Recovering my "Free" Ottoman

My mother had this ottoman.  It has seen better days.  But, it is quite large and I would think to purchase a new one would be more than I am willing to pay.  In our old house, we would always put our feet on the coffee table and it would scratch and dent it.  Doing so, ALSO, caused someone who will remain nameless to kick any contents off the table.

Here is the old Ottoman Recovered

Tools I used:
Flat Head Screw Driver
Needle Nosed Pliers
Locking/Vice Grip Pliers
Butter knife
Staple Gun (Heavy Duty)
3/4" Heavy Duty Staples
3 Yards of Burlap Fabric at 1/2 off ($46)
Covered Button Kit - 1/2 inch Buttons ($10)
Wooden Skewer
Tapestry Needle
Twine (to thread buttons)
Dictionary of Curse Words

Items I would recommend that I didn't use:
Fabric Glue/No Sew Glue
Extra Batting
Long Sleeve Shirt :)

Ottoman Pre-demolishion

To Start this project, I made the buttons first.  I used the Covered Button Kit I bought at Walmart. I actually purchased a kit at Hancock Fabrics when I bought my fabric but realized they were too big.  Luckily I found some at Walmart.  I purchased the 1/2 inch size.  I cut my fabric into 1 inch squares and used the kit to wrap and cover the buttons.  Half way through the 16 I had to make, I realized using a hammer to sandwich the fabric between the pieces was a lot easier than using my thumbs.  Don't use the hammer to pound, just push the pieces together using the hammer as leverage.  I would recommend putting a dollop of glue to secure the buttons.  I had to take a few of mine back out because the covers popped off.

Next, I put the Ottoman upside down and used the Flat Head Screw Driver and Butter knife to pry out any staples from the liner and remove the (in my case) black liner that was on the bottom covering the fabric rough edges.  Keep in mind that the smoother your end results the nicer the new fabric will lay.  Try to remove all staples you can.  If you do leave a staple or too, use the hammer to ensure they are flush with the ottoman frame.  Do not leave too many as you will need the frame to secure your fabric and then the liner at the end.  Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to remove the feet of my Ottoman, so I left them on.  

I also left my lining secured at all four corners since I couldn't remove the feet.  If you are going to re-use your lining be careful not to pull it or it will stretch and become uneven.  I knew I would re-use the lining and with it remaining I could line it up later perfectly.  My lining did become a bit misshapen but it's on the bottom so only I will know that....and you.

Next, my ottoman had leather edging in the middle and on the bottom and I again used my butter knife and screwdriver to pry the staples out.  Once I was able to get a good length removed, I could just pull with the vice grips and the edging and staples pulled out fairly easily.

Next, I removed the lower section of "leather".  I made note of how the leather was attached to the ottoman.  On my ottoman I had two sections of foam  The foam was secured to the frame except for a two inches that was not glued down at the top of the section.  The upper section of leather was tucked under the lower section of foam and stapled, so that the rough edge of fabric was hidden.  Then, the lower section came up and then tucked under the lower section of foam as well hiding it's rough edge and the staples used to secure the upper fabric.  Any staples showing were hidden by the middle section of edging.

Next, I removed the sides of the upper portion of my Ottoman, I cut the twine that was holding the buttons on.  I then removed the buttons and saved the twine for later. On my Ottoman, the button twine was secured to the bottom of my frame which was good for me and I cut the twine as long as I could so I could re-use it and this left some dangling inch or two of twine.  I removed the staples and removed the twine remnants.  David came home at this point and I had about 4 inches of leather still attached on one of the sides.  He took the pliers and pulled it off and goes "huh, that was easy to take off wasn't it" like the WHOLE process didn't just take me hours to complete.  I almost killed him.

Here it shows where I cut all the twine as close to the frame as I could to be able to re-use the twine.  To the right shows the lining still attached at the feet.

The next time I recover this, I will add more batting to the top.  I would have liked it a bit softer.

Next, I laid the fabric over the ottoman top and let it hang on all four sides.  Since I had made a note that my fabric had been tucked under the bottom section foam, I allowed about 1 inch on all sides past the top of the second layer of foam.  This gave me about 7-8 inch overhang from the top of the ottoman.  I used a piece of chalk to lightly mark my cut line.  It took me about 5-10 minutes of staring at the ottoman to make sure I was measuring correctly before I got the confidence to cut the fabric.

I decided to do the top and attach the buttons first.  I used the left over twine and threaded through the button and then threaded BOTH ends of the twine through the needle.  I then went through the top, through the fabric and then into the ottoman.  Since the buttons had been there previously it was fairly easy to re-use their holes.  DO NOT push too hard.  If you have found the hole it will go through easily.  There were a few holes that the batting was off slightly and I couldn't find the hole in the frame through the top.  I used the skewer to go in from the back of the frame.  I then put the needle next to the skewer and then used it it guide my needle through.  This was the most time consuming part.  We tried taping the needle to the skewer and the tape got stuck...we found just guiding it through worked best.  I bent one of the plastic needles (to its death) trying to search for the hole.

This is also where the long sleeved shirt would have been helpful.  Because you have to reach around the sides to guide the needle through, any sharp staples you missed will make contact.

I stapled the twine to the back of the inside of the frame.  Since I re-used my twine I couldn't reach all the way to the outer edge like it was.  I just used a zig zag pattern two or three times and the staple gun to secure the twine.  This will also make it easier (and I did have to when the buttons pop off since I didn't use glue).

Next, I secured the fabric to the frame with the Staple Gun.  I originally used 3/8 inch staples and they were too long and wouldn't sit flush to the frame.

Our stapler was being loaned at the time and David went and bought me a new one with staples.
 *Tip - when buying a stapler you must use Light Duty staples in a Light Duty Stapler.  You can not use Heavy Duty Staples in a Light Duty Stapler.   

Why Walmart only sells these TWO items is beyond me??  Luckily, the purchased 1/4inch heavy duty staples worked great with my old Staple Gun once we recovered it.  We now have a Light Duty Stapler to return.

You need to pull the fabric very tightly.  I was afraid of hurting the fabric and didn't pull tight enough.  I may have to go back and tighten the fabric on mine.  But, with two dogs and a one year old, it will probably get dirty before I get time to do that :)

See how my fabric is "pooking" a little?  I think if I had pulled it a smidge tighter it would not do that.

For the bottom section, I was able to use the remaining fabric lengthwise and I measured a two inch overhang on both sides.  Two inches to wrap under the bottom and two inches to wrap and tuck under this section of foam.  My section of foam was 8 inches wide so I added added four inches and cut the section.  It was just about two inches longer than each side which was perfect so I didn't have to wrap four separate pieces.

Again, my feet could not be removed so I had to tuck my fabric under my feet and then re-adjust the lining to cover the rough edges and align with the outer end of your frame.  

To do the corners, I wrapped it similar to a present, or a hospital corner on a bed sheet.  I did not want to sew this project.

 I tucked the newly made corner under the lower section
From left to right, the bottom section where I wrapped the fabric around the foam and tucked back under.

From the right, the top section where the fabric is being tucked under the foam of the bottom section.
Next, I secured all the corners and tucked all the sides.  It became a little difficult for the last side since I was connecting the two lower sections of fabric and ensuring the top was secured as well.  It came out pretty good I think.  The middle isn't as "clean" as I would like and I might purchase some nail head trim to cover where you can see the puckers from the staples.

Here is the side positioned and ready to be stapled.
Stapled and secured.


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