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DIY Tufted Fabric Ottoman ((…from an old table))

If you came here looking for the ‘No-Sew Love’ (+ other goodies!) GIVEAWAY….you came to the right place. However, you need to click over to the actual ‘No-Sew Love’ book giveaway‘ post.  Today’s the LAST DAY TO ENTER… hurry on over and check out the treasures you can win!  (And anyone, from any country, can enter!)

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Yesterday, I hinted at a little something that I have been working on.  It’s something that I was going to share yesterday but didn’t quite finish the tutorial before leaving with my family for the day for a water/amusement park.  But some of you guessed it.  And most of you have already seen a few pictures of it, when I shared my “Home State” Scrap-Wood Art a couple months ago.  Remember that?


I didn’t say much about it at that time…..but some of you asked about it.  And wondered if I could share a tutorial for the ottoman.  Well, ummm, yes!!!  It was in the works — and today’s the day to share! :)


But, a little secret first.  The main structure for the ottoman is a kitchen table that we bought in the As-Is section at Ikea several years ago.  I thought I’d end up using it as a photography table but I never did.  And it was just collecting dust down in the basement, so, I gave it a new life.




My original plan was to keep the original table legs attached but just cut them down and use them as the ottoman legs.  However, they were too skinny and didn’t look right when I finished the ottoman.  I really wanted something a little chunkier.  SO, I chopped them off and painted/attached some other legs I found.




And that tufted top?  Perfection.

I am in love with the pleats, the sunken buttons, the crisp fabric.  ALL of it!




There are several inches of padding on top and sides.  So it’s a comfy little ottoman for tired feet.  Or bums. :)




And the best part is that you can pick whatever fabric type/print/color to best compliment your space.  No more feeling cranky that you can’t find the exact ottoman that you want in stores.




And if you don’t have an old kitchen table to cut down and re-cover (or can’t find one at a yard sale, thrift store, etc)…….use an existing coffee table.  You know, the one that’s sitting in your living room right now that you really hate.  Cover her up with some beautiful tufting! Guaranteed, it’s probably easier than you’re thinking!




Ahhhhh…….just what this room needed! :)




Want to make one too?




  • Upholstery Fabric (Amount will vary, depending on the table top that you’re covering. Just be sure that it’s a large enough to piece to cover the table top, the sides, and wrapped to the underneath side…..with a few inches extra around all edges to account for the tufting that will pull the fabric from the top surface.)
  • Loft Quilt Batting, 1 inch thick (Amount will vary, depending on the table top that you’re covering.)
  • Foam, 1 1/2 – 2 inch thick (Amount will vary, depending on the table top that you’re covering.)
  • Wood – 2×4’s (Amount will vary, depending on the table top that you’re covering.)
  • 1 1/4 inch Cover Button Kit (Amount will vary, depending on the table top that you’re covering.)
  • Drill and Drill Bits
  • Deck Screws and Bit
  • Hot Glue
  • Staple Gun
  • Nylon Quilting Thread
  • Quilting Needle, extra long




Begin by dividing your surface into sections and drawing lines along the width of the table top.  (An odd number of lines looks best and most likely you’ll need 3 lines.  If your surface is extra large, you may want 5.)  Along each line that you draw, is where you’ll drill your holes.  This will require a little math and visualizing, to determine where you want each hole and how many.  (Try drawing your table shape and lines/marks on paper before beginning.)  Each of my lines below are about 8 inches apart.



After you draw your lines, you’ll make little marks along the lines, where you’ll drill your holes.  The marks should be evenly spaced and similar in distance to the distance between the lines in the last step.  However, the measurements can be slightly off so that the distance between each mark will compute evenly.  (For example, my lines in the last step were 8 inches apart.  Each of my marks below were about 8 1/2 inches apart.)   Also, the marks along the very top line that are on each end, should be about the same distance from the edge of the table as the distance between each mark (but can vary slightly, if needed).


