DIY House & Decor

Reloved Ottoman Part 2: Reupholstery

July 9, 2016

Hey! Hi! Welcome back!… in case you missed Part I of this two part DIY then check it out here to learn how to prepare new feet for your furniture and how to create that beachy weathered wood look.  Once the feet have been prepared for installation and finished its time to tackle the ottoman reupholstery… this is a pretty simple reupholstery project… there is no piping or tufting… and I suspected that the foam was in great shape meaning that it didn’t need replacement…

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Now I know many of you are thinking… WHAT!? recovering that good looking ottoman? I did find it at a second hand shop… the fabric was pretty worn and pilled all over… and well the pattern and legs just do not match our style… so it was the perfect candidate for reupholstery for our home.

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As I mentioned in Part I, the original contempo feet make the ottoman just a touch higher than our couch… so I decided to chose a the leg that not only matched our style, but that was also about an inch lower than the original legs to bring the ottoman down to the height we were looking for.

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And don’t forget that Osborne Wood Products has a treat for you – right now until September 30 if you purchase the 4075 bun foot in soft maple from Osborne Wood Products you will save 15% off of your purchase by entering code FMN15 during the checkout process! …and be sure to checkout their SPECIALS while you’re over there!… lots of wood goodies to be found!

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Here’s a quick shot again of the finished feet… after paint washing with FAT Paint and finishing with FAT waxes I was pleased with my new old weathered wood ottoman feet… now lets get onto the reupholstery…

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I begin with the following tools to tear down the existing upholstery

Linesman Pliers

Needle nose Pliers

Mini Nail Bar

These can all be picked up at your local hardware store, and you may very well just have some of these in your tool arsenal already.

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I started the tear down by flipping the ottoman over, unscrewing the four legs. With the feet out of the way I lifted the staples out of the black fabric that was covering the bottom with the end of the nail bar.  Once all of the staples were lifted enough to grip them with pliers I used the needle nose or linesman pliers to pull all of the staples out.  Because the black fabric on the bottom was in such good shape after it was removed I put it aside to use for the bottom again after recovering the ottoman.

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Even when pulling out the staples that are holding in the fabric you want to be gentle and to not cause damage to the fabric.  Keeping the fabric intact will ensure that you create an accurate pattern from the existing fabric once it has been removed. Here you can see I slip one prong of the flattened nail bar end under the edge of the staple and then press down on the handle of the nail bar until the staple comes up.

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Once the staples have been pried up you can go back around and pluck them all out with the pliers… Some times they pull straight out and other times you may need to roll the pliers to help the staple to come out.

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…ta da!… well almost… you’ll get lots of ta da’s as you pull out lots of staples!  Typically each layer is stapled… bottom fabric, main fabric, foam… don’t pressure yourself to get all of the staples out in one sitting… take a break in the middle – dance around the house, enjoy a glass of bubbly even 😉

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You will get the knack for staple removal and become a pro at it quick!.. try different angles and prying to see what feels best to you, and what works best for you.

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Once I removed the staples that were holding the fabric I stopped pulling staples… The foam was in great shape and so I left the existing foam intact and installed on the ottoman frame.

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Here she is sans fabric… the foam WAS in really great shape so I left it on and didn’t add anything to it. I put the ottoman to the side while I got to work on preparing the new cover… of course the kitties had to check it out all over and then they proceeded to have naps on it.

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I on the other hand began to prepare the old upholstery to use as a pattern for the new upholstery.

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This was a very simple cover, a square top with rounded corners, and four rectangular side panels…

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Using scissors I carefully snipped the threads and pulled the cover apart…

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I prepared my fabric that I was using for the reupholstery by washing and ironing it (apparently I missed ironing this edge!)… the fabric that I used was a fabric drop cloth that painters use.  You can find drop cloths at your local hardware store. Washing the new canvas painters drop cloth softens it up beautifully!

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Using the original fabric pieces that had been cut apart, and also ironed to ensure they were good and flat, I pinned them to the canvas and cut out the new pieces following the edge of the fabric and carrying over any notches from the original fabric.

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…snip, snip, snip…

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I found that working all of the pieces on the large canvas drop cloth cumbersome to do all at once so I cut the larger piece of canvas drop cloth down into manageable chunks that the fabric pattern pieces would fit onto… this made ironing the pieces prior to cutting much easier as well.

