Easy Ways to Make Indoor and Outdoor Chair Cushion Covers
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Looking to replace the outdoor chair cushion covers on your outdoor patio, porch or deck seating? Outdoor furniture cushion covers can take a beating from the weather and every few years can use a refresh. Here are 5+ DIY Ideas that will show you how to make new covers for them, some of them don’t even require sewing.
In this post I am sharing my step-by-step tutorials that will show you how easy it is to make new covers for those faded, time-worn, covered in bird droppings, outdoor chair cushions!
Even if your outdoor chair cushions are in good shape like mine are, covering them using any of my easy techniques will give you options to change the color and pattern for special occasions or just on a whim.
I wanted to cover my cushions since the solid off-white color gets mildew stains and shows dirt very quickly.
I found this fabric at JoAnn Fabrics. I waited to buy it until I had a 40% off coupon. It is indoor/outdoor fabric like Sunbrella that is easy to clean and maintain.
The pillow back cushions were made using Solarium Rydell Summer. The fabric on the seat cushions is: Solarium Dazzle Ocean
I made these outdoor chair cushion covers the same way I made the covers for the cushions on my DIY slipcovered sofa that I used to have in my living room.
I call it semi-sewing where I still use a sewing machine, but skip the standard box cushion cover that usually has piping and a zipper.
The back cushions are simply big outdoor pillows that I made really simple covers for using one long length of fabric.
How to Make Outdoor Chair Cushion Covers
At the end of this post you will find a listing of all my cushion cover posts so you can choose which one will work the best for the seating cushions in your home.
If you are a seamstress or simply a better sewer than I am, then I know you will have your own way of making boxed style cushion covers for seating cushions.
I never learned to sew like a pro. The only instruction I received was in 7th grade Home-Ec class where we didn’t learn a lot, only how to make an unflattering skirt that the teacher made everyone in the class make. :-)
For anyone who may be saying, I can’t sew or I don’t have the time, I know you can do it and maybe seeing all the different types of cushions I have made may inspire you and give one a try.
These are removable cushion covers that are tied onto the underside of the cushion.
- ribbon – 8 lengths cut about 12″ or longer depending on the size of the cushion you are covering.
- yardstick or measuring tape
- sewing machine
- straight pins
1. Measure your cushion (height, width, depth) and determine how much yardage you will need. I usually eyeball this and look at the whole process as if I were wrapping a gift box with wrapping paper.
2. Lay cushion on a small table or stool. Place fabric right side down on cushion. This allows the fabric to hang down so you can easily work on all four corners.
3. Bring two sides of the fabric together at one corner. Use straight pins to fit the fabric to the corner. This will become a seam. Repeat on the other 3 corners of the cushion.
4. Cut away excess fabric at each corner, leaving about 2 inches of fabric away from line of pins.
5. Remove fabric from cushion and sew all the seams on a sewing machine. Turn fabric right side out.
6. Place cover back onto cushion. It will look like this with the corner seams going up and over the bottom of the cushion.
7. If it fits OK, then remove again, turn right side in and sew a finished edge/hem along all raw edges.
Place cover back onto cushion.
8. The next step is to add ribbon ties to the edges of the fabric that will hold the cover on. They will be hidden on the underside of the cushion. I have found that adding 2 ties to each side will keep the cover taut and looks like a traditionally made box style cushion cover.
9. Fold over end of each ribbon to make a finished edge and pin to fabric edge as shown in the illustration above. The ribbon does not have to be exactly placed like this. You just want to se the ribbon on so each is across from one on the other side. #3 can be up closer so it is in line with #6 and #2 with #7.
10. Once each piece of ribbon is sewn on, tie opposite sides together so cushion cover is secure.
I made two covers and since you never see the ties, I used scraps of black and green ribbon that I had to make the ties for the second cushion.
How to Make a Large Pillow Style Cushion Cover
The back cushions on my chairs are large pillows, not box cushions like the seat cushions. To make the cover for these is really easy.
You can read a more detailed tutorial on how easy it is to make them in this post: How to Make a Pillow Cover Without Using a Sewing Pattern
Outdoor Cushion Fabric Resources:
Pillow Back Cushions: Solarium Rydell Summer
Seat Cushion fabric – no longer in stock
How to Take Care Of Outdoor Chair Cushion Covers
One question I always receive when I post about outdoor cushions and pillows is: “Do you cover your outdoor furniture when not in use?”
In the past I have tried using vinyl covers, but found it is easier to just bring the cushions inside my house when not in use. It is not ideal and I am currently looking into purchasing this outdoor cushion storage box. Does anyone have one of these or something similar? Does it make it handy to store cushions in when not in use and easy to retrieve when you want to use them?
