Nikki Goes DIY In The Cockpit – Painting Fabric Cushions

Nikki Goes DIY In The Cockpit – Painting Fabric Cushions

I think we’re all drawn to pretty things even if we don’t agree on what pretty is.  For me, not much can compare to the beauty of the rugged coasts along the Redwood Forest or gazing down an icy waterfall from the top of a glacier in Alaska.

One environment brings out the romantic in me and moves me to the point of tears, while the other has me so invigorated I can’t sit still.  It’s undeniable that my surroundings have a huge influence on my emotions and state of mind.  So naturally, when it comes to my personal surroundings, I want something that makes me happy, inspired, and invigorated.

It didn’t take long to realize that the cockpit of our sailboat is our favorite place to hang out.  The breeze flows through, frosty beverages are within arm’s reach and there’s lots of room to stretch our legs out while enjoying the views.

We’re going to spend a lot of time in this space both while we’re kicking back and underway.  Which is why it’s at the top of my makeover list.  The seat cushions and pillows are of great quality, and still in good condition, but the style is not mine at all.  The colors are dark and the patterns are way too traditional for our taste.

We’re drawn to spaces that are bright, airy and have an ever so slightly quirky edge. There are a lot of ways I could have gone about transforming this space but most of them cost a pretty penny.  After way too many hours researching ideas on the internet and watching YouTube videos…I finally came up with a game plan.

I am going to paint my cockpit cushions!

Yes, paint. Not purchase new cushions, not buy fabric and reupholster, but pick up a bucket of paint and see what happens.

So, grab an ice-cold beverage and your sunglasses for this video because it’s hot, muggy and the sun is shining here in South Florida.

Kind of nifty don’t you think!?!  It might be my all-time favorite recycling and DIY project ever.  Reupholstering or having new cushions made would have cost far more money and taken way more time…plus, it’s something we’re not ready to deal with at the moment.

  • Total Time Invested – 20 hours (including trips to the store for supplies)
  • Cost – Less than $100
    • 2 quarts (I used 1.5) of chalk paint: $66
    • 1 quart of polycrylic (I should have gotten a smaller size): $18
    • Painters sponge & drop cloth: $5

Before and After

cockpit makeoverpainting my sailboat cushionspainting fabric cushions

DIY sailboat makeover painting cushionssailboat makeoversailboat makeover

Overall I am thrilled with my new space.  I like the clean look of everything and my new dapper furry friends make me smile.  It’s like having stuffed animals again and I’ve started giving them all names.  If I start talking to them or setting them up a spot for tea…well…I’ll at least make sure to get it on camera for you before Jason drops me off at the loony bin.

Below you’ll find everything I used, a few tips from my experience and where I found the pillows.  If you have any questions, want to say how crazy you think I am or perhaps a DIY story of your own, please share in the comment box below.  I love love love (yep that’s 3 loves) hearing from you!

A Few Fabric Painting Tips

  • Different fabrics will absorb more or less paint and will absorb them differently.  I have seen velvet fabrics soak up the paint fast and not come out as even, but still, look great.  I have also seen some printed fabrics that still show the print through and not look so hot.  I highly suggest test patching.
  • Water is your friend and it is easier to start out by using too much and backing off if needed.  I used 3 parts paint to one part water and made sure my sponge was nice and moist at all times.
  • Work it in, but don’t overwork it.  I was working far harder at the beginning than I needed too and creating extra wear on the fabric.  I found that as long as I kept my sponge really moist, the paint went on and soaked in no problem.  My arms were much happier too. 🙂

Fabric Painting Supplies

Other Extras From The Video