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Here are the cut pieces ready to be sewn up…

As you can see I don’t have a fancy sewing machine… my machine has got the basics on there and it has done me well for years.  Previous to this machine I had a fancy embroidery machine that was not very good for plain old sewing… which is the type of sewing that I do the most… so I picked up this little charmer for under $150 and it hasn’t failed me yet!

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Can you see the tape that I’ve placed on my sewing machine – there is some black with white polka dot tape I was using as the fabric edge guide for another project, and I’ve applied a strip of gold washi tape to mark out the edge guide for the seam allowance for this project.  As I used the existing fabric as the pattern I had to use the seam allowance that was used originally for the ottoman… it was easily seen from the oringal pieces so I marked that distance from needle over and put down a piece of tape… There are lines on the bed of the machine to use as a guide that are the various typical seam allowances but I find that when I add the piece of tape on there I don’t have to pay attention to which one of the little lines I should be sticking too and I just follow the tape edge… BAM… just making the sewing a little bit easier 🙂

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I began my sewing with connecting the four ottoman short sides together to create one long strip and then sewed the beginning and end of this one long strip together.  Once the sides were all connected I took the top square, lined up the notches from the top with the notches on the top edge of the side pieces and pinned the top piece into place all the way around the top square…  then sewed all around the edge of the top securing the top of the ottoman fabric to the sides in one trip around.

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To get the new reupholstery lined up on the large ottoman I folded the sides up onto the top and laid the top square on the top of the ottoman, wrong side down… ensuring that all edges and corners were lined up… once I was satisfied with the position of the new cover I pulled the sides down over the sides of the ottoman… you can do a little pulling and tugging here to get it into its final resting place. Then I flipped that bad boy over, and busted out your stapler. You can do this with a manual staple gun, but that can get a little tiring on your hands and wrists… If you have a compressor and pneumatic nailer I highly recommend using those to staple your new fabric into place.

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Now if you’ve ever stretched a canvas you’ll know this little trick to making everything nice and tight and even… when you start tacking the fabric into place on the underside of the ottoman start by pulling up and stapling the centre of opposite sides first… then staple the two other opposite sides in the middle… this helps create even tension in the fabric over the full ottoman.

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Like so!  Once the centres of each side has been pulled and stapled begin to work from the centre out to each side gently pulling and working in spaces of a few inches out from the centre before moving across to the opposite side to work that distance out from the centre on the opposite side… When you get to the corners staple down one side and then carefully fold the adjacent side edge over, rolling it under a little to keep the fabric edge just in from the ottoman edge.

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As you can see, like the original upholstery, I keep the staples close together and used a lot of staples… also in this shot you can see how I brought the side edge that was folded over in from the ottoman edge by rolling the fabric slightly under itself to keep it in from the edge of the ottoman.

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Once the fabric is secured reinstall the bottom fabric piece in the same fashion… line it up so that you are happy with the placement and begin stapling opposite sides into place starting with the centre of each side – again working the across from each other, then spin the ottoman and staple the other two opposite sides starting in the centre and working out to the corners…

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Once the bottom fabric is back into place take those finished feet and screw them back into the existing screw holes and flip it right side up.

Here is a closeup of the new feet against the canvas… I really love the washy natural vibe of the canvas and feet combined…

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…to be honest I was not entirely satisfied with the fit of my ottoman reupholstery but if you checkout the original shot of the ottoman you can see that the corners had small puckers as well… only they’re much harder to see due to the super busy pattern… so I did that thing where I walked away for awhile because I was too close to the project… I needed to have some time away from it and to come back to it with fresh eyes…  when I came downstairs the next morning I loved it from bottom to top, little puckers in the corners and all.

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Here is the big beauty in our living room!… it is large like our couch and we love the cozy vibe… it is perfect for the double duty of ottoman and coffee table in our small space. As you can see the shiplap wall is currently still a big empty shiplap wall but plans are coming together for a custom piece that we’ll be making to hang up there!

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What do you think of the ottoman reupholstery?… let me know in the comments below… if it’s not your style what sort of fabric and legs would you have chosen for the ottoman to feather your nest? If you plan to tackle your own reupholstery please come on over to the Feathering My Nest Facebook page and share some before and after shots of your project! I can’t wait to see what you’re working on! Oh!… and if you would like to receive these blog posts right to your inbox when I hit publish then pop your email address into the box on the righthand side of this page near the top and hit submit!…




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