Welcome, welcome you VIP friend of the nest! Let me roll out the red carpet and welcome you to our humble home.
In this case, the “red carpet” is actually our blue and white painted outdoor DIY rug. *This post contains affiliate links. Please read our full disclosure policy HERE.*
Today I’m going to give you all the how-to-details. But first, a couple things you may not want to know, but I’ll tell you anyways.
Things I am known for:
- Always being right
- Not being able to watch ANY movie that has the potential to make one cry
- Recalling almost any address I’ve been to, or sent a Christmas card to, for memory
- Not being able to remember almost anything EXCEPT addresses…including my own birthday (but at my age, that’s probably more purposeful forgetfulness)
Things I am NOT known for:
- Being practical
And that is why today’s post is particularly amazing. Because this may be the most practical DIY I’ve ever done. If you’ve ever had an outdoor living space at home, then you may have had this experience. You go to Pinterest, searching for that perfect, outdoor living space to re-create at home. You pin gorgeous images of white couches, maybe a platform bed of some sort hanging from ropes with oodles of throw pillows and blankets, lots of gorgeous flowers everywhere…probably a trellis with a creeping vine that looks like it’s straight out of some posh winery in Napa. It all looks so lush, so extravagent, so luxuriously, perfectly, over-the-top-expensively, annoyingly impractical.
WHITE COUCHES OUTSIDE? Who on Earth would or could do that? Right? They would last like 2.5 days…TOPS. And you know what beats all, guys? The outdoor rugs. I know I’m not the only one who has ever bought an “outdoor” rug. Many of us have done it. I mean, the online description clearly says “indoor/outdoor”. There are WHOLE SECTIONS in some of my favorite catalogs devoted to outdoor rugs. And heck, they look great in all the pictures, right?
What they don’t tell you is that you’ll buy said “outdoor” rug, and within 2 weeks, it will be stained from leaves, or pollen and outdoor “gunk” that you never will have noticed existed before this supposedly outdoor rug. Within 3 weeks, you notice a vague smell creeping into your outdoor living area. Within 4 weeks, your outdoor rug has sprouted, and is beginning to grow new…what is that…fabric? Nope. It’s mold. And fungus. And a nest of something that has legs and antennae has moved in as well.
You know who makes these “outdoor rugs”? It’s the same people who made “stainless steel”.
Jerks. Anyone wanna go halfsies on a class-action suit?
Whatever. We have bigger fish to fry. Happier trails to travel down. Back to the DIY rug…
Painted Outdoor DIY Rug Supplies:
paint roller with extension pole
base color porch paint or stain (ours is Cabot solid color acrylic deck stain 1812 white)
paint color for stencil (ours is Clark + Kensington porch + floor paint in satin, “Heirloom China”)
old towels to clean/dry stencil in between uses
small roller with foam roller cover for stencil
Approximate cost/ 12×12′ rug = $80-100.
Painted Outdoor DIY Rug How To:
1.) Determine where and how large your rug will be.
We knew what furniture would be used on each rug. So based upon the size of those pieces, we sketched a rough layout, in painters tape on the deck, and then determined the ideal size for our rugs based upon our furniture and how the sketch looked once taped.
2.) Use nails and string to create perimeter of DIY rug, and make taping easier.
Taping off a straight line out without a guide is actually pretty difficult. So we decided to hammer a nail into the four corners of the eventual rug, then tie string around them, to create straight lines to serve as a guide for taping.
3.) Tape perimeter. Then seal tape edges.
This step is clutch, and if you do this, the edges of your rug will look outstanding. Our deck is gray. And our rug was going to be white and blue…
** So before we started slathering on either of the rug colors, we painted/coated the edges of our painters tape with the gray base color of the deck. This seals down those tape edges, and will prevent your rug colors from going anywhere you don’t want them to go.**
4.) Paint base color of your DIY rug.
We used Cabot White Stain for the base color of our DIY rug, which is the same color we used for the trim/facing boards of our deck. The easiest way to get this base color on is to roll it using a extender pole attached to your roller.
5.) Tape off border of DIY rug
Our rug was going to have an americana/navy blue outline. To be practical, we used the width of a paint roller nap as the size of the border stripe to make painting easier.
6.) Paint outline in color of choice.
Paint one coat of your rug outline. Once dry, determine if a second coat is needed. If so, proceed with second coat.
7.) Prepare to stencil. Find middle point of rug.
The first stencil will be in the dead center of your rug. Work some magic with your calculator and measuring tape, and mark that center point lightly with a pencil.
8.) Place center of stencil on the marked center point of the rug.
Lightly tape stencil in place at this point. And if you’re lucky, you’ll find yourself a helper for the stenciling, like my little buddy sitting and waiting patiently in the pic above with her foam paint roller ready and waiting.
9.) Begin stenciling.
Get your paint out that will be used for your stencil, and your small foam roller and tray. ONLY POUR A LITTLE BIT of paint into roller tray. Successful stenciling is based upon ONE rule. DO NOT USE TOO MUCH PAINT. Your roller should be barely covered in paint when you begin to stencil. The lightest of paint coatings. Too much paint = sloppy stencils/paint bleeds under your stencil/sad DIY’er. Do not apply a ton of pressure when applying the paint overtop of your stencil. You want a gentle, easy coat. In order to cover the area in paint, you will reload your roller several times (each time with a minimal amount of paint) and roll over the stencil.
The image above should give you and idea of the amount of paint I’m talking about loading your roller with. You will quickly get the hang of how much paint to use. Promise. Once you are happy with the darkness of the paint in your stenciled area, you can remove the stencil. You can do this while the paint is still drying, so that the process will not take 8 years! Just make sure to lift the stencil directly up, and don’t drag it overtop your fresh paint when removing it.
10.) Use towel between re-applications of stencil.
Between stenciling each area, use your old bath or beach towel to dry off the stencil/remove excess paint. No need to thoroughly clean the stencil between each use, but you do want to make sure no extra wet paint is on there that will bleed into your design.
11.) Reposition stencil for next round.
The stencil we used (called “Perfect Catch” from Cutting Edge Stencils) was designed to overlap itself to create one, big, fluid pattern. Follow the directions on your particular stencil to make sure you are lining up the stencil/overlap correctly.
Once it appears your overlap is correct, gently tape your stencil again (we kept our tape stuck to the stencil and used it multiple times before refreshing the tape), and paint this next section.
12.) Continue overlapping and painting stencil over entire area of rug.
Does this take forever? No, just shy of forever 😉 Actually, it goes quickly once you “get” the stencil overlap and how much paint to put on your roller. To give you some sense of time line, I did mine over a couple of days, here and there as I had some time to spare. In total, the stenciling took me about 3 hours per rug. If you also consider the time spent sizing/taping the perimeter/painting the base coat/re-taping and painting the border stripe, all in all, the project took about 6-8 hours/rug.
And we LOVE the results. These “rugs” have lasted a year at this point, through the winter, sun, snow, sleet, you name it.
And they look the same today as the day I finished painting them.
Shop our Outdoor Living Area
Links below to items purchased, or similar products if an exact match is no longer available.