If your outdoor chair cushions are in good shape and just need a little sprucing up, check out this post: How To Clean Outdoor Patio Cushions
More Outdoor Cushion Cover Tutorials
No-Sew Chair Cushion Covers
- Tutorial: No-Sew Cushion Cover
- Tutorial: How To Make No Sew Chair Cushions
- Tutorial: No Sew Stool Seat Covers
Easy Sew Outdoor Chair Cushion Covers
Indoor or Outdoor Cushion Covers
These can be made either for indoor or outdoor use depending on the fabric you choose.
- Tutorial: Make Your Own Kitchen Chair Cushions
- Read the post: Small Pom-Pom Trimmed Covers
- Learn how to make: Large Pom Pom Trimmed Ottoman Covers
You are doing a great job!
I found this very informative and literally you’re doing great.
Keep it up.
Diane, regarding your question on deck boxes, they do work. Make sure you measure your cushions to be stored before you purchase so your box is large enough. Stack them neatly altogether so you can determine what size you need. The big box stores don’t always carry. Check the Suncast website. We ordered ours online. It holds our 12 seat cushions and 2 bench cushions standing on edge plus our big stack of Costco brown paper lawn and leaf bags. Hope you find one for your purposes. Happy to see you pop up on my Facebook feed.
Brilliant! Found just what I was looking for. Well explained, not complicated & makes me feel confident to have a go! Well done-you’ve spurred me on!
You don’t give your sewing skills as much credit as they deserve. You do a wonderful job and you certainly have a wide variety. I especially like the way you make your bar stools cushions. They look like an expensive designer made them. (But then, I guess you are that designer.). Do you ever sew for others (other than your daughters)?
Hi Nancy – You are the best- thanks. I learned early on when I worked in retail display and we had to make decor from scratch with only limited supplies I learned to think out of the box to figure out alternatives to doing things the traditional way.
Wow! I found your content here very creative and helpful. Thank you so much. I also found some great information herehttps://conservationconstructionofdallas.com/dallas-home-windows/ I will keep checking back for more great content. Very happy to read this.
Hello This looks great and easy, I might add…lol…. How can I do this with a half moon or crescent shape seats with rectangular backs. I have three chairs in that is very costly to replace the covers so I am trying to come up with an idea to cover them myself thank you
Hi Shelly –
Can you remove the cushions on the chairs? Are they like dining room style chairs that you can unscrew the seat cushion from under the seat?
Halleluja!! I have been putting it of since 2015. Didn’t want to bother with zips or buttons. Have the material. Would be my proudest lockdown project ever.
From Jo’burg, South Africa.
I’m so excited that you posted this. I’ve been wanting to redo the ugly brown chair covers that I have. I love the option to put the ribbons on so that they are washable. It’s genius! I can’t wait to try it. I really enjoy your blog.
Don’t forget about All About Fabrics in Williamston. Not open now but hopefully May 7,8,9 or June 4,5,6. They are predominantly decorator fabric & hundreds Sunbrella remnants at $3-$4/ yard. DIY fabric heaven!!!
Hi Patricia – Thanks for reminding me. All About Fabrics is such a fun place to go. I haven’t been in awhile. Hopefully we can get back to normal soon and I can take a trip there.
My daughter has quite a few pieces of outdoor furniture on her large deck and was always so frustrated when she had to bring in pillows and cushions to keep them dry from rain. They were always all over her dining room, in the way, and as you can imagine, not particularly attractive from a decor standpoint. She purchased a large patio storage box and now she can put the cushions and pillows inside when the weather is calling for rain and the top even serves as extra seating and a serving surface when the weather is cooperating. She says it definitely relieved a great deal of stress in her busy household and she has wet cushions a lot less frequently.
Hi Pat – I still have not purchased a deck box and need one badly! I saw the perfect size at Sam’s CLub. If they deliver, I am hoping to get it. It will make storing the cushions so much easier. :-)
PS. I do have the outdoor storage boxes and I love the them.
Hi Nancy – They really do help not having to move cushions and more inside and out. :-)
I cheated on the storage box. I went and got a tool box for a truck. Paint it what ever color turns you on . I have all 6 chair cushions in it, plus 5 small ones that go on top of it. I got extra seating this way . We raised it up with some landscaping concrete blocks. Otherwise it was sitting right on concrete.
Diane – I followed your tutorial using drop cloth fabric from Home Depot. I was so excited to try this out, I even cut strips of drop cloth to use for the “ribbon”! ? I didn’t have any on hand and could not wait to try making my covers. I’m going to use some of the excess drop cloth and make some extra covers, but use ribbon for those.
