Ottoman: Deconstructed & Re-Tufted

August 5, 2009

A few weeks ago, I picked up a mini ottoman at a thrift store for $5 dollars.  It was a beige patterned fabric that was ordinary, but nothing special.  I dreamed of a perch in my office for my feet and my morning coffee, so I set my sights on reupholstering it in a pale blue silky fabric. 

Here’s a peek at the end result:

ottoman final 

Here’s a look at what it was before I reupholstered it: 

ottoman before

Deconstructed:

We all know the best way to understand how an object functions is to literally take it apart.  So that’s what I did – I ripped the bottom off of the ottoman and examined its insides to understand how to construct one in the first place.  I wasn’t surprised by what I found.  A basic ottoman is made with very basic construction. 

Take a look inside:

ottoman insides 

As you can see, it would not be complicated to build a basic ottoman.  All you would need is some plywood or particle board, cut to the shape you want, and screwed together to form a box or rectangle.  Add some basic supports for stabilization and for placement of your ottoman’s feet.  If you desire tufting, drill some holes in the top.

Here’s a look at the threaded anchor where the feet fit:

threaded hole

In addition to the basic box, purchase some bun or tapered feet from a home improvement store, and stain or paint them to the color you choose.  Fit a double ended threaded bolt inside the feet, then screw the feet into the anchor in the frame of your ottoman. 

machine thread bolt with feet

The final step would be to add a piece of foam to the top, and secure it with batting for a comfortable seat. 

Re-Tufted:

My task was to make a new slipcover for my existing ottoman, and tuft it with four new fabric covered buttons.  Making a slipcover for a small ottoman is a simple sew project. 

I didn’t find any fabric within my price range at the fabric store, so I used a pale silky blue window panel that I purchased from Target for $15.  In my opinion, 84 inches of fabric from a window panel for $15 dollars is a pretty good deal.  (“Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes…”   Bonus points if you can name that scene.)

I used pins to attach my sides to each other, inside out, and then sewed them together. 

pin slipcover

attach pieces of slipcover 

Now would be a very good time to say this:  I. Hate. Sewing. Corners.      I can’t stand them.  I can never get them right.  My three dimensional corners are never perfect.  So I am soliciting help from true sewers out there with real and genuine skills.  What is the secret to perfect corners ?  Help !

Even with my rudimentary sewing skills, I was able to form a fitted slipcover, and continue with my project.  I stapled my new slipcover to the ottoman, and then tufted the top with some new fabric covered buttons. 

staple slipcover

The supplies you need to tuft a bench or ottoman are make-to-match button kits, long decorator needles, twine or strong thread (I use embroidery thread), and a staple gun.  I had some needles and thread leftover from this tufted bench project

upholster supplies 

Follow the instructions on the button kits to make your own buttons:

fabric covered buttons 

Tufting a bench or ottoman is not complicated, as long as your holes are pre-drilled.  Here’s a picture of what the predrilled holes looked like inside my ottoman before I recovered it. 

predrilled holes

Notice how the buttons are secured with the use of thin twine and a staple gun.  I use the same technique by threading my decorator needle, pushing up the needle through the top, threading my fabric covered button, pushing the needle back down through the hole, pulling taught, and securing with a staple gun.  For a tutorial in greater detail on tufting, see this post on my tufted bench

Here’s an up close look at my tufting job.  Pay no attention to my less than perfect corner.  Grrrrrr. 

detail on ottoman

After all of that work, I have a new perch for my morning coffee. 

coffee spot in office

So, who wants to come over for coffee and make fun of my bad corners? 

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