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Tufted Ottoman Tutorial

Coffee Table Talk

A ~Repurpose~story

Maison Designs

This was originally a square coffee table that was 43" x 43". I made it into this covered tufted ottoman and I'm going to show you how to do it!

A tufted ottoman can be a real signature piece in your design for use in a living room or a bedroom! Here is what the coffee table looked like before....

Maison Designs

(I didn't have a great full view of this but you get the idea! It had been previously painted a vintage white.)

First, if you have plans to paint the legs like I did, you will want to paint before you start the ottoman process. I painted this a medium soft gray. It had been white before so when I distressed the legs, the white came through giving it a cottage feel.


Next, after you are done painting and waxing, you will decide on the pattern of your buttons and where it will be tufted. I liked the diagonal "X" design. I carefully measured the diagonal and the distance apart to ensure that the buttons were exact distance apart in the pattern and marked them with a pencil on my table.

The next step is to drill holes through the top of the coffee table with a drill bit so that you can pull the thread down through the pad and the holes in the table to secure the fabric covered buttons.

It looks like this:


(Later, I thought I could have done more buttons for a different look but I was happy with it!)


(This is what it looks like underneath.)

After your holes are drilled, it is time to put the padding on. I used 4 (12 x 12) high density 3" padding. I purchased the padding at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. It cost about $35 with the padding and a roll of batting (make sure the total of the batting is wide enough for 43". I failed to check on that part and had to go back? ;)

Once I placed the padding on the table, I knew there would be a little over hang of padding and I assumed I would have to trim it down. However, once I tested them on the table it looked good so I chose not to trim. The extra padding gave the edges a little more fullness.

I used a spray adhesive on the table to secure the padding one square at a time. (Note: It may help to mark the squares to ensure they are put in the right place before you spray them down.)

Here is what it looked like on the table top....


I just marked one of the squares before spraying the adhesive on the padding to ensure that it was square and the cushion was lined up before application.


After your padding is secure, you can place the batting on top and staple it to the underneath side of the table top to secure it in a few spots on each side. No need to get crazy here because it will be stapled with the fabric at the end.

Next, you will place your fabric over the table and line it up so that it fits evenly on each side.


I secured the fabric in a few places in the center of each side to hold the fabric so that I could flip the table over on it's side to finish stapling. I turned it on it's side to get a better grip and angle to staple. This step is personal preference, so if you feel like you want to leave it with all four legs on the floor, then go for it!

After I turned it over, I pulled from the center and worked my way around the sides alternating sides to get the tightest fit. The fabric I chose to recover this was thick and heavy, so I found that folding it under and then tugging the fabric worked pretty well to get a secure tight fit. It is important to pull really tight and it might be helpful to have someone help you with this part. It is a little tricky to hold the fabric tight enough and staple at the same time, but never fear; it can be done!


Notice that the middle part of this is not secured yet and that the edges are not stapled. I stapled all the fabric down before finishing the edges.


This part is a little harder to show you with pictures! Once you get your fabric stapled all around the edges, you will trim some of the excess fabric from the edges and then tuck in the fabic to one side. (It's like when you fold the edge of the sheets on a bed to tuck them inside).

One side is pulled over and then it's all tucked in, like this:


Make sure at this point that whichever side you decide to tuck in that you do it the same on each four corners. I tucked in to the left as tight as possible. You can use fabric glue later to close the gap on this after you tuck it in and staple it underneath.

You are now ready to do the tufting! You will need long upholstery needles that you can pick up at Walmart for about $3. You will also need a button kit as well as upholstery buttons for this next step; that you can also get at Walmart. The buttons are about $2.50 for 3 larger buttons and the button kit is around $3.

Here is what the button kit and buttons look like:


Making the fabric covered buttons are fun! You will first cut your fabric to about twice the size of the button. Place the fabric wrong side up on the counter and place your button upside down on top of it. You will then place the fabric and button centered down into the white plastic mold piece using the blue plastic pusher piece to push down the button into the white plastic mold. (Note: the kit comes with directions so if my explanation of the mold thingy and the blue plastic thingy don't make sense; then refer to the kit instructions, which has proper names, I'm sure!!! :))


Once the fabric button is firmly pressed into the mold, take out the blue button, fold and tuck the fabric down over the button and then place the blue cap down over the button back to attach it the the front side of the button. Viola! You have a covered button!


Okay, here is where you will attach the buttons and pull it through your ottoman to get that awesome tufted look we love!

This is a little tedious because of having to find the hole through to the underside of the ottoman. But trust me, it isn't too bad! Plus, you will feel so accomplished after this step, that it is worth it!!

(Note: Laugh Out Loud here, because you will need to keep your sense of humor!)


I used small washers to secure the thread to the underside of the table. The thread I used was actually kite string! I know, crazy right? I tried various types of string and thread but the kite string seemed to work best for the high density foam and gave me the most tuft without the string breaking.

Once you have the needle through the front side; you will then place your needle through the loop on your button and thread back through the fabric until it is tight. It is best to get as close to the string position hole that you came through from the otherside in order to find the hole on the otherside! I did say it was tedious!

When you have the button threaded and your thread back through the drilled hole, tie your string or thread tightly to the washer on the underside to secure it. (This is just like sewing a button on a shirt.) To get the best tufting, I pushed down on the padding and pulled the needle as hard as I could from the underside. This process is a little hard on your fingers!

Once you have all of your buttons tufted in looks like this:

Ta DA!!!!!

Maison Designs

So what do you think? Do you like it? I made this for my friend Brittney, for her lovely clothing boutique, The Pink Tomato!

Tufted ottoman tutorial.jpg

Coming up next.....learn how to reupholster a chair!

Until then......go make something wonderful!



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