No-Sew DIY Ottoman from a Coffee Table!

Ever since my husband and I bought our coffee table I have hated it. It is made of glass, stone, and metal so it is constantly covered in fingerprints and I always have bruises on my shins from running into the dang thing. A few months ago I found a cute little wooden coffee table for $10 at a garage sale. And after bought you should maintain coffee table for long lasting.

Though the color was heinous, I had a vision for it and I knew that a little paint, foam, and fabric would spruce it up nicely. It took me a few months to gather up the motivation to start the project, but I finally did it and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Let me start off with this disclaimer: This DIY ottoman project really isn’t very hard, which surprised me. I was stressed about starting it all day on Friday because I knew it was a big project and I just wanted it to turn out well. Luckily for me, it wasn’t that hard to figure out. However, Do not Consume Too Much Coffee Everyday. It Fetches Some Bad Results On Your Health. it is very time consuming…especially if you are new to upholstering like I was! My shoulders, back, forearms, and thumbs were very sore the next day and I was up until 4:30 a.m. finishing it (that makes a total of about 13 hours). Fortunately, the amount of love I immediately had for my new piece of furniture made up for my soreness and lack of sleep. Would I want to repeat the process again any time soon? Heck no. But I don’t regret making it one bit.

You should also probably know that my ottoman was not the only project made that day…my friend Christy and I worked on my ottoman and her bench simultaneously, so it took us about twice as long. I would say plan for about 6 or 7 hours if you are just making one :) (and if you are smart enough to buy enough fabric and supplies on your first trip to the craft store!! We had to go back twice…once for new fabric because we hated our first choices, and a second time because we didn’t buy enough fabric to cover the sides. Math isn’t our forte, okay?)

I hope my disclaimer doesn’t make you change your mind about doing this project. Like I said, it’s SO worth it when you’re done!! So. Let’s begin!

The supplies you need for your DIY Ottoman are as follows:

  • A coffee table (try Goodwill, Deseret Industries, Craigslist, or a garage sale…cheaper is better!)
  • Primer and semi-gloss paint if you don’t like the color of the table’s legs…
  • A saw if you are making an ottoman instead of a bench.
  • Enough fabric to cover your coffee table plus an extra 6-8 inches on each side to cover your foam! Also, keep in mind you need a little extra fabric to cover your buttons and the sides of your table if you want those covered as well. I got 2⅔ yards of fabric and it left me with a little extra. Fortunately, I got it for 50% off at Joann’s (Veterans Day Sale!), but most craft stores have coupons you can use no matter what time of year it is! Just make sure you get a flexible fabric that’s good quality without being too thick (or covering your buttons will be nearly impossible). I used a suede and it worked perfectly…and it’s SO soft!
  • Enough foam to cover the top of your coffee table plus an extra inch on each side. I used 4 inch thick foam. Luckily it was 50% off as well cause that stuff is pricey!! Hobby lobby has a 40% off coupon you can use on any one item if you get it there…but do your research and find the best deal. It’s worth it.
  • High-loft batting. My table was 38×38 and a full-size package of high-loft batting (81”x96”) left me with just a little extra…you want the measurements of your batting to be about double that of your table so you can use two layers…and make sure you get high-loft if you want deep-set buttons.
  • A button kit. I bought the pack of 10 of the bigger size and only ended up using 6 buttons.
  • A pack of cheap buttons large enough to cover the holes you’re going to drill into the bottom of your table.
  • An upholstery needle (this will be about 6 inches long and you can find it in the upholstery section of most craft stores)
  • Thick upholstery thread or fishing line (I used fishing line…)
  • A heavy-duty staple gun and staples
  • Upholster nail tacks (I bought a pack of 24 and that gave me exactly enough to do 6 per side…you might want to buy a few extra though…cause they are stubborn buggers and I ruined 5 of mine trying to nail them in)
  • An electric drill
  • Adhesive spray
  • Scissors
  • A ruler
  • A permanent marker
  • A small knife to create holes in your foam for the buttons to sit in (I used a paring knife…)
  • A bread knife or electric carving knife to cut your foam with
  • A hammer

The process:

  • Okay…where to begin. The first thing I did was have my handy-dandy husband saw a few inches off the bottom of my coffee table legs. He’s the greatest. I was about to add an extra 5 inches to that thing, so it had to shrink. No one wants to rest their legs on something higher than the couch.
  • The next thing you need to do is paint some primer on any parts of the table that you don’t plan on covering with fabric. Once that’s dry, paint 2 coats of whichever color you have chosen for the legs. I used a semi-gloss black and I liked the shininess level.

  • Now, you can’t start anything else until that paint is completely dry or you’ll have a mess on your hands and pretty pathetic looking table legs. Because of this, I painted my table the night before I started the rest of this project.
  • So, once your paint is dry, you’re ready to cut your foam and glue it to the table. Use your handy math skills to figure out exactly how to cut your foam so that it covers the whole table with an extra inch on each side. Draw a straight line with a permanent marker and use your bread knife or electric carver to cut the foam. I ended up using one large piece and one smaller strip on the side.

