Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Ottoman

UPDATED 9/4/14

My husband has been complaining since we bought a new couch how he hates using the coffee table because it's not the right height to put up his feet while watching TV. Boo hoo, right? Well, because I'm such a wonderful wife, I thought I'd help him out by providing him with an ottoman.

NEW AND IMPROVED sturdy ottoman legs that cost nothing but some leftover 2x6's and some brown paint:
Old wimpy and expensive ottoman legs that caused much stress (husband may have yelled at the kids every time they walked by the thing because he was afraid it would collapse, and it may have)

I looked up tutorials and found a style I liked, but her tutorial was ridiculous. It had one drawing of how to attach the 2x4's and ended with her saying she took it to an upholstery shop. So it was only slightly more DIY than going to the furniture store. So I'm here to give you an actual tutorial. Lucky you and nice me.

Step 1. Decide your dimensions. I decided on 24x60" but you could make it whatever size you want. I'm starting to wonder if I should have made 3 individual 18" squares, but for now, this is what we have.

Step 2. Go to your favorite home improvement store with your supply list. I chose Home Depot. For blogging purposes, we'll assume your dimensions are 24" by 48" for your ottoman.

Home Depot List:
2 - 2x6, cut to 48" long
3 - 2x6, cut to 21" long (4 if your ottoman is longer)
1/2 plywood or MDF, cut to 24x48"
4 bun feet or legs
2 dozen 2.5" wood screws
1 dozen 1.5" wood screws
4 dowel screws (the feet will likely have screws in them, but you'll want wood screw edges on both sides, so just get something in a similar width and a little longer than what comes in it)
3/8" staples for your staple gun that you either own or borrowed or plan to purchase.

Pick up enough length of 2x6's or 2x8's that will work for your dimensions and have them cut to length, the shorter edge dimensions should be cut 3" shorter than the finished edge because, as you may notice, 2x4's are actually 1.5x3.5's and you'll need to take the width off of each end so you end up with the right finished dimensions.  You'll notice I used 2x4's.  I would suggest, that unless you want a rather short ottoman, you will want to use at least a 2x6 so you can purchase substantial enough legs to hold the weight of it. I had to special order mine and I'm still not very happy with them, so I plan to redo the footing somehow, some day.

Get MDF or plywood in at least 1/2" thickness or as I did, some pressed wood particle board which was the cheapest for my 5' long project. Home Depot sells 2'x4' in both MDF and plywood and if your finished dimensions fit within them, I suggest using that.

Make sure you have plenty of wood screws.

Step 3. Go to your favorite fabric store with your dimensions and supply list.  I chose JoAnn with a 50% off coupon for the foam, batting and thread. I got my fabric at a discount warehouse that had a better selection.

Fabric Store:
4" foam (comes 24" wide and cut to length) - 48" long
Low loft batting for a queen size bed or equivilent
1.5 yards fabric, more if there is a grain or needs to match print
Upholstery thread
 - if tufting - 
Button thread

When you're shopping for foam, go to a store that will cut it for you with an electric knife, unless you have an electric knife. I had to re-cut some of mine since they cut it a couple inches longer than I wanted, so I used a cheap serrated knife which worked OK, but not as smooth as I'd have liked.

Step 4. Build it. It may be helpful to have a partner working with you. I did not have such a luxury at the time.

Here's a rough sketch of how to put the frame together. You will use the longer screws to do this and if you use 2x6's, use 3 screws where I have drawn 2. The shorter lengths go inside the ends of the longer.

You will need to pre-drill the holes before you screw the boards together so the wood doesn't split. There is such a thing as wood screws that have a drilling bit on the tip of them. Those might work and would be easier, but I didn't want to buy extra screws, so I pre-drilled the screw holes.

Measure for the center support to make sure it's evenly spaced or centered.

Because mine was so long, I needed 2 center supports.

For bun feet, which was my first try (before my husband thought the ottoman was too short, so I bought legs online for $11 each plus shipping which proved to be way too wimpy for such a heavy piece of furniture) use a drill bit slightly smaller than the dowel screw size, and flag the drill bit so the depth will match the length of the screw.  If you're confused as to what dowel screws are, they look the same on both sides.  You use pliers to screw it into the foot and then use your hand to twist it into the frame.

