How to Paint an Outdoor Rug

Earlier this summer I showed you the big reveal of our small outdoor balcony. We’re still enjoying the colorful oasis, and you’ll often find Finn & I sitting out here on a warm night. My flowers are still alive (woo hoo!) and my DIY screen door is still intact (phew!) Everything seems all good out here, right?

 Well not quite. In order to add a bit of color to the balcony area, I found an outdoor rug in teal. I loved the pattern and the pop of color…but if I was being perfectly honest with myself, the rug was just way too small.


This outdoor rug is way too small for this space, even though I love the teal blue color and fun pattern.

…it’s cute, but just not large enough for the space. I headed to a few stores and even did a little online shopping to try to find a larger outdoor rug.  I thought it would be a quick and painless process, but boy was I wrong.

First of all, most of the rugs were just way too large for the space. I needed something 4×6, but couldn’t find anything smaller than 6×8 that might work. Then to add to my frustration, almost every rug was incredibly expensive. I’m talking over $100 for a rug that I knew was just going to sit outside and get kinda gross.

So since I couldn’t purchase the perfect outdoor rug, I knew I would have to DIY one.

How to Paint a DIY Outdoor Rug

This rug was too big, but could be cut to make two perfect sized rugs!

I found this rug online. It was 6×8 (too big for our small balcony) but was only $17.88. I figured I could purchase the rug and see if there would be a way to cut it in half. For less than $20, it was worth a shot.

Now I know what you’re thinking…that rug isn’t exactly the prettiest thing on the block. Well, I had a solution for that too. Paint!

Behr paint sample for our DIY outdoor rug.

I purchased 5 paint samples in a variety of colors, and each was less than $3! Since I wanted to paint multiple colors onto the rug, I figured this was the most cost effective option. Be sure to buy paint that works well outdoors. I purchased indoor/outdoor paint, so I knew it would hold up on our balcony.

Painting supplies to make our DIY outdoor rug.

Supplies for DIY Outdoor Rug

Measuring rug to transform our outdoor space.

1. Cut to Size

When the rug arrived, I instantly knew I would have no trouble cutting it down to the right size. It was incredibly lightweight and very thin (that’s what happens when a rug is only $18!) But I didn’t mind at all, it was going to work perfectly for this project. I measured it out, and drew a line splitting the rug into two equal parts.

If you purchase a rug that is initially too large for your space, but it's a great deal, you can cut the rug to size during the project.

Then I simply used scissors to cut my rug. Instead of one large 6×8 rug…I now had two 4×6 rugs. It worked out so well that I cut a rug right there in our family room (pun definitely intended, please picture me joyfully dancing when my plan worked!)

Duct tape stripes in varying sizes create a fun pattern for our DIY outdoor rug.

2. Add Tape For Your Design

Next up…painting! I figured stripes would be the easiest “design” for me to tackle. I decided to go with a variety of widths…2 inches, 4 inches, and 6 inches for the stripes. I attempted to plan everything out ahead of time…but I’m not one for math and I was just too eager to paint. So I just went for it and figured if I screwed up, I had another rug right there ready to go.

Paint samples: blue colors and a pop of yellow are perfect for this DIY outdoor rug.
I used a sponge to get the paint into the grooves of the rug.

3. Paint

Rookie Tip: After painting my first stripe, I quickly realized that I needed a way to get the paint down into the fibers of the rug. Finn suggested I use a scrub brush to really work the paint down in there. That man is a genius…it totally worked! I definitely suggest buying a pack of cheap sponges for this stage of the project. Use the hard side of the sponge to work the paint around. I only had one sponge on hand, so I had to wash it in between every color…learn from me and spend a couple bucks for more sponges.

I let the rug dry for a day or so, and then it was time for its balcony debut!

DIY outdoor rug looks amazing on the balcony.

To say I love it would be an understatement. It’s absolutely fabulous. The size is 1000x better than the dinky one we had out there before, and I just can’t get enough of those preppy stripes.

Our bistro table looks amazing on our DIY rug.
My watering can and DIY rug go so well together.
Our new rug is the perfect size for our balcony, and it was so easy to paint.

The blues, whites, and pop of yellow work really well together. Plus it goes well with the other accessories and flowers we already have on our balcony.

The striped DIY rug holds up great outdoors!

It’s been out there for a couple weeks now, and it really is holding up well! We’ve had lots of storms but it still looks fresh and the color has not faded.

This larger rug fills the space on our balcony much better than the old rug, and it looks so much better!

I figure I’ll give this little guy a year, and then next summer I can use a new pattern and colors on the other half of the rug.

My yellow pillow and flower pot look great next to the DIY painted rug.

This project cost less than $30 for the rug and all of the supplies, plus I still have half a rug left for next year! It may have taken a couple hours to paint the stripes, but to me, it was time well spent. I’m now even more in l-o-v-e with our outdoor oasis.


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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