Alicia W
Alicia W
  • Hometalker
  • Middletown, PA

Tie Cotton Swabs Together for This Outdoor Seating Update

6 Materials
$35
1 Day
Medium

I love the soft look of watercolor, don't you? These chair cushions are NOT watercolor; they are just faded and moldy - yuk! They needed to be recovered and given a new life. Watch the video below to see how I did it with cotton swabs!

BEFORE:
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
I purchased a white, king, flat bed sheet from Walmart for this project. Watch the video below to see how I brought these seats back to life!
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
Begin by removing the old covers from the cushions. You will use the old covers as a template for the new covers.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
After you've washed (without fabric softener) and dried your fabric (bedsheet), lay it out double sided and place the old cushion cover on top.
Using chalk, trace the outside edge of the old cushion cover on one half. Cut that half out.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
To assure an even shape, fold the cut half over and trace and cut out the remainder of the fabric (bed sheet).
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
For the paint, I used tube watercolor instead of cakes. Tubes will give you a consistent color overall.
Add a small amount into a container.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
Add three times as much fabric medium and mix together.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
Add water and mix again. The more water you add, the lighter the color.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
For my project, instead of a paint brush, I used cotton swabs.
For a bigger impact, I rubber banded approximately 20 swabs together. I used this bundle for my main color.
I made two smaller bundles for my two accent colors.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
Cover your surface with an old towel and then placed two layers of paper toweling over the old towel.
Place your fabric (bed sheet), single sided, on top of the toweling.

(I didn't use plastic because it doesn't absorb the water, thereby making the fabric very wet which causes the colors to run into each other more than I wanted them to.)
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
Dip the bunches of cotton swabs into the watercolor and apply it to the fabric.
The longer you allow the cotton swabs to be in contact with the fabric, the more paint will be applied to the fabric resulting in a larger area of color.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
I also used individual cotton swabs for small spots of color.
tie cotton swabs together for this outdoor seating update
When you've completed your design (it's very hard to stop :), hang your fabric to dry.
When the fabric is dry, lay a cloth over the fabric and press it with a hot iron. This will seal the color onto the fabric. Check out the amazing result in the video below!

AFTER:
Isn't that gorgeous? And it's so quick and easy. Everyone in my family loves our outdoor seating now. It feels so fresh and new, but the revamp cost almost nothing!

Suggested materials:

  • Watercolor paints in a tube  (ACMoore)
  • Fabric Medium  (JoAnn Fabric)
  • Flat Bed Sheet in white  (Walmart)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Heather Witt
    on Jun 8, 2019

    Do you use anything to seal or waterproof the bed sheet after this? I’m thinking about doing this but I’m afraid if it gets wet it will get ruined... my porch is covered but it may get damp if it’s very windy. Thank you for sharing this! Cushions are ridiculously expensive (or maybe I am just cheap 😂😅)

    • Marleen
      on Jul 18, 2019

      I use waterproofing (spray) the kind for tents and other articles like she's and boots. Not only does it waterproof my cushions but also my upholstered chair seats. Added bonus messes wipe right off, along with accumulating dirt.

  • Beverley
    on Jul 10, 2019

    When I pressed after I was shown a series of movies ??? I would love to see the outcome. Can you post a picture?

  • Ruth Ann Moreland
    on Jul 21, 2019

    What kind of zipper did you use? You didn’t address that.

Join the conversation

2 of 6 comments
  • Adrie
    on May 7, 2019

    Great idea. Love working with fabric I can design

  • Georgia
    7 days ago

    I am unable to see the finished project.

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