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Outdoor Rug With Painted Stripes

Last Updated on February 26, 2013 by Kristi Linauer

I’ve got more patio progress to show you today, and this time it’s my painted outdoor rug!

I’m absolutely thrilled with how it turned out!  Yes, I did stripes…again. I really like stripes, in case you haven’t noticed. 🙂  But mostly I just like the fact that stripes are easy, while also being a high-impact design.

This project wasn’t difficult by any means, but it was so incredibly time-consuming that I almost decided to quit after the first stripe…but obviously I pressed on towards the finish line.  And I’m so glad I did!

I started out with this super cheap indoor/outdoor rug from Home Depot…

They don’t carry this in either of the Home Depot stores here in my city, so I had to order it online, and really wasn’t expecting much because of the price.  It’s a very thin and lightweight rug, but I actually really like it. I don’t know that I would ever use it indoors (probably not), but for outdoor use, I think it’s perfect!  The rug is made completely out of recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, but it doesn’t really have a plastic look or feel to it at all.  In fact, the feel of the rug is really quite soft under foot.  Of course, that changed once I put paint on it. 🙂

Painting the stripes was so unbelievably time-consuming.  (I’ve said that twice now…in a bold and italicized font even…so if you decide to take on this project, you’ve been warned.)  😀

I purchased five quarts of latex paint in different colors (I already had white paint at home) to match the colors in the outdoor pillows that I made, and started out by using painters tape to tape off the stripes, and a paint brush to brush, dab, and jab the paint into the fibers of the rug.  I really loaded up the brush with paint in order to get it into all of the fibers of the rug, even along the edge of the tape, and paint didn’t run or bleed.  I still got almost perfectly straight lines.

But that method was pretty slow, and used A LOT of paint!  So I decided to apply the paint with the brush (just swiping the loaded brush over the top of the rug in several places) and then use my fingers to rub the paint into the fibers.  But after about two rows, my fingers were just about rubbed raw.

Finally, I found a much easier method. I used the paint brush to apply the paint to the rug, working in small areas at a time, and swiping a loaded brush over the surface of the rug…

…and then I used a scrubbing brush to basically “massage” the paint into the fibers and spread the paint evenly. It worked great! I also quickly realized that painters tape wasn’t necessary, so I opted to use masking tape for the rest of the stripes since it’s cheaper.

When the paint was dry (I suggest letting it dry overnight), I sprayed the stripes with this clear finish that specifically says it works on plastic.

And it was finished!

I honestly have no idea how well this will hold up outside, but since the paint is really worked into the fibers of the rug, I really do think I’ll get at least one summer out of it.

So we’ll see how it lasts! I’ll keep you posted.

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    May 15, 2012 at 8:18 am

    Love this! I have been wanting to try this! Thanks for the link… i will order this up too and link back to you if I ever get around to painting it! laura

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage
    May 15, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Wow – looks amazing! Love the tip of using the scrub brush. Now get outside and enjoy!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 15, 2012 at 9:14 am

    WOW — it really looks great! Congrats!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shannon Fox
    May 15, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Well, your poor little fingers being tired were WORTH IT =) It looks great!! Really great.
    Brilliant idea to scrub the paint into the fibers! Smart cookie 😉

    Enjoy your fab new rug, again, it looks wonderful!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Catherine Banks
    May 15, 2012 at 10:14 am

    You pressed on toward the finish LINE…was that a pun?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Diane Mansil
    May 15, 2012 at 10:16 am


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Love that! It adds so much pizzazz! So now I have a question for you:

    Last summer, I purchased a new patio umbrella and chair cushions. They’re still perfectly servicable – everything works correctly and the cushions aren’t flattened or anything – but they look TERRIBLE!!! We lived down in Georgia, and the summer sun down there is just brutal. Everything is beyond sun-bleached. Now we’re in a more upscale neighborhood in Virginia (we’re Army – we move a lot), with a beautiful shaded deck, and no privacy fence to shield our neighbors from the eyesore created by our faded outdoor accoutrements. Do you think there’s any way I could paint or otherwise re-color those items? What would you suggest I use? Thanks!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Zia Courtney
    May 15, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    Such a gorgeous one! Very nice idea in painting an outdoor rug especially in using a brush to make evenly scattered to the rug. Love it! I would try this at home if I have more time. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    Looks really good! It all works so nicely together.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Carol Parris
    May 15, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Very pretty!! I really like how this turned out and how it pulls the chairs and tables together, too. Could you please let us know how it holds up to use?