Now, make your marks along the top line first.  Then skip a line and make your marks along the 3rd line, exactly the same as the 1st line.  Now, jump back up to the 2nd line and place each mark exactly halfway between the two marks above and below it.  Each mark along the 2nd line will be distanced the same as line 1 and 3…..but they’re just centered between the marks above and below, creating the points of a diamond.  (If you have more than 3 lines, keep alternating the marks along each line, just like you did with the first 3 lines.)



Now, drill a hole into each mark along your table top.  Make the hole plenty big enough for you to stick your needle through (and big enough so that it’s easy enough to fish around and find the hole with your needle tip).



Now, this step won’t be necessary for all table tops.  It just depends on your table construction.  If your table edge has a nice wide edge that meets up with the table top, you won’t need to do this.  But you need a flat surface along the sides of the table edge so that you can wrap your fabric around and underneath.  If yours is like mine, cut some 2×4’s that are the exact length and width of the table (overlapping at the corners) and screw them to the table from the top.  Using a clamp to keep the 2×4’s in place while you’re screwing is helpful.



Use deck screws so that you don’t have to drill pilot holes for each screw.



See how the top of the screw is sharp?  This helps cut an opening into the wood and allows the screw to be pushed through.



However you need a special drill bit for deck screws.  But the bit generally comes with your screws in a package.



Now, cut your foam down to size and hot glue it to your table top.



Dont’ worry if you don’t have a piece of foam wide enough to cover the surface.  Cut pieces down to size and wedge them into place. Just be sure that they are firmly pieced together into a nice and snug fit.



Now, drape your batting on top of the entire surface, making sure it’s large enough to be tucked around and under all sides.  (If you have enough extra batting, you can fold it in half and use a double layer of batting.)



Now, start pulling your batting nice and snug, stapling it into place on the inside edge of the bottom of the table.  You don’t want any puckering from staples to be seen from the top or sides of the table top.  For the corners, just pull as evenly as you can and staple in place.  You don’t want to fold it or have any noticeable bunching.



Cut off the excess batting.



Now, cover each of your Cover Buttons with your fabric.  Follow the instructions on your package….or there are a few more pictures here.



Now, fold a piece of quilting thread in half and thread the folded end through the eye of your extra long Quilting Needle.



Pull it through and leave the thread doubled over, so that you now have 4 strands of thread.



Now, drape your upholstery fabric across the top of the table top, making sure there’s an even hang of fabric around all the edges.  (And also making sure that the fabric is large enough to wrap around the edges of the table and around to the back.)


From the bottom of the table, find a hole along the center line, as close to the center of the table as you can…….and push it up through the bottom.  Slide one of the Cover Buttons onto the needle…



…and then pull the needle up and then back down into the same hole of the table.



Pull the needle down from the back side of the table and even up the ends of the thread.  Then pull all the ends of the thread from the back side of the table, creating a pucker from the front side of the fabric.  It’s okay, the wrinkles are good!  (Just be sure that you pull each Cover Button evenly, so that all of them are sunken the same amount.)



From the back side, keep the thread pulled taut and then staple the thread in place, close to the hole that the thread came out of.  Then zig-zag the thread to a different direction, add a staple, pull it to another direction, add another staple, etc.  This will keep the thread from slipping out of the staples and will keep the button taut.  Snip off the ends of the thread, releasing the needle.



You started at the center of the table…..and will now work your way outwards.  Choose a hole to the left or right of that very first button you attached and attach another one.  Along that very center line of marks (the 2nd row of marks), you will pull left and right, keeping the fabric flat and taut… wrinkles in the fabric.  Once you have the 2 buttons attached that are next to each other, go straight up and find the hole that sits above and between the 2 buttons from the middle row.  Keep the fabric taut and pull upwards with your hand, right where the upward arrow is in the image below.  Attach your 3rd button.  Now, notice below that there is a wrinkle in the fabric, diagonally and upwards to that top button.  This is good…..and you want those wrinkles.