Pre-drill the placement for the dowel screw where the foot will go at each corner.

Make sure it will fit, but don't install it yet. 

Attach the top board by pre-drilling holes along the top (approx. every 8-10") and use the shorter screws to attach it. Make sure you don't hit the screws already in place at the corners.

Using some 3M spray glue, spray the foam and the board and attach the foam in place. (I don't have a picture of this step, but it's pretty self explanatory. Just glue the foam in place so it doesn't move when you're upholstering it.

It is at this point that you will want to decide if you are tufting it with buttons or leaving it without. If you decide to add buttons, you need to mark on the foam where you want your buttons. You will need an extra long drill bit and drill all the way through the foam and the plywood/mdf board. If you drill only through the board, be prepared to be frustrated while fishing your needle through the foam looking for the hole in the board. I didn't drill through the foam and it took me forever to find the hole with my needle when sending it back down through the top foam layer. Use at least a 5/16th drill bit.

 Cover with 3 layers of the batting, cutting the excess at the corners and stapling in place along the sides and bottom edge.

Leave out until the next day so your baby can use it as a jungle gym (this is a very important step). Replace any stapled edges of batting he/she may have pulled out

Cut your fabric to size. I used a drywall square because it was easier to get the right angles consistent, but you can use a quilter's square too.  For the top piece, you'll want to use the finished measurements of your wood frame with the foam and add 1" for seam allowances and adding length to the bottom for stapling. So, if you're frame is 48L x 24W x 10.5H, you will cut the following fabric pieces:
1 - 25x49" (top)
2 - 49x14" (long side edge)
2 - 25x14" (short side edge)

To sew the fabric, using 1/2" seam allowance, with right sides together, pin one long side edge to the long side of the top and sew together, leaving 1/2" on each end. Repeat using the short side edge and the short side of the top.

When you're done with the 4 sides, it will look something like this.
Sew up the side edges, right sides together, along the end of each so that it resembles a bag when done. At this point, you may opt to add a seam along where the foam ends, or not. It's easier to not, obviously, but if you do, make sure you measure carefully and make it straight (I didn't do this for the bedroom bench I made, but did for the ottoman). Now, turn it over and squeeze it on over your frame. It'll take some tugging and pulling.

Pull it tightly and staple in place along the bottom edge. This is fairly easy if you remember to pull it evenly and make sure you give it a tug before stapling in place. The corners are the toughest, but not rocket science. You need to cut a hole in the fabric where the leg will screw in, so try to make that part a single layer of fabric and then just pull the rest into place so that it looks nice from the sides. I cut around the hole altogether on the ottoman pictured below.

Screw the finished or painted bun feet into the frame holes. They are fairly self-leveling.  However, here is where I will show you the new installation of the super improved sturdy legs.  I cut a couple of premium 2x6" boards on a slight diagonal so they had a little shape to them. They were still squared on one side so I could just snug them up to the inside of the ottoman framework. I suppose you could just use a 2x4, but I wanted them to look a little more interesting than just a plain rectangle.  I painted them a dark brown and added a satin laquer to them, pre-drilled 3 holes, added wood glue, and then attached one to each corner of the underside of the ottoman framework with long 3" wood screws.

For tufting the buttons, you'll need your covered buttons. It is my strong suggestion that if you're wanting to used upholstery covered buttons that match your fabric, have an upholstery shop cover them. You will drive yourself mad trying to do it yourself with cover buttons from the fabric store. They'll likely cost you around $0.30-$0.50 each. You'll need another 2 holed button for the bottom and an extra long needle.

Thread 4 strands of button thread into needle and double (8 strands total). Press the needle through the drilled hole starting from the bottom.

Add your button and press needle back through the fabric and hole.

On the bottom, put one half of the thread through one hole of the holding button and half through the other hole.  Pull and tie off (several knots). If you have thread wax, use it on your thread as it helps to keep the knot from untying.

And there you have it. DIY Ottoman. (pictured here with wimpy legs)

and a bench I built for our bedroom.  This one i used a 2x6 frame.

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