This is a relatively simple little project that I’m quite proud of. I had seen lots of DIY ottoman options on Pinterest, but ultimately decided to go with this tutorial. It was easy to follow and I didn’t get frustrated or swear at all while making it… not once! That’s the true sign of good instruction. Since I closely followed the tutorial, I don’t have a completely in-depth photo essay of every little step because you can just click on the link and get the full blow-by-blow (they probably explain it better than I do anyway). Also, my “in process” pictures are somewhat crappy iPhone photos, so I apologize in advance. I tend to get so wrapped up in a project that I often forget to take any pictures at all, so it’s worth celebrating that I took some this time around.
- Thrift Store Coffee Table
- Gloss White Spray Paint (2 cans)
- Semi-Gloss Polyurethane Spray (1 can)
- 0.75″ Thick Particle Board (if it’s good enough for Ikea, it’s good enough for me!)
- 4″ High Density Foam
- Extra Loft Batting
- Upholstery Fabric (purchased here)
- Welt Cord (10 yards)
- Upholstery Thread
- Denim Needle
- 1.5″ Wood Knobs (these)
- Staple Gun
- Jig Saw
- Hand Saw
- Sand Paper
- Wood Screws
The first step was to find a worthy coffee table. I wanted something that was structurally sound, wooden, and under $30. Amazingly, this was not as easy to achieve as you might think. Five thrift stores, days on craigslist, and several garage sales later, I found this bad boy:
Isn’t it a beaut? …Sort of? It was the perfect size for our living room, had some vintage charm to it, a drawer, and was $29.99. Sold.
I went straight to work removing the casters, extension wings, and sanding the whole thing down (of which I did not do the greatest job).
I also should note here that I wanted to preserve the detail along the sizes of the table top, so I opted to create the upholstered portion as a separate piece (using the particle board) and then attach it to the coffee table at the end, just like they did in the tutorial.
Once everything was sanded, I had a few holes to fill. Some were from removing the brackets that supported the extension wings, and some were from removing the hardware on the drawer (I intended to put on new drawer pulls). For this, I headed to my local home improvement store to pick up some wood epoxy. I purchased JB Weld’s Kiwkwood, which worked really, really well.
Here you can see where I had to use some epoxy to fill in part of the trim along the side that was missing:
Then it was time to paint! I removed the drawer (painted it separately) and applied several coats of glossy white spray paint. Since the top of the coffee table was going to be covered, I didn’t care about painting that all the way. After the paint was dry, I sprayed on a coat of clear, semi-gloss polyurethane to protect it.
Next, I needed to get my particle board cut to shape. I opted to use particle board instead of plywood because it was half the price and I’m cheap. The only thing to be aware of with particle board is that it cannot get wet. For this project, that wasn’t an issue. My coffee table measured 2′ x 4′ so I had the particle board cut to size at the time of purchase (Lowe’s and Home Depot will do this for free). However, the top of the coffee table, as you can see, is not perfectly square. So I flipped it upside down on top of the particle board and traced where we needed to do our fancy cuts. Then I had my husband do all of the cutting, because that was the only way that all of our fingers would stay in tact.
We also needed to cut the high density foam to be the same shape. I purchased the foam at Joann’s,* and they cut it to 2′ x 4′ for me, but I needed to do the fussy cuts. Everything I had read online said that using an electric carving knife is the easiest way to cut high density foam. Well, guess what we don’t own? So we used a combination of hand saws, box cutters, and scissors. Don’t be fooled: this was the hardest part of the whole thing and it was INCREDIBLY messy. Luckily, it didn’t have to be perfect….or anywhere close.
*Pro tip: don’t be dumb like me and not have a 40% off coupon when you buy the foam – it’s quite expensive.
Once everything was cut, I covered the entire thing with extra loft batting and stapled it to the sides of the particle board.
Then it was on to sewing…the part I dreaded the most as it had the most room for error. Again, I followed the instructions outlined in the tutorial, so I won’t go into all the details here. It did go quite smoothly though, and wasn’t nearly as challenging as I thought it was going to be. I also thought it was going to be difficult sewing something that wasn’t perfectly square, but I made sure to cut my top piece of fabric with the curves in it so I could just follow that line when I sewed on the welting and boxed sides.
Once the cover was sewn, I slipped it over the top of my batting/foam/particle board concoction and flipped it over to staple it down. I pulled the fabric as tight as possible so that it would have a nice, smooth top. Then I went through and stapled on the remaining welting around the bottom. After it was all attached, we lined it up with the coffee table and screwed it together using wood screws on the bottom side of the table. Then we gave it a test run to check the height. We ended up cutting about 4″ off of the legs in order to make it the perfect foot-resting height.
The very last part to finish was the drawer. With the holes filled and paint applied, I just needed to paint and attach the wood knobs. I wanted to do something a little fancy with them, so I taped off half of the knob and painted them with the same gloss white spray paint. Then I drilled holes in the drawer and attached them with screws.
Voila! We had our ottoman! I’m really pleased with how it turned out and with how much I enjoyed making it. I also particularly like the welting, because I think it gives it a bit more of a polished, it-looks-like-someone-professional-might-have-made-this feel to it.
Here is the cost breakdown:
- Table: $30
- Fabric: $70
- Foam, batting, and sewing supplies: $95
- Wood Knobs & hardware: $4
- Spray Paint & Polyurethane: $12
- Particle Board: $20
Total cost: $231
So, not the most inexpensive thing to make, but you can certainly find less expensive fabric, and had I had my 40% off coupon for Joann’s I wouldn’t have shed a tear as I handed the cashier my card. Regardless of the cost, it’s a completely custom piece of furniture that fits beautifully in our home and is something my husband and I made together. I love it to pieces.