  • This is where things get a little tricky…You need to glue your foam to the table so it stays in place, but if you have thick foam and a pretty wimpy drill like me, you might need to lift the foam up to drill your button holes in the table. Don’t skip the gluing step though…cause you want the foam to stay where it’s supposed to.
  • So, position your foam on the table exactly where you want it, lift each side slightly, and spray with the adhesive. Then press down. I sat on mine to make sure it was on there good (this was before I knew I was gonna need to lift it up again to get my drill to work…).
  • Now, figure out how many buttons you want and use those math skills again to space them out evenly on your table. I decided on two rows of three buttons, and one row of two in between. The buttons can be a headache, so if you’re debating between two different amounts, go for the smaller amount. haha. Trust me. I drew a grid on my foam to try and figure out where to put the buttons and it ended up being a big waste of time. Basically you just need to make sure they are exactly in line with each other and equally spaced apart from each other and the sides. My foam looked so ridiculous after drawing my grid that I couldn’t bear to take a picture of it…sorry.
  • Once you’ve marked off the button spots, it’s time to grab that drill. After much trial and error (my foam was so thick that it literally broke the first drill bit I used), Christy and I figured out that the best way to do this is to poke the drill bit all the way through the foam before turning it on, and then turning it on for just a second to mark the table where the hole needs to be. Then, while keeping the foam perfectly in place, lift it enough to drill a hole through the table exactly where the mark is. This keeps your foam from shredding to pieces. Just be really careful about not letting your foam move! You want the hole in your foam to match up with the one in the table, trust me. Repeat for every button.
  • Now, time to add some more spray adhesive to your foam so it’s nice and stuck. Once again, don’t let it move out of place!!
  • After your foam is officially stuck to your table, it’s time to grab your paring knife and make those holes you poked in the foam bigger. I would say we carved the holes about as big as a quarter…but keep in mind that my buttons were pretty big. This is what will help your buttons look deep
  • Now you’re ready to put your batting over the foam. Staple in place under the lip of the table.

  • At this point you should know how big your table is with the extra foam and batting. That should give you a good idea of what size your fabric needs to be. Cut off a piece that is big enough to cover the entire top of your table and wrap down under the lip with enough excess to staple in place. Don’t forget that your foam added an extra inch to your table in every direction…So, if your table is 38×38, you need a piece of fabric that is at least 44×44 and maybe even 45×45. Make sense? Just place it on top to test it out before cutting it to be safe.
  • Once your fabric is cut, take the extra fabric that you have and make your buttons (just be sure to cut it strategically so that you still have enough for your strips later (I needed to save enough fabric for four 5×20 inch strips). Your button kit will show you how to make the buttons. It’s surprisingly simple!!

  • Now, this is where the explaining gets tricky. You need to take your fishing line and run it through the needle…then run it through the back of your button and secure it in place. Christy did this part for me cause I am no pro at knots or sewing.
  • If you can, have an extra set of hands help you with this part—it will really make your life easier…
  • Prop your table up on some chairs so it’s high up off the ground, drape your fabric over the top of it (exactly where you want it to be), and use your hands to locate those nice big holes you cut into the foam.
  • Now, starting with the middle button, stick your needle straight through the fabric and down into the foam. If you’re lucky, your needle will go straight down through the hole you drilled into the wood as well. However, if you’re like me, it will take about 5 minutes to find that gosh dang hole with the needle. We let the foam move on my table when we were drilling the holes through the wood, so it caused some issues. You shouldn’t have that problem though if you were careful in step 8.
  • Once the needle is finally through the wood, have your helper grab it, string the needle through one of your cheap buttons (not the nice ones you just made), and cover the hole in the wood. The person above the table needs to push down on the button as deep as wanted while the person under the table pulls the fishing line tight and starts securing it with staples. Put one staple in, hammer it tight, and then repeat in a zig-zag pattern at least 3 times. See my really bad picture below if you’re confused. This should keep your fishing line and button in place :)

  • Repeat with the rest of your buttons.

  • Your ottoman should now start to look like an ottoman! This is where I started to get excited :) Once all your buttons are secure, you can staple your fabric to the underside of the table. Make sure those staples are in tight (this might mean hammering some of them in). We started at the middle of each side, and then worked our way to the edges and did all four corners last.
  • For the corners, just roll one side into the other to create a nice fold…unless you are great at folding and come up with a better plan! That is just what proved to be easiest for us.
  • Now, it’s time to go cut those strips we talked about. Measure the lowest part of the lip of your table and add an extra inch to it so you know how thick each strip needs to be, and then measure the length and add two inches. I used four 5×40 inch strips.
  • Staple each strip to the table. You will have to cut little slits in the bottom of your fabric if your table lips are detailed like mine were. I promise it’s not as difficult as it looks, it just takes some patience. Staple to the underside of the table.

  • Once you’re done with that, you can enjoy your table how it is! Otherwise, grab those upholstery tacks and carefully nail them in (you’re gonna want to put some fabric over the hammer or all the paint will come off the tack when you hit it with the hammer). Some of them will be stubborn, break, and go in crooked, so be careful and try not to curse them too much. Like I said earlier, a few of mine broke so I need to go buy some more…
  • Hallelujah, you’re DONE!! Enjoy your beautiful new piece of furniture. LOTS of work, but way cheaper than buying one…and it’s way more loved when you make it yourself :)