How to Paint an Outdoor Rug

Transform a plain, inexpensive outdoor rug into a custom DIY creation with a little paint.

Weekend Project

Add interest to a patio, a porch, or any outdoor space with a pretty hand-painted rug. Our easy-to-follow guide shows you how to transform a basic sisal rug into a trendy patterned rug. All you need are a few simple DIY materials and a little bit of time.

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What You Need

  • Outdoor sisal rug
  • Drop cloth
  • 2-inch-wide painters tape
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Chalk-finish paint (we used 1/2 quart of Annie Sloan Pure White Chalk Paint)
  • Cloth
  • Large round paintbrush

Step 1: Prep the Space

Weekend Project

Place your rug on a drop cloth (or use the plastic wrapper it came in) in a well-ventilated area. If your rug has a border you would like to keep, cover it with painters tape for protection.

Step 2: Mark the Rug

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Using a tape measure, find and mark the center of the rug with a pencil. Working outward from your mark, apply two lengths of painters tape side by side diagonally from the center to one corner (side-by-side lengths of tape should overlap slightly). Apply a second set of two side-by-side lengths from the center to the adjacent corner, creating a V shape. Each leg of the V should be 4 inches wide.

Step 3: Trim to Perfection

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Where V legs intersect, use scissors to trim a perfect point and cut off excess tape.

Step 4: Guide the Tape

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Use a ruler or make a 4-inch spacer out of tape to guide the placement of each subsequent V until the whole rug is taped. Each leg of each V should be 4 inches apart.

Step 5: Start Painting

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Mix in 1-2 drops of water for each cup of chalk-finish paint to help it glide on. Alternatively, you can fill a spray bottle with water and use it to slightly dampen the rug before painting. Use a cloth to blot any excess paint from your paintbrush, and paint between your taped Vs. Add more coats as desired. Let dry completely. Repeat steps to complete the rug.

Step 6: Remove Tape

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Carefully remove the tape to reveal the finished rug.

Editor's Tip: There are many chalk-finish paints on the market, but we chose Annie Sloan Chalk Paint for this project because we like how evenly it covers the surface -- and it doesn't require a separate sealant.

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