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Thursday, November 3, 2011

A DIY upholstered ottoman

Our new ottoman. Ignore the mess in the background--we are still unpacking!

As I’ve stated before, I’ve been making a lot of furniture and décor for our new house. One of the things I really wanted was a storage ottoman for the living room. I wanted a replacement for our coffee table after I turned it into a bench (more on that later). But when I searched for an ottoman, I couldn’t find one I like for a price that I thought was reasonable. So, I decided to make it myself.

Here are the steps I took when making our new ottoman. This is not a tutorial per

se, but just a list of the steps I took to make our ottoman.

Step 1: Look online for inspiration pieces.

I scoured the internet for inspiration ottomans. I looked at all of my regular sites: West Elm, Z Gallerie, Crate & Barrel, Jonathan Adler, and Pottery Barn. I then searched through all of the ottomans at Finding the perfect inspiration was hard, but I finally found one that I loved.

This is the inspiration piece--from

Step 2: Put the inspiration picture on

I had to put the picture of the inspiration on my Future DIY board. This kept me accountable—I couldn’t procrastinate too long knowing it was posted for all to see. Granted, it sat on my DIY board for over 5 weeks... It might still be sitting on that board if it hadn't been for the Pinterest challenge hosted by Young House Love, Bower Power, Ana White, and House of Earnest. Even though I'm not sure it really qualifies for the challenge (does it count if I pinned it myself?), this challenge still lit a fire under my rear, so to speak. It got me building and blogging.

Step 3: Decide on the size

I used the measurements of the inspiration piece as a starting point. But since I had specific items that I wanted stored (e.g., my husband’s RockBand accessories), I put the items in a pile and measured them. Using the sizes of the items to be stored, I found my minimum measurements. I then added 2 inches to both the length and width so I could be certain that there would be ample storage.

Step 4: Build a box

Building an ottoman really isn’t too hard. Basically, you build an open box using your measurements. I used 3/4" plywood to create my box and lid. It’s pretty logical and self-explanatory. I cut the plywood to measure and used kreg screws and lots of glue to hold all of it together.

Step 5: Build a lid

If you don’t care about the height of the lid, I suggest just using a flat lid that rests on top of the box portion. This is the easiest way. And, since I like to complicate things, this is not the way I chose to do our ottoman. I chose to have a tall lid that is 4 inches high. This means I had to cut 4 extra pieces of plywood. But I love the way it looks, and think the added effort was worth it. If you plan on tufting the lid, drill your holes now.

Step 6: Add the legs before you upholster

I just used scrap 2x2 pieces as legs. Since I was planning on lining the inside of the ottoman, I just screwed the legs to the box from the inside. Easy, peasy.

Step 7: Upholster

Upholstering the ottoman required quite a bit of sewing. I used a separate piece of fabric for each surface, and stitched them together using my sewing machine. For the lid, I used some single welt cording that I made by cutting the fabric on the bias and sewing it around some cord. (Because I’m cheap, I re-used the free cording that Lowe’s gives you to tie your trunk shut.)

The body of the ottoman after upholstering, before lining.

Step 8: Tuft

I used a button maker to make covered 7/8” cover buttons. Using these buttons and heavy duty upholstery thread, I tufted 8 spots on the top of the ottoman lid. This step isn’t necessary, but it definitely makes the piece look a bit more professional and a bit less DIY.

A view from the top -- it shows some of the tufting.

I love the end result. It wasn’t very expensive, and it houses my husband’s belongings perfectly!

Here’s the breakdown of the costs:
3/4” plywood (I used purebond, so it was a bit pricey) $41.00
2x2 legs – they were made from scrap $ 0.00
Spray paint for legs – leftover from another project $ 0.00
Fabric – 2 yards on sale at Hancocks $18.00
Buttons $3.00
Approximate total $62.00


kat said...

Wow, nice job! I clicked over from YHL because I'm looking to do a similar project (though less complicated since I already have a trunk and don't plan to cover the sides).
How did you line it? I don't think you covered that part. My trunk is old and has been used by many people, so I'm inclined to line it to keep my linens clean.

craftycookie said...

I haven't finished the lining, but I sewed an insert and stapled it in. Then to cover the staples, I used gimp and ribbon hot glued around the edge. I'm just using it for video game stuff, so I didn't care how neat the inside was. Doing linens, you may want to sew the shape of a box and attach it with staples and glue.

Anonymous said...

I love this ottoman and would love to do this in leather or fake leather most probably. I see you have Lupus. I used to have a blog about autoimmune conditions and how to control it with diet. You need to start with Paleo Diet and then their autoimmune protocol and then test beyond that for any more food sensitivities beyond that. I can go into more detail of what to ferret out. But most people with autoimmune conditions don't want to hear about changing diet so dramatically. I see you follow lots of cupcake blogs. That gluten is one of the big culprits.

Mary said...

Hello, How do I get in touch with you? There is no email or contact info listed .. please advise .. thanks .. Mary. Please contact me maryregency at gmail dot com

Shelley said...

I love the fabric you used. Any idea what it was called?