March 8, 2010

DIY: Button Tufted Ottoman

I have fallen in love with tufting! The look and feel are so lux.
This used ottoman was a thrift store find that needed a little love.
Now, it's a perfect place for your feet!
Supplies & Tools
Safety goggles (If I didn't mention these, I'd get in trouble with my father-in-law)
One old, dilapidated ottoman
Flathead screwdriver or other flat pointed tool for removing staples
Needle nose pliers
Spray adhesive
Long upholstery needle and knitting needle
Upholstery fabric (I used 2 yards)
Liner fabric (I used 1 1/2 yards)
Finishing fabric and ribbon
(I used 1 yard fabric & 2 1/2 yards ribbon)
Thin sheet of plywood
Staples & staplegun
Upholstery string or twine
Screws or nails
Hammer and drill
Hot glue and glue gun
One eager little helper.

Step One:
Strip your ottoman down.  Remove the legs (they usually screw out) and all the fabric, removing as many staples as you have patience for.  This ottoman had 4 layers of fabric!  Seperate the top foam and batting piece from the bottom hardware.  If the foam and batting are in bad shape, replace it. 

Step Two
Measure your ottoman and cut the plywood to be about 1 inch shorter around the edges.  Measure and pre-drill holes for your buttons.  Buttons are usually attached in a grid or diamond pattern.  For this ottoman I spaced 9 buttons in a grid. I drew my grid and drilled the holes using the
largest drill bit in my Man's workshop.  Using spray ahesive, attach the board to the backside of your foam.

Step Three
Attach your liner.  A liner can be any simple cotton fabric or even an old sheet.  The purpose is to control the shape of your foam and batting.  Start stapling in the center of each side.  Stretch the fabric tightly to create an even shape.  Then work the corners of the ottoman in the same way folding the excess in.  Next, finish the edges stretching the fabric firmly.  If you have any gaps, like in photo #3, just pull tight and staple.
Don't be afraid to get staple-happy!  You can never use too many.

Once the liner is attached, assemble your ottoman upside down and centered on your upholstery fabric.  Use your eye to measure how much fabric you will need to cover each side.  Then remove the bottom harware piece so you can begin adding the buttons to your foam.
This is the fun part!

Step Four
Using upholstrey twine thread your button.  To do this, first, fold your twine in half creating a loop.  Thread the loop through the button and double it over so that the button is attached to the twine. 
Use the knitting needle to push through your pre-drilled hole into the foam and out the front side of your fabric.  Poke the needle in and out and few times to create a path for your upholstrey needle.
Starting from the foam side, or back side, push your upholstrey needle through the hole and out the top of the fabric.  Then slip the two loose ends of the twine into the eye of the needle and pull the needle out the bottom.  You may need to use your needle nose pliers.  Remove the needle and pull the twine and button tight.  Attach the twine with staples in a zig-zag pattern and then tie a knot.  This holds the button firm.  Make sure each button is pulled with the same tightness to ensure an even uniform look.

Step 5
Assemble your ottoman.  I attached the bottom and top piece with a few screws.  I drilled my holes and then inserted the screws to hold the pieces securely together.  I prefer screws over nails because the wood on this ottoman is brittle and could split. 

Step Six
There will be a natural pucker of fabric at each button.  Starting at the center, fold the pucker and pull it tightly toward the bottom of the ottoman.  It's important to pull tightly on the fabric.  Loose upholstrey will look awful.  Secure the fabric firmly with your staple gun.  Use a hammer to tighten any loose staples.
Next fold your corners.  Pull the excess fabric out (like picture #4) and then fold the seams in and staple
(picture #5).

Cut away excess fabric from the center and make sure all edges are tightly stapled.

Step Seven
Attach your finishing fabric.  Use any cotton fabric to finish the bottom of your awesome new tufted ottoman.  Pull the fabric tightly across and staple.  Again, nailing down any loose staples.  Next, hot glue a ribbon around the bottom fabric seam to hide the unfinished edges.  Then, screw the feet back into place. 

Ooooh La La! A beautiful velvet tufted ottoman!
Now kick your feet up and relax.

You can do it!

If you'd like to share a great before and after project on our blog, simply email your low-resolution before and after pictures here and we'll feature you.


  1. Good Job Jenni love the ottoman did you put some of those great looking bun feet on them. Know you could probably find something close at the thrift store....keep up the good work girls love coming to see what you have done over the weekend....hugs lynn

  2. That looks great. You are amazing. I could never attempt that! I'm too chicken. But, someday, I will! Thanks for the inspiration. Have a wonderful night!

  3. Never afraid of hard work!

    Good Job Jen!!!

  4. Such a great project! I love tufted ottomans. Thanks for sharing-you're very creative and skilled

  5. That's amazing. I've always wanted to try an ottoman. It's kind of intimidating though. Thanks for the pics. I love that it's tufted! Great job! Thanks for linking to Creative Cats this last week!

  6. The ottoman is beautiful! That looks so hard to do to me! I have tried recovering anything much less do buttons on it! I may have to give this a try on small tiny project first. Amazing at the makeover! Be blessed. Cindy

  7. wonderful job, and great tutorial! Building an ottoman has been on my to do list for quite awhile....You can be relaxing, eating bon bons with your feet up on yours, while I'm slaving away!....or while I'm still procrastinating ;)

  8. great job! very impressive! : )

  9. This is amazing. What a great job you did, and what a cute little helper you had.

    Thanks for joining Get Your Craft on Thurs. Please join me next week for another great party.


  10. I SOOOOO needed that! Tufting? Really? THere's a name for that fabulous peice of work? Thanks for the tutorial! Great collage of pics!
    Thanks for linkin!

  11. I looove your ottoman, it turned out fabulous and your little helper is adorable too! Debbie @ Cottage Hann~Me~Downs

  12. Great job an excellent tute! Thanks so much for linking up!

  13. LOVE this... love it! I have an ottoman that is needing some redo love and the tufts and the buttons that you used are calling to me... :)
    thanks for linking!

  14. This turned out SO great. I love it! That always is so intimidating to me but you made it look doable. Thanks for linking up to Spring has Sprung at Fun to Craft.


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