Create a DIY Tufted Ottoman…from trash!

diy tufted ottoman image


This tutorial will teach you how to quickly, easily and cost-effectively create a DIY tufted ottoman that is perfect for living with kids. As you may recall, one of my favorite hobbies is dumpster diving for old furniture, knickknacks, and decor that have potential. Check out some old finds here.

Repurpose and Upcycle

I look for a good foundation. Something with strong bones to insert a dose of creativity into and completely transform. So recently when I spotted this sectional base, I was intrigued.

The before photo of my Upcycle DIY tufted ottoman project!

When I saw the springs were sturdy and structural integrity was present, I flipped my lid. Since moving into my new home, I have been decorating each room and needed some main pieces such as a coffee table. I instantly envisioned a tufted ottoman coffee table and shamelessly grabbed the piece.

sectional sofa piece image before tufted ottoman photo


From the top, the stains are disgusting but from below you can see this furniture is sturdy with springs in tact so I got some little wooden legs from my sister who had them left over from a project. She originally bought these at Home Depot. I drilled those on for an idea of the height and feel.

Jacquelyn Ward holding wooden legs from Home Depot to drill into ottoman base photo


What You Will Need

diy tufted ottoman image of supplies photo


You can add legs easily with a drill, proper equipment and wooden legs from a hardware store like The Home Depot or Lowes. When it comes to the upholstery part, you will need foam, batting, buttons, scissors, measuring tape, an upholstery needle, upholstery thread, foam, a staple gun with staples and a fabric you love. Tacking strip is optional and I ended up leaving this out of my process.

I purchased my foam at and had it cut to the dimensions of my base to ensure a proper fit. The foam was inexpensive and having it cut and mailed to me was perfect for my busy life. I purchased my fabric, buttons, and upholstery thread at a local Brooklyn fabric store called  J & A tufted ottoman jacquelyn ward tufting image photo

DIY Tufted Ottoman Savings Hack

Instead of purchasing expensive down feathers to stuff the ottoman with, I ripped apart an old pillow that was coming apart from wear and tear and used the feathers from within which was a cost-saving DIY hack!

Initial Steps


Let me get right into the DIY Tufted Ottoman tutorial! My first step was to drill holes and screw in the legs on each of the 4 corners to ensure that the ottoman would be sturdy and at a proper height.

Hooray, my hunk of junk just became functional. I also now can tuft more easily when setting the furniture on its side and I know exactly where the holes for the legs go so that when the time comes to fold down the fabric corners, I can strategically plan where to make my folds.

Tufting and upholstering a piece of furniture is like making a lasagne…the more layers of ingredients you use, the better it turns out. So, I started by laying out my batting and foam and placed the foam on top.

foam layering image

Next, I took my measuring tape and used my scissors to cut small slits 6 inches apart in 3 horizontal lines.

planning tufting with holes in diy tufted ottoman photo

This is your outline for the tufts and will become larger holes soon.

Make sure to stagger your measurements so the first line starts at the edge of the ottoman and the center line begin 6 inches in from the perimeter. This layout adds to the luxury of the tufting and helps to create diamond tufts if that is what you are into.

Once your holes are cut, use your fingers to create graduated depth so that the center of the hole is the deepest and gets more shallow as it nears the outside of its circular shape. The reason I did this is because it helps the fabric gather when you tie your buttons in the center of these holes. As you get deeper into the hole make sure it gets narrower because you still need enough grip to hold your buttons in place.

You’re ready to tuft! Now, take your fabric  and lay it over your layers. At this point, I like to staple some of the fabric around the sides to create a identifiable form but  don’t go overboard or you won’t have room to fill the top with feathers.

Grab your buttons, upholstery needle, and upholstery thread. Put thread in the eye of your needle and pull it through like you would when sewing. I used about a foot of thread for each tuft. Knot the end. Pick a hole and twist your finger inside the top of the hole to create friction and a natural diamond pattern.  Now, carefully insert the threaded needle up from the bottom of your ottoman. Aim for the center of your hole and take your time.

diy tufted ottoman image of Jacquelyn tufting buttons PHOTO

Don’t place your finger in the way to feel for the needle because the risk of a puncture wound is too great and these upholstery needles are sharp!

Once your needle is up through the center of the hole, pull it all the way up until the entire piece of thread is through. Now take your button and fit the needle through the back. String the button all the way up through the thread and return the needle back down the hole in a diagonal angle.

button tuft photo

Now, tie the ends together. Repeat this process for each hole.

two diagonal button tufts for diy tufted ottoman photo

As you near the end, add feathers between each tuft to create a dramatic mound and secure each button from the bottom.

tufted ottoman from underneath

Now, staple the rest of the fabric around the wood perimeter and cut extra material. For the corners fold and create hospital corners.

I screwed the legs into place to secure the bottom of the corners that were tucked under and voila. Now my diy tufted ottoman is finished!

diy tufted ottoman image photo

What do you think of this upcycle? Send photos of your tufting projects and follow me on instagram @diydesignmom  for more fun DIY ideas.

Instagram: diydesignmom

Twitter: @JacquelynWard

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