Posts Tagged ‘Five Days…5 Ways’

Tobi’s DIY Diaries: Tufted Ottoman with Five Days… 5 Ways

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Today marks the second installment of my new blog series, “Tobi’s DIY Diaries.”  Last month, I shared a wonderful post from Rosemary on the TV.  This month I’m happy to welcome another new find, Abbie from Five Days… 5 Ways.  She’s got an ingenious and affordable ottoman project for you to enjoy!  – Tobi

Hey there, Tobi’s Blog readers! First let me say what a treat it is to get to share a project with such a talented designer and blogger! I was so excited to be asked by for a visit to share what a little time, determination, and DIY vision can do for you.

My name is Abbie from Five days…5 ways. I’m a wife, a mama to three munchkins under 6-years-old, a writer, a fitness addict/instructor, a thrifting addict (I also run a 100% thrifted style blog, Secondhand or Bare Bottom), and an incurable DIYer. Rarely do I see a room, a piece of furniture, or an accessory without thinking, “How could I do that myself for less?”

A dangerous question, sometimes, but it’s helped me accomplish some of the following projects:


See that tufted ottoman there in the center lower pic?

I made that.

From a craiglist coffee table.

For less than $120.

Wanna know how? Well, read on, and I’ll tell you (I’ll even get you the info on how I got that gorgeous orange rug…yes, I get asked that a lot).

First, let me apologize from the bottom of my tutorial-loving heart that I do not have a detailed picture for every step of this project. I began it before I started blogging (which, of course, means before I started documenting every detail of my life from what I eat for breakfast to how I brush my teeth). Unforgiveable, I know (I said I’m sorry, okay?) but I still think you’ll get a good idea of what to do from what I did capture.

Here’s what used to reside in my living room:


Absolutely nothing wrong with it. But I’ve been pining for an upholstered ottoman for a while now. I love the plush look—especially with deep tufting—but I do not love the price-tags that accompany that look.

$1,000 (*choke*). No thank you. I just don’t do pricey.

But I do do DIY (please don’t analyze that sentence).

So, naturally, I started combing Craigslist for a coffee table.

Wait, whaaa?

Why would I do that when I already had a perfectly respectable one of those already?

Patience, grasshopper ..and I will share my secrets.

After only one search for “square wooden coffee table,” I found this:


Really? How did that happen? (Especially when it started out $75, he wanted $50, and I got him down to $40). Not that I’m complaining.

Then I piled some of this on top (Can you see where I’m going with this?)


I wanted to make my ottoman extra-cushy, but foam is expensive, y’all, so let me give you a super-helpful hint: Hobby Lobby pretty much always has a 40% off coupon (you probably already knew that), AND they have 1” foam that comes in 39”X78” lengths for $19.99, so I got two rolls, cut them in half (since my coffee table just happened to be 38”X38”—and 78/2=39, so I had just enough…are you following?), and stacked them for a total of—wait for it—FOUR inches of 39”X39” foam…for only $24.

Do a price comparison on foam anywhere else, and you’ll quickly see this is a fantastic deal!

Here’s the part where the pics get a bit skimpy, but it’s also the boring part, so I’ll just break it down for you:

1) I decided on a twelve-button diamond tufting pattern, and my handy-dandy husband marked it out and drilled the holes for me. Here’s a view from the bottom:


Gorgeous, no?

Hubby also shortened the legs for me so I wouldn’t end up with a tufted pub table.

2) I did the foam cutting/stacking bit that I mentioned above using spray adhesive to hold the foam in place (yeah, that didn’t work. at. all).

3) I wrapped the whole table-top in 1” quilt batting (that I also got @ Hob Lob with another 40% coupon; Tip # 2: if you’re as obsessed with bargains as I am, have no shame, and are willing to go back to Hobby Lobby 2-3 times in one day—so you don’t run into the same cashier twice…awkward—you CAN use multiple 40% off coupons!!!) and stapled the batting under the coffee table edges.

4) I draped the beautiful and practical (Durapella microfiber) sea-foam green fabric (that I found at Hancocks for 50% off the 50% off price) over the top of the foam.


5) I stained the legs, but they never got as dark as I wanted, so I went back and painted them with a sample of Cordovan Brown that I got from Lowe’s.

6) I then proceeded to cover my upholstery buttons (that I got at Hancocks for 40% off) with a scrap of Goodwill fabric I had that happened to match the rest of the fabric per-fect-ly (after discovering that the fabric that I had bought at Hancocks was too thick/inflexible to work for covering buttons)…


And, no, my fingernails don’t have a fungus. Thanks for asking.

…then threaded them through the pre-drilled holes using a ginormous upholstery needle (jamming a 6” needle through 4” of foam is surprisingly therapeutic!), yanked them down to create deep tufts, and secured the thread to the underside of the coffee table.

**If you want a detailed, pic-by-pic tutorial of how to do diamond tufting, this one is great, and I strongly recommend you follow it as it will save you several headaches that I experienced because I only found it after I was already done.

7) I knew I wanted a tailored “band” around the bottom of the ottoman. So I cut my fabric into four 6”X40” strips (one for each side of the ottoman, since I didn’t have a long enough strip to wrap all the way around), and stapled them underneath the “poofy” top section, like so:


…then I folded the strips underneath and stapled them to the wood.


…and at the corners.


8) To cover all the visible staples, I added nail-head trim my hubby destroyed a bunch of nail-head trim tacks trying to do it for me (apparently that stuff wasn’t meant to be driven into aged oak covered in batting). All seemed lost (yeah, I was gonna throw the whole thing out on account of not having nail-head trim) until he got the brilliant idea to drill shallow holes for each nail-head tack to rest in before he hammered them home with a rubber mallet.

Have I mentioned he’s my hero?


and he has the greatest hands! (I’m a hand girl).


9) I turned it over, took pictures of it…


10) …showed it to you! (I was too close to an even 10 steps to quit).

Here she is, my very own tufted ottoman!


Meet Emmeline (a reader suggested her name, and I love it!)

A shot of Emmeline that gives you a taste of the rest of my living room. (Clicking on that link will take you to pictures of the detailed living room post and also reveal the secret of the rug).

Here’s a shot with the buttons:


Sorry if it gives you vertigo.

The cost breakdown (without factoring in the years off my life):

::Coffee table:: $40

::Foam:: $24

::Quilt batting:: $8

::Buttons:: $6

::Paint:: $3

::Upholstery thread + Needles:: $8

::Nail-head trim:: $12

::Fabric:: $15

TOTAL: $116

A similar option from Ballard Designs starts at a cool $400 and is 10 square inches shorter.

Which makes mine a pretty stinkin’ awesome deal.

If I do say so myself.

And I do.

Well, that does it, folks! Thanks for coming along on my little DIY adventure! I’d love to have you by Five days…5 ways for a visit. I’ve got plenty of other tutorials, fitness tips, fashion ideas, and giveaways just waiting for you!



And don’t forget about this week’s book giveaway! You have until tomorrow at noon to register to win a copy of the new book The Collected Tabletop.

Register Here