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Wondering how to make a DIY Ottoman with Tufted Buttons? Learn how to make a DIY ottoman for your living room with this tutorial!
This summer, I found some tutorials for making DIY ottomans on Pinterest. Some said to use palettes, fabric and legs, and others used an old end table and wrapped it in fabric.
In the fall, I came across an end table at a garage sale and with the help of my carpenter dad, we attempted to make an ottoman out of the end table.
It worked. But it was extremely heavy because the table was big and bulky, we didn’t use enough foam so it isn’t very comfortable to sit on, and the corners looked disheveled and messy.
We figured there was a better way to make a second ottoman [I wanted one for my office and one for the living room], so we tried a different way.
How to make a DIY ottoman with tufted buttons:
Step 1: Make ottoman bottom and legs. Drill button holes.
First, we decided on the size we’d like the finished ottoman to be.
Then, we cut a simple board for the bottom of the ottoman and my dad made 4 legs of the desired length.
My dad, the amazing detail-oriented carpenter rounded the edges of the bottom board and created beautiful tapered legs for the ottoman. But your board can be rectangular, and your legs can be simple and plain. You can make legs or buy legs, it doesn’t matter.
We also decided if we wanted to add buttons or not, and if so, how many button holes we would need. We drilled 9 holes here [see photos further down], but I ended up only putting 6 buttons on.
Step 2: Cut foam to size.
Next, we cut foam to the desired size.
This foam came from the inside of my parent’s couch when they had it re-stuffed. I was lucky that I didn’t have to buy foam, but you can get this at craft stores or Amazon.
The thicker the better – you want the finished product to be squishy and comfy. If you have to layer your foam to make it thick enough, that’s fine.
Step 3: Paint bottom and legs.
Next, I primed and painted the bottom board, and then all four legs.
Step 4: Glue foam to bottom board.
We used hot glue to secure the foam to the bottom board.
Step 5: Wrap foam in batting.
I took batting and wrapped it around the foam, stapling it to the bottom of the board. This helped to create a nice rounded shape for the ottoman.
Step 6: Cover ottoman cushion with fabric.
Option one: the no-sew method —
When we made the first ottoman, we cut a large square piece of fabric, wrapped it around the cushion, and stapled the four sides of the fabric to the bottom board of the ottoman. Then, we tried to make the corners look as nice as possible and stapled the fabric to the bottom of the ottoman. But they looked lumpy and somewhat disheveled no matter what we tried. If you don’t sew, that method is just fine. It is just a little more DIY looking.
However, if you can sew a straight line, this next method really worked well and the finished result looks way more professional and less DIY.
Option two: the sew method —
We measured and then cut two pieces of fabric: one for the top [that matched the rectangular top surface of the ottoman] and then one very long, skinny rectangle that covered all four sides of the ottoman. We cut rounded edges onto the top rectangular piece which helped to create a smooth, rounded finished look on the finished ottoman.
Make sure you measure accurately because this has to fit over the ottoman and should be snug without being too tight. You don’t want it to be too loose either. You also want enough fabric to staple under the ottoman board at the end.
In the photo below, the piece of fabric hanging on the right side of the ottoman is the rectangular piece that matches the size of the ottoman cushion, and it has four rounded edges.
The piece on the left is long enough to wrap around all four sides of the ottoman cushion, and it’s tall enough to include a seam allowance and extra material to staple to the bottom of the finished ottoman.
Step 6a: I carefully sewed the long, skinny edge piece around to all four sides of the top piece.
The corners are tough, you have to go slow.
Step 6b: Then, sew the two ends of the long skinny piece together too, creating a finished cover – inside out.
Once you’re finished sewing, turn it inside out and you have your fabric ottoman cover!
Step 6c: Next, we slipped it onto the ottoman, over the foam cushion. It fit perfectly.
Step 6d: Then, we turned the whole thing over and stapled the fabric to the bottom of the ottoman, to pull everything tight.
The corners still require a little strategic stapling but it’s much neater and cleaner looking than the large fabric rectangle method is.
It’s really personal preference though – both ways will give you a finished ottoman!
You decide what works best for you.
Step 7: Add tufted buttons.
I bought a button kit, and used some of the fabric scraps to make matching buttons.
You could make contrasting buttons with different fabric if you want to, but I wanted the clean, polished look of matching buttons. [See finished ottoman photos to see finished buttons.]
There are probably many methods for installing buttons.
I don’t know what is the easiest; google could probably tell you. We didn’t google it – we just experimented.
Step 7a: We used a really long metal needle [longer than the board plus the foam height] to poke up through the holes from the bottom, up through the top of the foam and fabric.
Step 7b: Then, we lopped on the finished button, and then came back through the fabric, and back out the hole on the bottom of the ottoman.
Step 7c: We took a regular button and used that to tie a tight knot.
This allowed us to control how deep the finished button sunk into the top of the ottoman, and made it easier to tie.
[Please note – there may be a super simple way of doing these buttons that we didn’t know about. This is what we did and it worked out ok. But it might be worth checking to see if there are any easier methods before you begin your project.]
Step 8: Enjoy your finished ottoman!
After the buttons are installed, viola! The ottoman is DONE!
The cost to make this ottoman was very cheap for me, because my dad used wood he had around the house, and the foam came from their couch.
The only expenses for me were the fabric, paint, batting, and a button kit.
Even if you have to buy all of the pieces though, it can easily be done much cheaper than buying one.
It is amazingly comfortable and looks store-bought. It’s fun to tell people that it is in fact a DIY masterpiece!
you rock Laura! Your dad’s talent with carpenter detail is great too. guess i know who to call for help!! 🙂
I love this! I’ve pinned a few different ottoman tutorials, but yours seems super simple. Your colors rock, too!
Thanks, Jvonne! I know – it would have looked WAY different if I made it completely myself. I take all the help I can get! 🙂
Thanks Jess! Are you going to make one? If you do, let me know! I’d love to see the outcome! I should maybe show the first one we made, which was the no sew one. Thanks – I am quite fond of the natural/beachy feel and colors! 🙂
Harshini Jaiteley says
As part of redecorating; new furniture can be an immense strain and with so much longing to beautify their
homes to a celebrity standard there comes no surprise as to why purchases are now made with the future in mind.
wooden handicraft says
Awesome Laura you did great. in you article your dad experience and information is great .
Laura Radniecki says
Thank you! We had fun making it together!