DIY Outdoor Rug (inspired by Zinc Door)

Why are outdoor rugs so expensive? Indoor rugs, I can kinda understand – because a good one can last you at least a decade. But outdoor ones might last a couple of years at best in our kinda weather. So when I started putting together things for our brand spankin’ new front porch, I knew I’d want to find a DIY outdoor rug solution. After some smart shopping and lots of thinking, I figured out how to get a pretty rug for under $25.

Turn a cheap rug into a show stopper - this project was so easy. And I can't believe how she got that pattern - SO smart!

zinc door rug

First, let’s take a look at the rug that inspired my DIY outdoor rug project. This pattern from Zinc Door was right up my alley – however the $358 price tag was not. I mean, we just spent like 90% of the budget on wood and paint and nails – this one thing would put me over budget in a heartbeat.

DIY painted outdoor rugThis rug, however, was $20 at my local Walmart. Yes, Walmart. It doesn’t say outdoor rug, but it’s made from the same material as my indoor/outdoor rug in our half bath that came from Ballard’s – and it’s under a roof, so I’m going to take a chance on it. $20 isn’t worth crying over if it gets wrecked in six months.

How to Paint an Outdoor Rug

Besides the rug, I also used:

  • Scrap cardboard from an old box
  • Pencil
  • Cereal Bowl
  • Chalk
  • Water (in the cereal bowl)
  • Fabric Paint
  • Soft Bristle Paint Brush
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape

DIY painted outdoor rug

I started by tracing my bowl four times in a square pattern, with the edges touching.

DIY painted outdoor rug

Next, I used the scissors to cut out the pattern, just going right to where the circles meet on the outside, think like a four leaf clover.

DIY painted outdoor rug

Next measure your rug and place the pattern in the center. Using cheap – NOT DUSTLESS – chalk, trace around the pattern, then move it to the right and left, making a whole line all the way across the rug. Use the bowl to put water in to soak your chalk, because dry chalk won’t show up well – but wet chalk does. It will take a lot of chalk, so be sure to have 5-6 sticks to be sure you have enough.

DIY painted outdoor rug

Then, using your brush, paint right over the lines, I used my brush as the width guide. It won’t be perfect – but that’s ok, it just adds charm! Use the bristles to kind of work the paint into the rug a bit so it will be a fairly solid line.

DIY painted outdoor rug

I traced a line, painted it, traced a line, painted it, over and over until I was finished. You’ll probably have chalk smudges, but a vacuum will clean it right up after all your paint is dry.

Turn a cheap rug into a show stopper - this project was so easy. And I can't believe how she got that pattern - SO smart!
Two hours of work and about $25 in supplies gave me the look I wanted for an outdoor rug without breaking the bank.

(Edited to add: I get a lot of questions about how the outdoor rug is holding up – and after two years it still looks great!)


About Gina Luker

Gina Luker is a writer, photographer and lover of all things quirky. She's usually found with a drill in one hand and a cocktail in the other while blogging along the way. She's addicted to coffee, polka dots, rock stars, Instagram, and everything aqua.


  1. awesome idea! you’ve got me thinking now!

  2. That is a great idea! I love it so much. You sure can’t beat that price ~Sonya

  3. Pretty, Gina! This looks great!

  4. WOW! brilliant- gonna copy this one for sure!
    Thanks for sharing, Gina!

  5. Wow Gina… This is amazing! Your method to make the stencil was super cool too! Your carpet looks amazing on your porch!

  6. Always love a great DIY rug project! Thanks for sharing how you made the template!

    • Yes, thanks for sharing how you made your template. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for and hope to have a beautiful rug like yours very soon. Do you think that house paint could be used rather than fabric paint?

      • Gina Luker says:

        You probably could, but I’d add some textile medium (a liquid that makes it compatible to fabric) so it would work better.

  7. What a fabulous idea! I love this and how you came up with your design to use. You are so creative!! Steph

  8. Love this, Gina. Pinning!

  9. Amazing!! Your ‘get-it-done’ courage gives me hope for my own projects!

  10. Great idea and your rug looks good–probably the best DIY outdoor rug I’ve seen around DIY land. I wonder though…if you could put a poly topcoat on it to protect it from the elements and/or foot traffic. I was thinking of making your version for my back deck, which is uncovered, and my front porch (covered). what do you think?

    • Gina Luker says:

      Thanks! I don’t know about the poly coat, I’d think it would make it hard and not so nice to walk on? It should definitely work for the covered porch if you use outdoor safe paint though!

  11. freaking. brilliant. ;}

  12. Love that you used a bowl for the pattern! Brilliant Gina!

  13. What a fantastic idea! You did a beautiful job I love this so much!

  14. I love this! And how smart how you made that stencil, and to use the chalk! Great tips.

  15. Love this idea! I’ve had my eye on an outdoor rug at Lowes, but haven’t bought it because of the cost. I am going to try this, first, by creating a stencil. Wish me luck and thank you, so much!

  16. I seriously love this! You make it look so easy and I bet feel happy whenever you walk past it because I know I would!

  17. Hi Gina
    This a great project. I might even do one myself it looks very easy. Thanks.

  18. This turned out great! I love the affordable price too.

  19. This is such a great idea! It looks like something that I could actually do.

  20. taren terrill says:

    What type of material is the rug made out of? Trying to find the same type at my WalMart. Also, how has the paint held up to being walked on?

    • Gina Luker says:

      It was a poly-blend I think? It’s actually held up really well! I was kinda worried about it, but it’s been months now and it still looks great.

  21. I loved the way you created the pattern and the way you used the wet chalk marks to keep the pattern true.
    I redid a front porch for summer using a 60 X 108 in tablecloth as a rug cover. The fabric is polyester and is washable. I used 24 in Square fatigue shop mats found at Harbor Freight. I hot glued the inner edges together and then cut down to the size of my porch which was 4 feet by 7 feet. Then I flipped the mat/rug over and hot-glued the fabric to the back. This took about 2 hours to complete. It lasted all summer and now its time to change out my fabrics.

  22. Pam Bivens says:

    Okay… project number two you’ve inspired me to do!! Just finished staining our deck, and I’m absolutely doing a rug like this to put on it!!

  23. This is such a fabulous idea Gina! I can’t believe how simple it is to make and the cutout is genius. I will have to try this! Thanks so much.


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