Ottomans are one of the most versatile furniture pieces in a home! Not only do they come in every size, shape and texture imaginable, but their compact shape and moveability allow them to be used as coffee tables, side tables, foot stools, accent pieces, extra seating and more!
While almost anything can be turned into an ottoman (crates, boxes, shelves, coffee tables!), today I want to show you how easy it can be to make an ottoman from scratch! Even if you’re not a power tool pro, this is a DIY project you can tackle, thanks to mostly off-the-shelf supplies. While my example here is to make a mid-century-modern-inspired ottoman for a toddler bedroom, the same process can be replicated in any shape and size to meet the needs of your home!
Here are the materials you need to gather from the fabric and hardware stores.
1. Foam in the thickness of your choice – for this project, I used two layers of 3″ foam. To cut my foam into a circle, I traced the wooden round [#3 below] and cut it with a serrated knife.
2. Furniture legs in the style of your choice – I found these chic tapered legs for just a few dollars at Lowe’s.
3. 3/4-1″ wood cut into the size and shape of your desired ottoman – I found this 18″ wood circle pre-cut for just a few dollars at The Home Depot.
4. Angled leg plates – Angled or flat leg plates will work, I chose angled so that my tapered legs would splay out.
· Wood stain or paint in a color of your choice – for the legs, I used PolyShades in Bombay Mahogany
· 1-2 yards of quilt batting, depending on the size of your ottoman
· 1-2 yards of upholstery-quality fabric – I used just under a yard of white microsuede for this small ottoman
· Coordinating piping (or cording to make your own)
· Staple gun and staples
From the fabric, cut out the following shapes:
1. Top – Trace the wood circle (or whatever shape you are using) onto the wrong side of the fabric, adding a half inch all the way around (for seam allowances) and cut.
2. Side – To create a strip the right size, first calculate the height of the foam plus the wood layer plus an extra 2 inches or so for seam allowances and folding under (in my case 3+3+1+2 = 9″). This is the width of your strip. Next, determine the length of your strip by measuring the circumference around your wooden base (in this case, the wooden circle) and add several extra inches for wiggle room. My side strip measured 9×56″.
3. Piping – buy or make enough piping to circle the entire circumference of the ottoman twice (once along the top and once along the bottom).
With your materials assembled and cut, it’s time to get started by painting or staining the wooden legs in the color of your choice. If you use legs with a metal section like mine, it helps to tape the feet off with painters tape before painting. Let the legs dry the recommended time and apply a second coat if necessary.
While the legs dry, sew the fabric portion of the ottoman together. Pin a length of piping along the perimeter of the RIGHT side of the ottoman top. Sew in place with a half inch seam allowance. Next, pin the side strip, RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, right along where you applied the piping around the ottoman top.
Note that you don’t yet sew the ends of the side strips together. To ensure that you have the right amount of fabric to fully make it around the ottoman top, pin the strip in place along the perimeter while keeping the ends of the strip open. Before sewing and with the side strip pinned in place, determine where exactly the seam needs to go to close up the sides. Mark the correct seam placement with a disappearing pen.
Next, remove a few pins from the perimeter of the ottoman top to give you some slack to sew the seam of the side panel shut. Pin the two ends of the side panel RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER and sew a half inch seam.
With the side panel perfectly sized, reattach it all the way around the perimeter (pressing the seam open flat) with pins and sew in place. That’s all the sewing you have to do! Flip your ottoman cover right side out and set it aside.
Next, place your foam layers on top of each other (if you have multiple layers) and secure them with spray adhesive, if necessary. To give your foam a nice clean edge, wrap the edges of the ottoman in a single band of quilt batting. Then, take a larger section of quilt batting and cover the entire top and sides of the ottoman one more time (not pictured). With the batting in place, carefully slide the foam/batting combo into the fabric cover, ensuring the batting remains flat on all surfaces.
Place the wooden round on top of the foam. Pull the excess fabric over the edges to the wooden surface and staple the fabric tightly in place with a staple gun. Next, run another length of piping around the bottom edge of the ottoman, stapling it in place around the perimeter of the entire ottoman.
Connecting piping can be a little tricky! Here’s the best way to connect sections of piping without
obvious bumps or seams! Start with a few inches of overlap. Pick open the seam of the piping
on the top with a seam ripper to reveal the cording inside. Trim down the cording (NOT the
fabric!) at a length to where it will meets the piping coming from the other direction. Fold under
the fabric of the trimmed piping side and place it under the opposite piping so that the two ends
of cording meet. Fold the fabric over the exposed cording and staple in place!
The next step is completely optional. To give the bottom of the ottoman a finished look, I cut
another circle (the wooden round plus a an extra inch) from some black and white chevron
fabric. I folded the edge under as I worked around, stapling the fabric in place along the
perimeter of the bottom of the ottoman.
The last step is to identify the locations for the legs. Attach the leg plates to the wooden round using the provided screws. Then, just attach the legs by screwing them into the leg plates.
Flip the ottoman over, and you’re all done!
I love that this project can be customized to fit any size or shape you need! It uses basic
supplies that are inexpensive and easy to find…and best of all, this project requires very little
sewing expertise for a totally custom look!
I had the foam on hand, but the rest of the supplies cost me about $40. All in all, this was a fun
and quick project with super satisfying results. Both the little guy and myself are loving this latest
addition to his reading corner!
For more DIY project ideas, visit the ForRent.com Apartment Living blog today!