This method worked perfectly and I now have new covers on my antique wicker loveseat. The porch is covered/screened in but will still bring the cushions inside during our Alabama thunderstorms, never know which way the wind will blow and have a section of porch getting wet.
I’ll eventually try to make cushions with actual zippers but I’m very pleased with how these turned out.
Thanks a million!
PS I’ll try and email you a pic or two.
It really is easy to sew a zipper into a pillow. While the fabric is laying flat on your table you pin the zipper into one of the the seams and then sew it along each edge. (this is sewn before sewing the other sides). When you get to each of the corners where the zipper is you just sew that seam right up to the zipper. If you didn’t sew it up tight enough into each corner just tuck it into the side of the next seam. Sew the other three seams and turn it inside out. I have shown many people this technique and once they get it they agree it is really easy.
Hi Carole – I know this is true… I just have to sew a few zippers into a few items a few times so it all makes sense and I get an Ahh-ha moment. It takes a lot of left brain, right brain thinking at the same time, like when having to cut compound cuts in crown molding on a miter saw. :-) Thanks for sharing the steps. I am sure if I Googled it I could even find a video over on YouTube.
I don’t have a cushion storage box, but I recently purchased a GIANT deck box from Sam’s Club to store my patio cusions in. It works great! It does not have that inside liner though. I didn’t know these things existed and I may have gotten that instead! :(
Love this post, Diane. Do you leave your pillows and cushions outside all the time? I don’t have a covered patio so they will get rained on. I usually put them in my tool shed when I think it’s going to rain, but I hate having to take them out and put them back all the time.
We used a storage box similar to the one you are considering for years and it really added to the ‘longevity’ of the cushions. One suggestion is to give it a good ‘bug spraying’ before winter, so that you do not find a newly established family having taken up residence over the winter :).
I know the fabric decoration is all the rage these days, but never tried it once. I actually like this tutorial and I’m going to try this for my throw pillows on my porch sofa! Lovely :)
Hi my lifesaver. I cannot believe that you could make this slip now.I am at the moment planning on slip covering my cushions on my rattan chairs and love seat. Now my only problem is can I do this with the cushions that rest at the back of the chairs (they are not pillow like, they are the same shape of the seats but smaller.As far as the larger love seat I would just put more ribbons on it to draw it tight. This procedure sounds so easy. Now what about the back cushions. I am not sure if you see the back through the rattan. Anyways this whole idea is fantastic. …Betty from Ontario, Canada. P.S. I love your waterfront home.
You are a godsend Diane. Thank you again for such a wonderful, timely post…now to get busy!
Brilliant!!!! Just like a wrapped package? Gotta try this myself!!!! Need to make a fabric store run now!!!!
Your cushion covers look great, and such a pretty color. I have a large deck box for my chair cushions and it works wonderfully for keeping cushions dry and clean. No dragging them inside the house. I have had it for four years and it holds up great and my cushions look brand new. I’ve never had a mildew problem, and it holds 8 chair cushions.
Deck boxes are a great way to keep cushions dry and clean during off season. Big box stores sell them along with Costco and Sams Club. There are some really attractive ones out now.
Love your cushion covers! Great idea :)
Happy Mother’s Day ?
That fabric is beautiful! Looks so pretty! I do mine completely no sew, just wrap the cushion in the fabric and use duct tape on the bottom. Mine are out in the sun and only last one season so it’s an easy way for me just to use the tape since I don’t sew.
Having lived in the deep South my entire life,out-of-doors fabric has come a long way – BUT with our extreme humidity during the warm months (May through October) fabric just mildews too fast for me to bother with. If I was a stay at home wife/mother I might could deal with it – but being out of the house 60 hours a week with my job – I don’t have time (or inclination) to spend my weekend time at home cleaning mildewed and/or dirty chair cushions, patio drapes, etc… and the only way to prevent it is to drag the cushions in and out which is irksome. We are on our third summer of having a backyard pool – and the only fabric on anything out of doors is the large umbrella by the pool – which doesn’t mildew because it is exposed to the sun after getting wet – whereas – when cushions get wet – the underside stays damp and then mildew. We have two fabric covered folding chairs that we take in and out of the basement on weekends and that’s about it. We have considered nice cushioned loungers by the pool – but then I think about the trouble that I’D have to go to… and not worth it. (And all these Pinterest boards of porches with sheer and fabric drapes… in Alabama that would be another invitation to mildew. LOL)
I applaud you for your skills at covering those cushions, and I ENVY your beautiful lake home for sure. Enjoy!
My sister uses shoelaces for everything they are for the most part strong we are currently repurposing an ugly yello glider with ottoman and plan on using the shoelaces as the ties gifting to nephew with 4 kids so covers have to be washable thanks for your ideas