How to Construct a Round Ottoman
Ottomans are an opportunity to have fun with your furniture. These simple stools are one of the easiest upholstery projects and are perfect for the beginner. They are also an opportunity to make a statement. An ottoman is not a chair or a table even though you can sit on it or set things on it.
It is a piece of furniture that can be many things at once. One way to have fun is to make a round ottoman that looks like a big, soft, fancy pouf. Use a bold fabric that drapes well and resists staining.
Select two large plywood circles that are the same size. Find the center of each round. Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the bottom round. Drill a 1-inch hole in the top round. Place one pieces on top of the other and drill four 1/4-inch holes 3 inches from the side and evenly spaced around the circle. Find the center of your small round and drill two 1/4-inch holes 1/2 inch apart near the center. This is a giant button.
Set the top round and small round aside. Turn the bottom round upside down. Draw a line away from your drilled holes that passes over the center hole. Draw a second line perpendicular to the first hole. Measure 2 inches back from the edge and screw a leg centered on each line. Stand up your ottoman base.
Measure from the top of the base to the floor and add 4 inches. Measure around the diameter of the base and multiply by 2. Select a bold wide stripe fabric. Cut your fabric with scissors. Place your fabric face sides together and sew any side seams so that your fabric is one large circle. Match your stripes. Turn the bottom hem under 1/4 inch twice and hem. Hem the top edge.
Knot one end of your cording. Sew the cording 1/2 inch from the top hem using a wide zigzag stitch that crosses over the cord. Sew around the entire perimeter. Pull on the loose end of the cord and gather the fabric evenly until it fits the top of the ottoman. Pin your cord to the fabric temporarily with a safety pin. Drape your circular skirt over the ottoman base so that the fabric just brushes the floor.
Place a staple through the fabric into the top of the plywood, one top, bottom and side to side. Check your height to the floor with each staple. Staple in between your staples. If you think the gather is loose, tighten your cord. Continue stapling until the skirt is well attached. Select a piece of piping and cut it several inches longer than your circumference.
Pull back on the end of the piping and expose the cording. Cut 1/2 inch of the cording, leaving just the piping fabric. Place the piping along the edge of the plywood over the fabric. Staple the piping every inch along the top edge of the plywood. When you reach the end, cut the piping 1/2 inch long. Remove 1/2 inch of the piping fabric and slide the cord into the empty fabric you created earlier. This will hide the seam. Your base is finished.
Slide your four bolts through the top plywood and screw the nuts on the bolts on the bottom side. Spray the bottom of your foam with spray adhesive and attach it to the top of the plywood (over the bolt heads). Use an electric knife to cut the foam into a circle. After you cut the circle, make a second cut to round off the top corner.
Cut quilt batting large enough to cover the top and down the sides, and staple to the underside of the plywood. Use your same stapling pattern of top, bottom, side, side and then in between and stretch your quilting to keep it smooth. Once the batting is well attached, trim off your excess from the underside.
Measure from the center of your ottoman, across the top and down the side and under at least 3 inches. Cut fabric twice the circumference of the ottoman and to this length. Again, use a wide, bold stripe. Match your stripe if you need to sew sections together. Make a large circle like you did before. Sew your top hem. Sew your cord to the fabric with a zigzag stitch.
Pull your cord into a tight gather. You will want a circle that is smaller than your small plywood disc. Work it down until it is tight and small. Knot off your cords. Sew over your fabric to help hold it in place. Make several seams but none wider than your disk. Insert a long screw driver through the foam from the center hole. Mark the hole on the foam. Center the fabric over the foam and the hole and pull down on the sides evenly until you have it where you want it.
Turn the plywood and fabric over together and begin stapling the fabric to the underside of the plywood. You have twice the circumference of the ottoman so you need to pleat and gather the material as you staple. Start at the top, bottom, side and side stretching evenly then center the fabric between the staples, and center it on the wood. Turn it over to check the fit as you work. Trim off your excess fabric.
Cut 24 inches of cord. Thread your cord through the center of your small round. Pull the ends even. Wrap your button top in two layers of quilt batting stapled to the underside. Wrap your button in a solid color (one of your stripe colors). Staple the fabric to the underside. Thread your cord through your foam and out the center hole.
Unscrew the nuts on your bolts. Line up your bolts through the holes on the ottoman base. Thread the cords through the center hole in the ottoman base. Place washers on the bolts and tighten your nuts. Thread the cords through a large button and press down on the foam from the top with the heel of your hand to compress it a little. Knot the cord through the button tight.
Things You Will Need
- 2 large plywood rounds
- 1 small plywood round
- 4 legs
- 1-inch drill bit
- 1/4-inch drill bit
- 4 bolts with nuts
- Staple gun
- Heavy-duty cording
- 5-inch foam
- Electric knife
- Spray adhesive
- Quilt batting
The stripes on this ottoman will radiate like the inside of a circus tent, making this ottoman a fun piece of simple furniture. You can use it to sit on or as a table.
F.R.R. Mallory has been published since 1996, writing books, short stories, articles and essays. She has worked as an architect, restored cars, designed clothing, renovated homes and makes crafts. She is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley with bachelor's degrees in psychology and English. Her fiction short story "Black Ice" recently won a National Space Society contest.
- pillow image by Adrian Costea from Fotolia.com
- pillow image by Adrian Costea from Fotolia.com