From Drab To Fab Outdoor Chair Cushions On A Budget

If you're looking for a budget-friendly idea for outdoor chair cushions then you've come to the right place? I'm going to show you how easy it is to spruce up inexpensive outdoor cushions with a lovely one-of-a-kind charm that your friends will be asking where you got them. Just because your budget can't afford the fancy ones with pretty designer patterns doesn't mean you have to settle for ones that look bargain basement. In less than ten minutes you can have from drab to fab outdoor cushions on a budget.

Upcycled Inexpensive Outdoor Chair Cushions

From Drab To Fab Outdoor Chair Cushions On A Budget

I spent weeks shopping for outdoor cushions both online and locally for cushions for our refreshed Adirondack chairs and tete-a-tete. I found several colors and patterns I absolutely loved but at a minimum price point of $49.99 per chair, it was not going to happen. Shy of sewing my own, I had to come up with a way to get the look for a fraction of the cost and I found that solution at Walmart.

They had these high back outdoor cushions for $19.97 each. While not officially "Adirondack" chair cushions, they were very similar in size and shape to those designer ones. Unfortunately, the patterns available did not work with our new deck makeover BUT they did have them in solid colors.

Customize Outdoor Cushion Covers

The red certainly works with the soft seafoam green we are using in this space but the cushions were just too plain looking without a pattern. That's when I decided I could spruce up those cushions and give them some personality with a stencil.

In the Spring I purchased an ArtMinds Outdoor Bird Houses stencil at Michaels. If you've been following our beer-budget deck makeover series, you know that we have a bird theme going on. What doesn't go more perfectly than birdhouses! The possibilities for decorating cushions to work with your outdoor living spaces are endless with the wide selection of stencils available at craft stores and online.

Stenciled Outdoor Chair Cushion Covers

This is DIY project number seven of my budget-friendly deck makeover series. I've included links to the entire series at the bottom of the post.

Budget-Friendly Deck Makeover Series - Project Seven
Refreshing our outdoor living space on a beer budget!

Instructions for stenciling outdoor cushions

This post contains affiliate links so you can see what products I used or recommend for this project. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you.

To ensure the stencil alignment was uniform on each cushion I used my handy Kreg Multi-Mark Measuring Tool, I love this thing!

Patio Furniture Makeover

Stenciling on fabric is not difficult but with cushions inside, it can be a little tricky because the fabric slides easily over the water-resistant outdoor foam. I tried using painters tape and masking tape to hold the stencil in place but the best tape ended up being clear packing tape. An alternative is using spray stencil adhesive but I was concerned it might stain the fabric.

Outdoor Birdhouse Decor

What stencil technique to use on cushions

Normally I use a swirl motion rather than dab when stenciling but because the fabric moved easily with the cushions inside, I found the dabbing technique worked much better. I started with a foam dabber but found it absorbed too much paint so I used a stencil brush instead and lightly dabbed with an up and down motion.

Stenciling is normally a dry brush technique where you offload most of the paint onto a paper towel. But I found with this multi-surface paint it applied better by dipping the brush into the paint and removing just a bit of the excess paint so the brush was still wet but not soaked. However, I would recommend you use fabric paint instead.

It also helped to hold the stencil firmly against the slippery fabric with my left hand while I stenciled with my right - but not too firmly where it condensed the foam. There was a little paint bleed, most likely because I had too much paint on the brush, but not too bad considering.

I resisted the urge to use the full stencil with all four birdhouses on each cushion. I also decided rather stenciling the two birdhouses on the cushions it would look more interesting having them placed on one side.

Stenciled Patio Chair Cushions

To see the difference between the inexpensive plain solid color cushions with and without the added stencil touch here is one cushion before...

Plain Outdoor Patio Cushions Before

and the same cushion after. So much better, right?

From Drab to Fab Plain Patio Cushions

Here are two cushions before being stenciled.

Solid Red Patio Chair Cushions Before

...and after being stenciled.

If your preference is symmetry, then stenciling all four birdhouses on each cushion would be a better option. I personally love the asymmetrical look having just two birdhouses on opposite sides of the cushions when paired together.

Solid Red Patio Chair Cushions After

Do you agree that they make the plain inexpensive outdoor cushions look so much better? I love the whimsy of the birdhouses and that stenciling gave them that one-of-a-kind charm.

In case you missed any of our budget-friendly deck makeover DIY projects, I've added links to each project below.

DIY Deck Makeover Projects Recap

Project One - DIY Birdhouse Sign
Project Two - Budget-Friendly Deck Restore
Project Three - Easy DIY Solar Fence Lights
Project Four - How To Stain A Super Easy DIY Outdoor Rug
Project Five - A Quick And Easy Way To Re-Stain Adirondack Chairs
Project Six - A Playful Headboard Garden Bench
Project Seven - How To Add Charm To Boring Outdoor Red Cushions
Project Eight - Whimsical Metal Garden Decor - coming soon

If you have any questions about stenciling outdoor cushions, please leave them in the comment section below or the Contact Me tab at the top. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this budget-friendly outdoor cushion idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your outdoor furniture or stenciled pillow board on Pinterest.

From Drab To Fab Outdoor Chair Cushions On A Budget

Inexpensive Outdoor Chair Cushions Before and After

I share my projects at these fabulous link parties.



  1. I REALLY like what you did! In my own ineptness, I would have done 3 on a slant, but that would have destroyed the asymmetrical-ness of it all. Good job!

    1. Ceyla, I seriously considered doing either 3 or 4 birdhouses. I had the stencil set and ready to add more and stopped myself because I was liking the unexpectedness of two. What can I say, I'm just an asymmetrical kind of gal! LOL

  2. I really like the 2 stencils per cushion...each birdhouse stands out with it's own design! I like how you did them and what a great money saving idea!!! WalMart, here I come!!

    1. Thank you, Karolyn! I'm glad you like my quirky asymmetrical look for the cushions. I hope you find just the right cushions to try this on. Happy stenciling!

  3. They are beautiful Marie. I got all excited when I saw this project, I thought she finally used her Cricut. NOT ����

  4. LOL, I made these in my pre-Cricut Maker days but they definitely could be made with permanent iron on vinyl. I have been using my Cricut Maker these days on other projects and have a few in the works.


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