Take a Seat

Give thrifty finds a trendy paint job and playful new coverings you create. Your outdoor furniture will be as bright as the weather.

Painted Chair Frames


  • Rust-resistant metal primer spray
  • Spray paint for outdoor use
  • Clear gloss spray lacquer for outdoor use


  • Heavy- or medium-grit and fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth


Remove cushions, if any. Thoroughly clean chairs and sand until smooth, beginning with heavy- or medium-grit and moving to fine-grit sandpaper. Wipe using a tack cloth. Spray Rust-Oleum evenly onto chairs in a well-ventilated area. Once dry, spray an even coat of desired paint color. When dry, apply a second coat. Allow second coat to dry for 3 hours or according to manufacturer’s instructions. Spray on a coat of clear gloss lacquer formulated for outdoor use; let dry.

Stenciled fabric for upholstered seat


  • Marigold Stencil
  • White copy paper
  • 9×18-inch Mylar stencil blanks
  • White outdoor canvas to cover seat base, plus 4 inches extra on all sides, prewashed with no fabric softener; pressed
  • Fabric Paint, sunshine yellow
  • Seat base, removed from chair
  • Fabric to cover underside of seat base
  • Batting, enough for top and sides of seat base


  • Clear tape
  • Cutting mat
  • Mat knife
  • Sponge stencil brush
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • T-pins
  • Fabric scissors
  • Staple gun
  • 5/8-inch staples


Download Marigold Stencil template here and print onto white copy paper. Tape the printout onto the backside of the stencil blank (protective seal away) so the lines forming the flower can be seen through the stencil blank. Place the protective seal face up on a flat surface and trace around the petals. Remove the copied design. Place the stencil blank on a cutting mat and cut around outline of the design with a mat knife. Remove all white areas. Once stencil is complete, remove protective seal.

Tape stencil to the face of the canvas, covering the entire outer border with tape. Use fabric paint and stencil brush to dab color directly onto the open areas of the stencil. Be careful to avoid overloading the brush so excess paint does not flow under the stencil. When finished, carefully remove stencil. Allow paint to dry according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Remove old-seat fabric and staples from seat base using a screwdriver and needle-nose pliers. Place the batting on the seat base with the stenciled fabric over it. Align the stenciled image so it wraps over the left edge. Use T-pins to hold the fabric in place.

Flip the seat base over. Starting at the back of the cushion, staple fabric to the underside of the seat. Spin the seat base and pull fabric taut toward the front of the seat and staple to the underside. Do this with the remaining two sides. Then, work the fabric between the staples, pulling and stapling to create a smooth appearance. Place staples about 1/8-inch apart. Flatten the corners and staple. Trim excess fabric; discard. Cut a piece of fabric to cover the underside of the seat base and staple in place. Reattach cushion to chair.

Stamped or Iron-on Fabric Round Box Cushion


For Stamped Cushion:

  • Mum Outline Flower Large Rubber Stamp, item #871485 (from Paper Source)
  • Delta Ceramcoat Textile Medium
  • Delta Ceramcoat paint, Laguna Blue #2418
  • Delta Ceramcoat paint, Navy Blue #2089

For Iron-On Cushion:

  • Spider-mum Image Transfer
  • Avery 3271 Inkjet Light Fabric Transfer Paper, 8½×11-inch
  • Kraft paper
  • 1 yard outdoor canvas, prewashed with no fabric softener; pressed
  • 2-inch high-density foam circumference of pillow top
  • 2-inch bias-cut fabric, two times the circumference of pillow top


  • Measuring tape
  • Black marker
  • Fabric pen with invisible ink or chalk
  • ½-inch cord, two times the circumference of pillow top
  • Extendable utility knife
  • Fabric scissors
  • Metal ruler


For Stamped Cushion:

Spread fabric on a hard surface face-up. Combine textile medium with each color of paint. Stamp fabric with one color of paint. Stamp fabric with second color of paint. Let dry.

For Iron-on Cushion:

Download floral iron-on image here. Follow the transfer instructions to apply design to fabric.

Measure the diameter of the chair seat and create a pattern using kraft paper; check the pattern for proper fit. Place the pattern on the foam and use a marker to draw around it. Cut it out using a sharp utility knife. Place the pattern on the fabric. Measure 5/8-inch seam allowance around the pattern and mark on the fabric. Connect the marks to make a circle. Cut two circles. Measure around the foam insert. Cut a strip of fabric this measurement plus three inches by four inches wide. This is the side of the pillow, the band around the cushion.

To make optional piping: fold the bias tape over the cord so it is centered. Use a zipper foot to sew a straight stitch alongside the cord. Pin the raw edge of the piping to the outer edge of the circle piece overlapping the ends where they meet, so the raw ends will be included in the seam. Do this to both circles. (See Diagram 1, below.)

Pin the band to the outside of one circle and make a a 5/8-inch seam. Work the ends together to form a 5/8-inch side seam and trim excess fabric. Press seam open. (See Diagram 2, below.) Pin the opposite circle to the band and sew at 5/8-inch, leaving an opening just wide enough to flip the cushion cover and to insert the foam insert. (See Diagram 3, below.) Slip stitch the opening closed. (See Diagram 4, below.)

© Grey Dog Media, LLC 2022. All Rights Reserved.

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