Paint your own DIY outdoor rug! It’s the only kind of outdoor “rug” that won’t rot, mildew, or fade over time…
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 DIY outdoor rug.
Let’s start with a simple video overview of this project…
DIY Painted Outdoor Rug Video Overview
Today I’m going to give you all the how-to-details. But first, a couple of things you may not want to know, but I’ll tell you anyway.
Here are a couple of random things I’m 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)
And as far as things I’m NOT known for?
- Being practical
It’s that lack of practicality that is what makes this project particularly amazing in this household. Because this may be the most practical DIY I’ve ever done.
Why You Want A Painted Outdoor Rug
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 extravagant, 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 outdoor rug project…
Painted Outdoor DIY Rug Supplies
- painters tape
- paint roller with extension pole
- paint tray
- 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
- regular paint roller covers for base coat
- small roller with foam roller cover for stencil
- pencil/measuring tape/calculator
Approximate cost for 12’x12′ DIY painted outdoor rug = $80-100.
Painted Outdoor DIY Rug How To
1. Determine rug size and location.
We knew what furniture would be used on each rug.
Based upon the size of those pieces, we sketched a rough layout, in painter’s 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 the perimeter of the 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 a 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…
* 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 the base color of your painted outdoor 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 an extender pole attached to your roller.
5. Tape off the 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 the outline in the color of your choice.
Paint one coat of your rug outline. Once dry, determine if a second coat is needed. If so, proceed with the second coat.
7. Prepare to stencil. Find middle-point of your 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 the center of the 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 the 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 an 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 over top of your fresh paint when removing it.
10. Use a towel between re-applications of the 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”) 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 the entire area of the 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 the timeline, 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.
More pressing painted rug questions answered
It depends on how large the area is you’ll be painting. To complete our 2 large rugs, it took 3 full days, both because of size, and factoring in drying time. But you could definitely complete this project faster for a smaller area.
What type of paint did you use?
We used a solid exterior stain for the base (white) coat, and a porch/patio paint for the blue stencil portion of the rug, and the border.
Do you have any tips for choosing the right stencil?
Mostly, pick something you like! If you want the job to go quicker, pick a stencil that isn’t highly intricate or small in size.
How do you avoid bleeding under the stencil?
Use a VERY small amount of paint on your roller, and do not press down too firmly. A combination of light pressure, a small amount of paint, and multiple passes with the roller will give you the best result. And cleaning the stencil between uses.
How do you keep the border of the rug clean and crisp?
Pre-paint the painter’s tape being used for the border with a coat of stain or paint the same color as the majority of the deck. That will seal the border and prevent bleeding under the tape.
Looking for more interesting, unique, and budget-friendly DIY projects for you and your home? Check these out:
Pin this post for later! And if you make one, leave a comment (or better yet, a photo) on the pin! That helps others know whether they want to try this project, too!
- 1. Use painter's tape to create perimeter for your painted rug.
- 2. Seal tape with paint to prevent bleeding.
- 3. Paint base color of your rug. Let dry.
- 4. Paint border color if desired. Let dry.
- 5. Start stenciling in the center of your rug.
- 6. Clean stencil with dry towel between sequential uses.
- 7. Once clean, reposition stencil and continue stenciling process until complete.
- • Porch & Patio paint, or a solid color deck stain are both great options for this project
- • Do not skip the step to seal the edges of your border painter's tape! This keeps your edges crisp without bleeding
- • Use the tiniest amount of paint on the roller while stenciling. This will prevent bleeding under stencil
Pssst…before you go, I sure would love to hang out with you again really soon! Sign up now and get a FREE copy of “Builder-Grade To Beautiful: 10 Totally Transformative Home Decorating Solutions, All Under $100!” Click here to enter your email or on the image below. Your copy will be sent right away!