How to Make Cushions for Patio Chairs

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Outdoor furniture is sturdy, made to tolerate weather and much use. Sometimes patio chairs could use a little boost in the comfort department. With all of the shared meals and moonlight conversations happening around your patio table this summer, why not spiff up your seats? It takes only a bit of time and creativity to make your own patio seat cushions. Your neighbors and your back will thank you!

Things You'll Need

  • For each cushion:
  • High density foam (2" thick, 15" x 17")
  • 21" x 35" outdoor canvas (for cover)
  • 2 pieces of 3" x 16" outdoor canvas (for ties)
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Cardstock or cardboard for pattern
  • Sewing machine
  • Safety pins
  • Thread
  • Needle
DIY Chair Cushion
DIY Chair Cushion (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 1

Place the foam on your chair and trace the basic shape of the chair seat. Using sharp scissors, shape the corners. After cutting one cushion, use it as a pattern for the others by placing the cut cushion atop the uncut cushion and tracing with a marker. Try to make each cushion the same shape. (High density foam is sold in sheets that can be cut down, as well as in pre-cut sizes. Save time and mess by purchasing pre-cut 15" x 17" rectangles.)

Draw the Shape You Will Cut
Draw the Shape You Will Cut (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 2

If your chair back is slightly rounded, simply snip the back corners at a 45 degree angle. Mark your cushion back with a dot to make it easier later.

Cut Foam Away With Scissors
Cut Foam Away With Scissors (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 3

Cut outdoor canvas fabric to size. If the suggested amount of canvas listed above doesn't work for your chair seat, use this math: chair cushion width + 4 inches; chair cushion length x 2 + 5 inches

Cut Fabric to Size
Cut Fabric to Size (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 4

Fold canvas in half, right sides together, making a 21" x 17.5" rectangle. The folded edge will the be front of your cushion cover. Because the front corners of the foam are rounded, you will also need to round the front corners of the cover.

Get Ready to Sew
Get Ready to Sew (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 5

To make rounded corners, make a simple pattern out of cardstock. Tracing the edge of a plate makes a perfect arc. Then trace the pattern on the front corners of the cover.

Mark Rounded Corners
Mark Rounded Corners (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 6

Using a 1/2" seam allowance, stitch up the side of the cover and around the curve you just traced. Repeat on the other side.

Stitch Up Sides
Stitch Up Sides (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 7

Turn cover. Insert foam, using the dot as a quick reference for which end goes in first. The cover should be very snug.

Turn and Insert Foam
Turn and Insert Foam (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 8

Fold the open end like wrapping a gift and safety pin in place.

Fold Ends Like A Present and Pin
Fold Ends Like A Present and Pin (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 9

Using a needle and thread, whip stitch the opening together. Remove safety pins.

Whip Stitch Closed
Whip Stitch Closed (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 10

To make the ties, fold each piece of the canvas tie fabric in half, lengthwise with right sides together. Using the sewing machine, stitch one short side and the long side together. Turn. It can be tricky to turn a small item like this; use a chopstick or marker to assist. Tuck ends in and stitch closed.

Make Chair Ties
Make Chair Ties (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 11

Using a needle and thread, attach ties to back of cushion at the corners.

Attach Ties
Attach Ties (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

Step 12

Tie to your chair and have a seat!

Aaaaaah
Aaaaaah (Image: Nici Holt Cline)

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