From there, you want to pull straight down from that top button and attach a button down in that 3rd row……creating a diamond shape.  The inside of the diamond has no wrinkles, but all the ends of the diamond does.  Again, that’s what you want!



From there, work your way outward from that middle 2nd row.  Pull to the left (or right) and add your next button, keeping the fabric pulled taut.



Continue working your way outwards, until all of your buttons have been attached.  (If you don’t have any wrinkles in your fabric, you either didn’t sink your buttons deep enough or you are pulling your fabric too tight.)



Now, pinch the wrinkles of fabric with your fingers, creating a distinct crease for your tufts.  Continually check that you aren’t pulling your fabric too far to one side, so that all of your creases are even.



Now, it’s time to wrap your fabric around to the back.  Pull the fabric upwards, between two buttons and staple the fabric in place on the back of the table.



Now, because of the tufting, there will be excess fabric.  Create little creases above each of the buttons, straight up and over to the back side of the table.



Staple the crease in place as best you can, along the back side of the table.


Continue all the way around the table (skipping the corners), stapling all 4 sides in place.

Now, you’ll have 4 unfinished corners.  Keep the fabric pulled as best as you can from the front, with the loose fabric right at the corner.



To create a crisp corner, pull the fabric down from the top and staple it in place.  (This is a view from the side of the table.)



Then, fold the fabric to get a nice fold of fabric that will lay exactly along the corner of the table.  (The last step and this step will take some manipulating, so before adding any staples, play around with it until you get the fabric to lay nice and flat.)



Then pull the fabric to the under side of the table and staple in place, keeping the fold of the fabric right along the corner of the table’s side.



Then pull your loose ends fabric to the bottom side of the table and staple in place.



Then continue around and finish off the other 3 corners the same way.  Trim off the excess fabric.



Now, add extra staples around the inside edge of the back side of the table, making sure the fabric is nice and taut and secure.



And lastly, use the steam setting on your iron and press each of the creases in place.



Now, stand your table up and decide how long you want your legs and cut off the excess.  (And paint them if you don’t care for the color.


However, if you decide you don’t like the existing legs, cut them off and screw in new legs like I did.  I just found some un-treated outdoor banister posts (for outdoor wood deck banisters) that were cheaper than other types of legs available at Home Depot.  I just painted them with black acrylic paint and then sanded them down a bit (to reveal some of the wood beneath) and then wiped them clean.  Then I sealed them with a spray gloss finish.


And that’s it.  My Tufted Ottoman is now sitting pretty in our front room.  And is the perfect addition. :)







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Featured Sponsor:


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
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  1. barb says:

    this is a FAAABULOUS tutorial and idea! I have 3 table tops that will be perfect for this!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU for sharing!!

  2. Pieta says:


    LOVE this tutorial!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I’m going to have a go!! I have an unused coffee table, which will be perfect to become an ottoman. I was just wondering which type/make your staplegun is. We live in the UK, so US websites won’t do :-(
    Also could you recommend a type of fabric I should use? I’ve ordered some samples, but want to make sure I get a sturdy yet workable kind.
    The tufting will be the hardest challenge I reckon, would you be able to give me some measuring tips for my size of table (1.45 cm)?
    Thanks, and keep it up!!

  3. Mandi says:

    I LOVE this idea! I also love your end tables…did you make those as well?

  4. Brenda says:

    great tutorial, thanks so much. My husband and I are making two identical coffee table ottomans for our daughter & son in-law, and your tutorial is very helpful. I noticed the stenciled state pieces behind your sofa and love them! Did you make them or order them from somewhere? If you made them yourself, where did you get the state stencils? Tell me more!!!!
    Thank so much!

    1. Ashley says:

      Oh good, I’m glad this tutorial is helpful! :)

      As for the states, the tutorial for them is here:

      Hope that helps!

