replacement cushions for outdoor furniture

Why not make your own replacement cushions for outdoor furniture?

By making your own, you can get the color and patterns you want, the right size, and save a lot of money. As the outdoor entertaining season is upon us, our patios become an extra room to our house. They are a great place to entertain, or just hang out after a hard day. So why not make it your own?

If your outdoor furniture already have cushions that you keep dragging in and out each year, but they are looking tired and faded, you can recover them for even more savings.

But if just never bought the cushions to go with your furniture, and resorted to blankets, towels, and old pillows to make it comfy, then it is time to make some from scratch. It is not hard!

Things You Will Need

Here is what you will need:

Large piece of foam (approximately 1.5 inches thick) you can get this at fabric stores

Tough weather proof fabrics (most fabric stores have these)

Brown paper or newspaper for creating pattern

sewing machine

tape measure

sharp knife and good pair of scissors

Step 1


First of all you don't have to be perfect here, this is outdoor furniture, but you do need to measure!

Take your tape measure and measure the seat of your chair, and the backs if you want back cushions as well. If you are simply replacing cushions you already have, and are happy with the size, then use these as a guide.

If you already have cushions, then just clean them up a bit, and stuff them totally inside your new slip cover. This way they will have two layers of fabric for protection.

We will use the base of the chair for this article. Measure where you would like the cushion to extend to on the seat, remembering that sometimes a chair tapers in towards the back. You can take your measurements and map them out on brown paper, or newspaper, and then draw them out. Or you can map the measurements right onto a piece of foam.

If you have created your pattern on paper, then cut it out and sit it on the chair, and see if you like the dimensions. It is much easier to scrap that piece of paper and start again, then to cut the foam out wrong. So, that old saying "measure twice cut once".. that works for most sewing projects, and especially for replacement cushions for outdoor furniture! Unless you are going for the odd shaped cushions for a special effect!

When choosing your fabric, it is a good idea to find fabrics that are weather resistant and designed for outdoor use. This doesn't mean they would stand up to a howling gale, but they will not fade as much from the sun, and dry out much quicker if they do get wet.

Unless your patio is totally covered, then you can explore any cotton fabrics, but if there is even a remote chance of outdoor weather, then you should try and find something you like in the weather resistant part of the fabric store.

Using your foam that you have now cut out (a sharp knife will cut the foam, but also a electric knife cuts really clean) as a guide for fabric amounts is the easiest way. Make sure and allow for the sides (height) and your seam allowance. Also purchase a zipper that matches so that you can remove these covers for laundering.

Once you have measured for your fabric, and cut it out, make sure and sew with right sides together, the front to the back, and installed a zipper on the longest part of the cushion. Make sure and use double stitching on these seams for wear and tear.

Trim your seams, and then turn your cushion covers to the right side. Press the corners out, and then take your foam piece and fold it enough (your foam piece at 1.5 inches thick should be pliable enough to fold a bit to get it into the cover) to get it into your cushions cover through the open zipper. Make any adjustments, close the zipper and you are done!

Take a good look at your first cover, do you like it? Put it on the chair and test it out. If it slides around to much, you can sew tie tabs to it using the same fabric or decorative ties, to keep the cushions from moving around, or disappearing into your neighbors yard in that next wind storm!

Once you get one mastered, you can get creative with throw pillows, or bench cushions or where ever you need a soft place to land at the end of the day! The fabric stores have a great selection of outdoor fabrics as many people are personalizing their outdoor living space. You can also make great table clothes out of the same fabric, napkins and more. If you want to create something larger, such as a table cloth, using newspaper taped together to draw out your pattern is a easy way.

Replacement cushions for outdoor furniture can hide all kinds of marks and give the impression that you bought a new set. But if yours have seen better days, and are dingy, then you should really give them a good clean first.

Vinegar is a great cleaner for plastic outdoor furniture. If yours is the plastic type, then use full strength white vinegar and wipe with a cloth. This will also disinfect as well as clean, and is a natural product. It also removes mildew, which is common on plastic furniture that has been under a tarp somewhere over the winter.

Here is a great formula for cleaning wooden garden furniture, (it doesn't smell the greatest but does the job) mix 1 cup of ammonia, with 1/2 cup of white vinegar, and 1/2 cup of baking soda in 4 liters of water. Soak a rag in the mixture and wipe down wooden furniture with this to remove mold and mildew stains.

So, get those outdoor chairs cleaned, the patio swept, and make yourself some replacement cushions for outdoor furniture, and all you will need, is to kick off your shoes, fill up a glass and sit for the rest of the summer! We can all dream right?

Tips & Warnings

Make sure you bring your cushions in during a storm or tie them down well, or you may end up raining colorful cushions throughout your neighborhoods backyards!