How to make waterproof outdoor cushions and pillows

Updated February 21, 2017

If your outdoor seating area could benefit from a new look, make a few waterproof cushions or pillows for the space. You can make waterproof cushions out of any waterproof outdoor material. Most fabric shops stock some waterproof material throughout the year and feature a wider selection during the spring and summer when it's seasonal. If your seating area is covered, you can also use a water-resistant material, such as vinyl, from which to make your cushions and pillows.

Measure the seat of the chair or area where you're planning to put the cushion or pillow with a tape measure. Place muslin in the seat, and trace the outline of the seat on the muslin to create a pattern form to follow if needed.

Lay your cut muslin outline on a piece of foam.Trace the shape on the foam using a pencil or marker. Use an electric carving knife to cut the foam to size and shape. Wrap the foam in batting. This is your cushion form.

Lay your waterproof fabric back side up. Lay your pillow or cushion form on top of your fabric.Trace the form. Add 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) to every side. Sketch the new outline. Cut out the shape. Lay the shape on the fabric. Cut out a second shape exactly the same as the first.

Lay your cushion on the side on the fabric. Trace the side of the cushion as either one piece or multiple pieces, depending on the shape of your cushion. For instance, if you have a square cushion, measure each side separately. If you have a round cushion, measure the edge of the circle as a single piece. Add 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) to every side of the traced figure. Sketch an outline using the new measurement. Cut out the material for the edges of the cushion. If you are making a pillow, skip this step unless you want your pillow to have edges.

Sew the pieces together along the edges, back side of the material facing out. For pillows, simply sew the two pieces together for either side. For cushions, sew one side to the edge pieces, and sew that to the second side piece, creating a kind of sack. Turn the sack inside out, so the patterned side of the fabric faces out.

Put the cushion or pillow form inside your fabric "sack." Fold in the edges of the open end. Sew it up.


Leave the back section, that will sit against the back of the chair, open to seal at the end. This way, the unattractive seam can be hidden.

If you're making pillows, add 2.5 cm (1 inch) to the width measurement for your back panel. Cut it in half, and add a zip, so you'll be able to remove the cover to clean it.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Muslin
  • Pencil or marker
  • Foam
  • Electric knife
  • Batting
  • Pillow form
  • Waterproof fabric
  • Sewing machine
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About the Author

Sienna Condy began writing professionally in 2001 while attending the University of Cincinnati, and she's been at it ever since. Since graduating, she's written everything from marketing materials to articles on removing stains. Today, she enjoys writing about weddings, legal issues, science, health and parenting.