  5. Shauna says:

    Amazing tutorial! Perfectly thorough and descriptive, with just the right amount of photos and nothing left out. Love how yours turned out and now I can’t wait to finally see how mine will turn out! Thanks so much for this! :)

  6. Stephanie says:

    Your home is so beautiful. I bookmark so many idea from your website. Maybe once my mortgage is paid off I’ll have found time to try some of them. here is another to add to the list.

  7. Linda says:

    I love it! And the tutorial is the BEST I have ever seen!

  8. Connie O'Hara says:

    I love this! I have a cedar chest the has a tufted top and really needs an update, and a coffee table that would make the table new, fresh and comfy. Thanks for sharing!!!

  9. Preethi says:

    Wow! This is really good. You are so talented. I’ve no experience with drilling or cutting or painting – your posts are inspiring me to to take that step.

  10. Heather says:

    It’s so cute and, you’re right, it looks do-able!

  11. Janet says:

    It’s lovely, but I don’t think I’m talented enough for something this big :(

  12. Malori Saline says:

    I love this!! I have a coffee table, but haven’t wanted to put it in my living room because it has a wooden top meaning wooden corners and edges which make me nervous for my toddler who is always falling down! Perfect solution!! Thanks

  13. Robert Johnston says:

    Great project! Good teamwork! Maybe Chloe could customize it with Connors markers!

  14. Winter says:

    Fabulous! I’ve turned a table into an ottoman but your button tufting is just luscious!!

  15. Becky says:

    Every time I read one of your tutorials, I think you’re a genius. But, this one is by far the most amazing. I don’t need an ottoman, but I want to make one because the directions are perfect. Thank you for sharing your talents. I envy the genius of your creativity. (I also envy that Robin is your sister, because she’s also a rock star. I miss her!)

  16. Janet McGraw says:

    Your ottoman is beautiful. Your tutorial is so easy to understand with pictures showing everything. I’ve been thinking about an ottoman and this is a perfect idea! Thanks!

  17. Sherry Fram says:

    So pretty!!! Gives me ideas!!

  18. Jessica says:

    I love this, thanks so much!

  19. Jennifer says:


  20. Michelle says:

    Ooops, sorry I spelled your name wrong…. :(

  21. Michelle says:

    I love it, Ashely!
    Since you didn’t end up using the legs, do you think you could have just started with plywood cut to the desired size and do the same thing? (I know you intended to use the legs, but if a person were starting from scratch….)

    1. Steve (Mr. Make it and Love it) says:


      I usually am the grunt work for my dear Ashley and often help out with the construction side of some of her awesome ideas. This is a great idea in the event you don’t have a table to re-purpose. I would say that you could just use plywood as the base, however you would need to get either 3/4 inch to 1 inch in thickness for sturdiness but I would also recommend some supports along the bottom such as a 2X4 or 1×4 so as to prevent bowing in the middle. They can be added just Ashley showed above. 2x4s would be easier to add because there is more surface area to drill on and add screws to. Also by adding them it would help to hide where the fabric is stapled in and give it a cleaner look. Hope this helps.

      Steve (Mr. MIALI)

    2. Janine says:

      Are there any photos of how you attached the new legs? I’m looking at the picture of the bottom of the table and trying to figure out where they fit among all the brackets and such.

  22. Lorena says:

    the project is stunning, it is so elegant and yet so comfortable. I LOVE your style. The instructions really are do-able, now I’ll be keeping my eyes out for just the right table to alter. I love what you did with the legs, they are sturdy, chunky and so chic. great job.

  23. Susan says:

    So pretty!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!!!

  24. Melissa says:

    Your projects are so inspiring! Love them! Thank you so much for all you share with us! :)

  25. Ashley M. says:

    That is absolutely beautiful. Your steps make it sound like I could actually accomplish this (although I’m doubtful) so I may have to try a smaller version!

  26. Jenny says:

    I love this! You are so talented Ashley!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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