It was also a complaint I saw in reviews of the product so probably it wasn’t me!

So my advice on this part is to have extra patience. Be sure to buy one to two extra cans of paint in case you run into this issue. You can easily return them if you don’t use them but it’s terrible to be almost finished with a project and not have enough paint!

Lack of coverage was the other big complaint that I read about in the reviews.

I didn’t find that to be an issue – it took approximately a can of paint for each set of cushions. One for a chair seat and back (X 2) and 2 for the loveseat which is a bench and two back cushions.

Could I have used more paint? Absolutely! I feel good about how my furniture turned out though.

I think that if you’re painting your cushions a similar color for a refresh you’re going to fall in love with this paint!

The Finished Look – Painted Patio Cushions

Fresh Paint Patio Cushions

I am thrilled with how the cushions turned out!

I used two coats of paint on each side of the cushions and a bit more around the edges.

If you’re a perfectionist this may not be the project for you.

The coverage isn’t completely even and it’s almost impossible to get around the piping so if you figure out a good way to do this then let me know!

But if you aren’t looking for perfection they look great!

And it’s a huge improvement from what they looked like before!

I’m also thrilled to report that the feel of the fabric is similar to what it was before I painted them. It’s almost as though it’s a dye that soaks into the fabric instead of setting on top of it. The cushions don’t feel stiff like they would with regular spray paint.

These colors are supposed to be UV protective and long lasting so I’ll have to update you on how they do at the end of the season!

Pro’s and Con’s if you Decide to Paint Patio Cushions

I definitely think the pro’s outweigh the con’s on this project.

As long as you aren’t looking for perfection you can update your cushions and patio furniture in a weekend and give your outdoor space a new look.

We had some spots (mostly on the bottom’s of the cushions) that looked stripey when they were finished. I think the foam insert may have been more crushed in these areas or they may have had some residual grease on them that made the coverage a little different.

I also found that getting paint around the piping was next to impossible. Well it’s possible but it would take a lot more time and patience than I had for this project. It also would take a lot more paint and I stand by the fact that most people aren’t going to look that closely at my patio furniture.

Pro’s:

  • Less expensive than recovering
  • Much less expensive than replacing
  • Easy DIY
  • Can be completed in a weekend
  • Didn’t make the seats feel “crispy” or stiff
  • Fun update for dated cushions or pillows

Con’s:

  • Messy
  • Not a perfect finish
  • Some frustration with paint can applicator
  • Fabric paint is a little pricey (we paid $11.98/can) (but still a great way to extend the life of the furniture)
Paint Patio Cushions with fabric paint

Let me know if you decide to try to paint patio cushions!

I’d love to see other projects and how they look and your opinions! I read several reviews about this product and some people were less than happy with how it turned out.

I figured I had nothing to lose so it was worth a shot and I’m happy with the results.

I imagine it has a lot to do with your expectations when you start the project.

For the white spray paint and the turquoise fabric paint I spent less than $100. Considering that this patio set would run about $600 this season to replace it seems like a no brainer. And honestly, replacing cushions is sadly not much less expensive than replacing the whole set.

Traci Signature | My Simpatico Life Blog

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Spray Paint Patio Cushions

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4 Comments

  1. Sheila Ceigersmidt says:

    How do you clean the cushions after they have been spray painted? Also, my cushions have a zipper. Can I take the cushions out and just paint the fabric? If I should leave the cushions in won’t the cushions stick to the fabric?

    1. Hi Sheila:
      I haven’t done anything to clean our cushions other than blow the dust off of them since they were painted. My cushions have zippers also but I felt like having the insert inside helped maintain the shape of the cushion to paint it. The fabric did not stick to them after it was painted.
      We used the fabric spray paint on a set that was a little worn and I’m very pleased with how it’s held up. We have just started working outside for spring so I’ll try to get some new photo’s and do an update on the set.
      Traci

  2. Sheila Ceigersmidt says:

    Thanks for responding, Traci! I received my spray yesterday and now I’m just waiting for a nice day, here in VA……I had tried dying my navy blue cushions last week over the stove BUT it didn’t deepen the navy blue at all. All I wanted to do was to make the cushions a darker blue because the blue had bleached out due to the sun. Thanks again! Can’t wait to spice up my cushions….Sheila

  3. Thanks for the information! I am going to attempt to paint our interior boat cushions.

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