I was with a friend at dinner the other night and she was mentioning how faded and blah her patio chair cushions were. She wondered if she could paint them with Missouri Limestone Chalk-type paint. I said, “Sure you can!” But then we both wondered if you would need to seal them and if so, what you should use. I told her I’d check it all out and let her know. I’m so glad I did, and you will be, too.
First, I did some research and here are my findings:
- Give your cushions a good cleaning before you begin. My practice cushion, sad to say, had some of that green gunk on it. I took a Mr. Clean sponge and wiped that stuff off and was good to go.
- The best tip I read when getting started: Before painting, take a spritzer bottle of water to dampen the cushion. The paint goes on better and gets into the fabric better when the cushion is slightly damp. I didn’t need to do that. I just went outside and found an old cushion that had been left out and it had rained some earlier. Perfect dampness! Sometimes it pays to be lazy!
- Some people took their cushion covers off (if able to remove) and used cardboard between the covers so paint wouldn’t bleed through. My thought on this: If your cushions were so bad you were thinking of throwing them out before you decided to paint them, then just leave those covers on. Who cares if the pillow underneath gets paint on it? Save yourself some time and energy.
- I noticed when I painted my striped cushion, you were able to see the faint stripe underneath. I also needed to spread it out a little while painting to get into the nooks and crannies. I also noticed my brush bristles went right up to the cording on the sides. On this pillow, the cording seemed to be a plastic type material and looked ok, so I just left it like it was. I painted a second coat in one area, but still saw the faint stripe. So, my conclusion on that was: That stripe was kind of cool. It gave the pillow a look I liked. Why waste paint and time and cover it all up. Patterns are good under a coat of paint. In fact, they are very, very good.
- I saw some people added stencil designs to their pillows and some used painters tape and painted their own stripes in coordinating colors.
- You don’t want to wax….my friend’s cushions are on a screened-in porch, but it does get hot out there. We wouldn’t want to sit on those cushions on a hot summer day and have wax come off on our clothes….so no waxing outside….on any project. The sun and the heat will cure your chalk-type paint projects.
- Some suggested sealing with a poly of some kind, some did not. I would guess it would all depend how much they are left out in the elements.
- My finishing tip? Don’t bother. I’ll explain why below.
What a difference a little chalk-type paint makes, right? It literally took me just seconds to paint the area I painted as the paint covered so well. But then came the question of sealing.
I let the cushion dry for several hours and then tried an experiment. I put a poly sealer on half of the cushion and let the other half stay as it was. My thought was the poly would not only give it more protection, it would make the cushion easy to wipe off.
After the poly dried well, I took a wet cloth and scrubbed it really hard. No paint came off on the rag, and it was easy to scrub, so I thought that was very nice. Then, I took a wet rag and scrubbed the area that just had paint. I scrubbed and scrubbed. Guess what? No paint came off that area, either. It was easy to scrub and actually, except for the slight sheen of the poly area, you really couldn’t tell any difference.
Bottom line…..don’t bother sealing. Bring your cushions in to protect them like you did when they were new (as you can tell from the beginning of this post – I tend to leave mine out in the elements at times) and your newly painted cushions should last the summer, at least. I personally believe the heat of the summer will make the paint cure even more and they will last a good long while. If they don’t, just paint them again next year.
I’m so glad I did my research and experiments. I, too, have a set of patio chair cushions that I’m going to paint……now my biggest problem is choosing a color!