How to Make Your Own Outdoor Cushions

Do you have wooden or metal outdoor furniture that needs a comfort facelift? Outdoor cushions completely change the look and feel of your patio furniture and often add some fun personality to the space. If this sounds like a great idea to you, and you want to tackle the job yourself, FoamOrder is here to help.

This step-by-step guide will walk you through the process of making your own outdoor cushions, including listing all the materials you need. Are you ready for your next DIY? Let’s get started.


Cushion Materials Needed

When you decide to make your own outdoor cushions, you’ll need to gather the right supplies. You don’t want to be caught mid-project and realize you’re missing something you need! Here are the materials you need to make outdoor furniture cushions.



Look for cushion foam that is waterproof and durable since it will be exposed to the elements outside. Outdoor foam, also known as “dry-fast foam” has an open-cell structure to allow water to flow freely through the cushion and dry quickly.



If you’re making an outdoor bench cushion or have outdoor furniture with a slatted seat, you’ll want to add exterior/outdoor plywood underneath the cushion foam or padding to create a stronger base.



You can choose any pattern you like, but you want to look for fabric that is specifically made for outdoor use. This type of fabric should be waterproof, UV-resistant, and extremely durable. FoamOrder offers a wide range of durable, UV-resistant Sunbrella® Fabrics.


Sewing Machine

When you are ready to put your cushion together, make sure you have a sewing machine on hand. Since you want these cushions to last for a long time, avoid hand-stitching or gluing the fabric to ensure the best results.



The type of thread you use when sewing your outdoor cushions is just as important as the fabric you choose. Look for thread that is UV-resistant, high-strength, and mildew-resistant.


Look for these thread types:

  • Lifetime threads
  • Polyester
  • Nylon
  • Monofilament



You need one zipper for every cushion you make, and it needs to be the same length as your cushion.


Fabric Scissors

Invest in a good pair of fabric scissors. It will make it easier to cut the fabric and create smoother cuts.


Sewing Pins

Once you have the fabric pieces cut out and you are ready to sew them together, you’ll need sewing pins to hold everything in place. These pins ensure the fabric stays in line and helps create straight stitches.


Making Outdoor Cushions

Making your own outdoor furniture cushions is fairly easy. There are a few simple steps to follow and you’ll be sitting comfy in no time.


Step 1: Measure Furniture Seats to Determine Cushion Size

First, you’ll need to measure the seat where the new cushion will go. Measure the width and depth of the seat to get your base measurements.


Once you have the base measurements, you need to cut your fabric out. For the most accurate measurements for each cushion panel, add 1" to the width and depth measurements to get a 1/2" seam allowance around the entire piece. This gives you the panel measurements for the top and bottom of the cushion.


For the length of the cushion side panels, take the original base measurements for all four sides of the top panel and add them together. Then, add another 1" to that number for the seam allowance. To get the height of the side panel, measure the height of the foam cushion you picked, then add an additional 1" for the seam allowance.


Remember the old adage: Measure twice and cut once.


Step 2: Cut Out Fabric Pieces

With your measurements double-checked for accuracy, you’re now ready to cut out your fabric pieces. You’ll need to cut out a top and bottom panel for every cushion you are making as well as a side panel for all of them.


Round the Edges

Once your top and bottom panels are cut out, line them up with the patterned sides facing each other. On the corners that will be facing out, cut a rounded edge on both sides.


Cut the Corners

Sewing straight lines on a rounded edge can be a little difficult. You can add a few small, V-shaped notches into the rounded edges to make this process easier.


Step 3: Pin and Sew Fabric Pieces Together

Using your sewing pins, put your fabric pattern sides together and secure them with the pins. Place pins every few inches around the sides and front of the cushion fabric — these are the sides you will sew together. Make sure to account for the 1/2" seam allowance and leave the back open for the zipper.


Step 4: Attach the Cushion Zipper

Place the zipper face down on the patterned side of the fabric at one of the ends of the bottom panel. Pin the zipper in place 1/2" from the edge and sew it to the panels on both sides.


Step 5: Measure and Cut Cushion Foam

You should already have the correct height of your cushion foam, so you’ll need to measure the length and width of the foam to ensure it matches your cushion measurements. Make sure you use a ruler and a marker to mark exactly where you need to cut and get straight lines.


You also have the option to order custom-cut foam pieces directly from FoamOrder to save you the time and effort of measuring and cutting the foam. Additionally, you can purchase foam by the sheet if you’re making lots of cushions and want to save the cost of buying individual pieces.


Step 6: Flip Cushion Cover Right-Side Out, Add the Filling

You’ve made the cushion cover and you’ve cut the padding to size. Now it’s time to put them together. Turn your cushion cover right-side out so the pattern is facing out, then carefully put the foam padding inside the cover.


Repeat this process for all your DIY outdoor cushions and enjoy beautiful, comfortable outdoor seating.


Step 7: Make Cushions Waterproof

If you didn’t choose a fabric that is already waterproof or water-resistant, you can get a waterproof spray product. Follow the directions on these products to get a waterproof finish.


Step 8: Decorate Your Outdoor Furniture

You’re finally ready to decorate your outdoor furniture! Add all of your DIY cushions to their right seats and you’re good to go.


Frequently Asked Questions


Here are some frequently asked questions that come up when making outdoor cushions.


How long does it typically take to make one outdoor cushion?


The time will vary depending on your measuring, cutting, and sewing skills. However, once you have measured and cut your first pieces, the rest of them will go faster. The same goes for sewing. As soon as you know how to line everything up, sew it together, and add the zipper, it’ll be faster for the next cushion.


For your first cushion, plan on an hour for measuring, cutting, and sewing. After that, it should take less than 30 minutes per cushion.


What is the difference between making a cushion vs. making a pillow?


The process is fairly similar. However, you won’t use a foam cushion for the pillow, and you won’t need to round the edges or cut the corner when you make the pillow.


Can I use the same cushion steps for different types of outdoor furniture?


Most likely. The way you measure your foam and fabric may change, especially for round cushions, but you still need to measure, cut, pin, and sew your cushions the same way.


Is it better to DIY my outdoor cushions or professionally replace them?


This depends on your skills and comfort level. If you aren’t up to the task of DIY-ing your own cushions, you may want to order directly from FoamOrder instead. Ordering custom-made cushions and covers from FoamOrder will cost more than doing the project yourself, but you get peace of mind that the cushions are made correctly without having to do it yourself.


Want to Learn More? FoamOrder Can Help.


If you need more help measuring your foam and fabric, or you decide that the DIY approach is not for you, FoamOrder is here to help. We make custom and replacement outdoor furniture cushions to meet all of your needs. Contact our team to learn more today.

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