Why are outdoor rugs so expensive? 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.

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!

This rug, however, was $20 at my local Walmart. Yes, Walmart! I started by tracing my bowl four times in a square pattern, with the edges touching.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!)

Suggested materials:

  • Scrap cardboard from an old box
  • Cereal Bowl with water in it
  • Chalk
See all materials

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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 14 questions
  • Joanie
    on Jul 12, 2017

    Is your rug and furniture under a covered porch??
  • Kathy
    on Jan 25, 2019

    Obviously it is going to get wet then so what type of carpet is it? Do you pull it up. When it rains? I would think it would be ruined with rain. How do you dry it out?

    • Helen Cocuzza
      Helen Cocuzza
      on Oct 24, 2020

      They sell indoor / outdoor area rugs in Home Depot’s & Lowes for $10-$25 depending on size they usually have brown / deep cream , black / charcoal , green colors when I’ve been there as recent as this summer & last & they are still selling them, hope that helps.

  • Sandra
    on Jan 25, 2019

    What makes this an “outdoor” rug? I’m only asking bc I have rugs from Walmart and such and I never put them outside.

Join the conversation

2 of 129 comments
  • Claire
    on Jul 25, 2020

    Our kids decided it was time, so they sold our house and bought us a condo which has a 6 1/2 wide by 20 feet long and I decided to try to buy multiple outdoor rugs would be really awkward and perhaps dangerous across the space (for older people) and I saw some cut-to-order outdoor carpet at Home Depot that would be safe but a boring tan. With your creativity example, I think I have the boring aspect well in hand, thanks to you. I'm not original, so I will just copy your amazing creation!! Thanks so much, from an 81-year old fan of yours. I think I can manage your idea.....

  • Marianne Petersen
    Marianne Petersen
    7 days ago

    Yes, I have for a long time thinking about make a rug indors with roses. I have a stencil I for years ago make roses on a pillow. So now I will find a good carpet I can stencil on. Perhaps kalkpaint.

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