Sunday, June 9, 2013

DIY Ottoman

We recently built our own ottoman, from scratch. This is a project I've been wanting to try for a while. It seemed pretty basic. I found great examples and inspiration on Pinterest. I considered re-purposing a coffee table or a bench, but custom making one seemed like the way to go, then I could decide the size and height - and I like a challenge! I also wanted to try tufting for the first time.

Wood base (we used leftover 3/4 inch plywood)
Button covers (if adding tufting)
Spray adhesive 
Staple gun with staples
Wooden legs
Leg plates
Spray paint (if legs need to be painted)
Upholstery needle
Nylon thread

This was kind of a learn-as-you-go project. After finding a piece of foam, Andrew cut the wood base to match the size. I lucked out by finding an inexpensive piece of foam at Ollie's Bargain Outlet. Foam can really be expensive, so shop around. You may even want to order it online. 

Secure the foam to the board with spray adhesive to keep it from moving while you upholster it. 

Wrap a snug layer of batting around the foam, and staple it to the wood base underneath. We worked on top of a small table.

Smooth out your fabric in place, making sure there is enough to go around all sides. If you're using fabric with a pattern, make sure the design is centered. Trim off the excess fabric and staple the fabric snugly to the board. Start at the middle and work your way out. Keep the fabric taut at all times, but not pulling tighter on any one side. If something is loose, you can always remove the staples and start again.

Meanwhile, paint the legs, if you need to. I picked these up at Home Depot, unfinished, for about $3 each and spray painted them white.

Folding and wrapping the corners was the most difficult part. I watched a couple how-to-upholster videos on YouTube that helped me figure this out. The key is not to have too much fabric in the corner. I kept trimming some of it away, in order to achieve a nice flat folded edge. Keep practicing it until you get it how you want it, and staple it in place. 

Time to get the drill. Once your fabric is all stapled down, place the leg plates in each corner and drill them into the base. Attach the legs, making sure they are standing even and upright. If they are crooked, you may need to adjust. 

Make your fabric covered buttons if you're going to add tufting. I initially only wanted one button in the center, then I decided it needed a total of 5 to look finished and balanced. I won't begin to try and explain this part. I used an excellent button tufted headboard tutorial. It's not as difficult as you might think. The key is drilling holes through the wood base and the foam, having a long upholstery needle, and pulling the buttons tight in order to tie them underneath. 

Here is the finished product! 

Not bad for our first try! I'm really happy with how it turned out. Now we have a soft place to rest our feet when we're sitting on the couch. 

And invariably, this happens. Of course, they think it's for them. 

Here are a couple ottoman projects that helped and inspired me. 

This guy thinks he can hide from me. He likes to photobomb.

I really like our cheery homemade ottoman. And if I ever want to change the fabric, I know I can switch it. This was a fun project for us to do together. Have you ever built an ottoman or piece of furniture? If so, were you happy with the results? What would you do differently next time?


Thank you!