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Mary Patterson
    May 15, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Love, Love, Love this – so pretty & colorful! I hope it lasts you several summers as you spent SO MUCH TIME on it! Itf not do another pretty design and share with us next year. I bet you can figure out a faster, simpler method.
    Mary P

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Debbie refreshrestyle
    May 15, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I love it! It’s looks so good with the chairs and table! Great price too!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    athome Meg
    May 16, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I love this too,but wonder if the cost of paint is worth the project?? Did you use all of that paint? I would be willing to take on this project, even with your “warnings”. Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      May 16, 2012 at 8:31 am

      With all of the paint, the project came to about $75. (I used quarts of flat Glidden paint…the cheapest at Home Depot.) I do think it was worth it, since the cheapest 6′ X 8′ rug that I could find, that actually looked nice and had bright vibrant colors, was over $200.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Amy [email protected]
    May 16, 2012 at 11:25 am

    You are SUCH an inspiration!! I just gave you a shout out on my blog today because of your daily helpful posts. Thanks for always inspiring us!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 16, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Great idea and perfect execution. LOVE this rug!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 17, 2012 at 7:06 am

    That looks beautiful!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    May 18, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Love this rug and so does hubby. However he said if I do this I need to use plastic fusion paint (a spray) to paint over the plastic. Latex probably won’t hold up too long. We’ll see!

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    August 2, 2012 at 9:28 pm

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jen in Jersey (Germany, Jersey, Wichita, Japan, Wichita)
    January 23, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    I’d love to hear how well this held up!

    I would think a high-nap roller and several cans of “oops” paint might be just the ticket to giving my new patio some life!

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      January 23, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      It has actually held up great! It’s still out there on the patio, and looks pretty much like it did when I finished it…but maybe just a bit dirtier. 😉 It could stand to be sprayed off, but the color still looks the same!

      • Reply To This Comment ↓
        Jen in Jersey (Germany, Jersey, Wichita, Japan, Wichita)
        January 23, 2013 at 4:24 pm

        Thank you so much for the quick reply!

        I’m recovering from a minor surgery and have spent the entire day perusing your site and “pinning” all the things I want to incorporate into our new home. We will have three separate outdoor spaces to fill and I’m looking for creative ways to do so on a budget.

        Your blog has been an inspiration for me for quite awhile and I love to revisit your projects and see how you update them.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shawn Hunter
    March 27, 2013 at 6:37 am

    Really like the colors! Can you share the names/mfg you used?

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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jeff Block
    June 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    So how did the outdoor painted carpet hold up, I am thinking of doing that on green outdoor carpet (home plate and batter boxes) in our batting cage we are building for our little league

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      June 16, 2014 at 12:08 am

      It’s still holding up great! It’s looking a bit dirty since it’s been outside ever since I painted it (through winters and summers), but the paint itself is holding up great.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 20, 2014 at 3:17 am

    My son and I just finished painting a border around the Foss Hobnail Rug I bought for his patio. It turned out great! You are right, masking tape worked just fine and we got crisp lines with no bleeding. It took us a couple of hours to do the whole thing from taping to finishing. All we have left to do is spray seal it. I’d love to send you a photo. I can’t thank you enough for sharing such a great project! I bought 3 more rugs and plan to paint stripes similar to your rug to match the pillows I made for my beach cottage deck. I can’t wait. Thank you, again! Great project.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    June Huston
    November 4, 2014 at 3:09 am

    I love your rug! You did a great job! I like the colors you choose! I’ll use your post as an inspiration for my outdoor project next spring!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    April 18, 2015 at 9:11 am

    Thank you! I was going to rip out my thin ugly patio carpet but now I’m painting it! (Could paint the cement but it would be icy in winter and not absorb water). I also painted a thin rubbery welcome mat with a stencil, thanks to your pinspiration! Now i need to seal said items with the clear rustoleum you recommended. Thanks again! You saved us $$$

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 25, 2015 at 7:19 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your rug! I’m inspired to paint my drab rug now!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    I LOVE your rug. You have inspired me to try one myself. I have a few questions though can you use spray paints? Have you tried it with stencils? How does it hold up in the wintertime with lots of rain?
    Thank you, Kariooka

    • Reply To This Comment ↓
      Kristi Linauer
      September 15, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Mine lasted two years with it outside year round. I haven’t used spray paint or stencils, but I’ve seen both of those things on other blogs.