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Make an upholstered ottoman

An upholstered ottoman is a useful piece of furniture to have in a home. It can serve as a decorative piece, be used for storage, provide extra seating, or serve as a coffee table when topped off with a piece of glass.


The nice thing about making your own upholstered ottoman is that you can cover it in the fabric of your choice, and make it to the size that you want.


This project uses 16mm shutteryply BisonBord. Have the board cut to sizes:
[2] 800 x 400mm - long sides
[2] 400 x 400mm - short sides
[2] 832 x 400mm - top and bottom

[1] Medium density foam 832 x 400 x 50mm
3 metres medium batting
[4] Plastic feet or blocks of wood
[4] Blocks of wood for top battens
[1] Packet of upholstery pins/tacks
[20] Chipboard screws
Wood glue

TOOLS: Scissors, Drill/Driver, Bosch Tacker (or
staple gun), Hammer

NOTE: If you feel uncertain about tackling this project on your own, sign up for one of the DIY Divas Upholstered Ottoman Workshops at a venue close to you.






1. Make the box by gluing and screwing both sides to the end of the front and back as shown below.

2. Attach the base to the box by screwing through the base and into the sides of the box.

3. Fasten the feet to the base of the box. Instead of plastic feet, I used small blocks of wood. To fasten them to the base I drilled out with a spade bit to half the depth and then screwed the block to the base. An easier alternative is to use plastic feet, which you will find at most larger fabric stores.

4. Start the wrap the batting around the box, starting at one corner and stapling the batting to the box to secure. Wrap entirely round and again secure at the starting point.

5. Repeat the process to wrap the fabric around the ottoman by folding under and stapling the edge of the fabric onto the box. You need to allow sufficient fabric at the top and bottom to allow for folding under and stapling to the bottom of the box and inside the box at the top.

6. Once evenly wrapped you will be back at the starting point. Fold under the edge of the fabric for a neat finish - you can staple this down and then cover with a strip of cord glued over the top, or use upholstery pins to fasten the edge down.

7. Place the box with the top side down and start to fold and staple the fabric to the base. Working on one side and starting at the centre, work your way towards the sides, making sure that the fabric is evenly spread out. Leave the corners until last and then fold the fabric under to create a neat, square corner.

8. Turn the ottoman over and start on the top edge, folding under and stapling the fabric to the inside of the box for a neat finish. It isn't necessary to pull the fabric tightly but use your hand to guide the fabric evenly up to the top edge before folding and stapling, again leaving the corners until last. You will need to play around with the fabric for the corners, adjusting both sides until you have a neat finish.

9. Now we are going to upholster the top of the box by placing the foam on top of the lid and then a layer of batting to soften the edges.

10. Place the fabric face down on a flat, level surface and then add a layer of batting and foam onto the fabric, placing the top over this. Make sure that everything is positioned centrally on the fabric.

11. You are going to fold under the fabric and pull the batting so that it covers the hard edges and then staple to the underside of the top. Start in the centre of one side and then work on the opposite side, ensuring that the fabric is flat and even. As before, leave the corners until last so that you can adjust for a neat finish.

12. The final step is to attach the lid battens to the underside of the top. These battens will prevent the top from sliding around. Place the battens about 20mm in from the edges for a snug, tight fit.

Using the basic design below you can easily modify and alter the design to make your own unique ottoman.