There are some movies I watch just for the decor. Pretty much anything by Norah Effron, particularly with a young Meg Ryan in it, a lot of Hallmark movies (let’s face it the plots are often the same)….I was about to go on but I think this needs its own post.
Back to today’s topic; The Holiday. In particular Kate Winslet’s and Jude Laws respective homes. Rose Cottage, the tiny home swapped for the holiday, has a quintessentially English cottage vibe and in the centre of the sitting room is this gorgeous ottoman…..
Obviously you knew that I was looking in to ottomans from the inspiring ottomans post and as I dreamed my mind turned to how I could have one.
Wow, this has been a challenge. It’s been a real trial and error process; so much so that I actually ache in my arms and back. Yet this is mainly as a result of correcting mistakes that I made on the way to getting this….
….so I thought I’d share how I went about it so you don’t make them.
Obviously I’d been on Pinterest and seen the ottomans people had made using coffee tables as a base. However there was a bit of an issue for me with that. We didn’t have a suitable table, the ones I found at brocantes and other places were comparatively expensive and none of them were big enough. So I started to think about what I could do instead.
I had some furniture legs that I’d bought on a whim at the local DIY here in France; Brico Marché. They had a screw built in, so I thought it would just be case of drilling a hole and away we go. But best laid plans and all that.
I also recycled a lot of things in this project which saved money; namely an old cot, foam mattress and the wadding from an old quilt. I often use the latter as they sometimes get a bit lumpy when they’re old and you can easily cut them up and wash them in the machine, dividing the contents into pillow cases and securing the end with an elastic bands to keep them inside.
The former I will buy if I see them in second hand places or on internet sites. I can get them for as little as 5 euros, and anyone who’s bought foam will know what a bargain that is. So, saving the planet and saving money; woohoo!
Stage 1 – Marking the wood
As I thought I had the legs for the project already I went to the same Bricomarché and bought a large piece of pine wood; 120 x 80 cms. Now, here was my first mistake. I should have bought at least 2, if not 3 straight away. The pine was as much as the MDF board (15 euros per piece) and I later found I needed more. When I returned to the store there wasn’t any, so I just bought MDF pieces and I later found that they didn’t work as well. When I screwed the legs in the material wasn’t strong enough to hold it properly.
The depth of the wood is 1.6 cms, and I needed it to be deeper so that it was more robust and looked good to. I could have happily used one at the 1.6, and another double the depth but there wasn’t that option for me. So make your decision accordingly.
I made a plan for the button hole placement and marked it on the wood. My initial workings where on paper, ensuring that I started button holes with a sufficient gap between them and the edges, and having an alternate extra button so that there would eventually be a diamond effect.
You can see that there would have been a lot of buttons in my initial plan, and I thought it would be too much. So I took this time to re-plan, marking a B for button to differentiate. I should have written in pencil initially, but there we go.
When I thought I was satisfied I even did the diamond, tufted pattern to be sure the shapes would work; then I drilled the holes. Make sure your drill bit is wide enough to give a hole that you can pass an embroidery needle through comfortably.
Stage 2 – Add the foam, and make the holes
Next thing you need to do, if necessary, is cut your foam to size. I just used a bread knife and it went in the dishwasher afterwards.
Once it’s cut to size use some heavy duty, material glue spray and stick the foam to the wood on the opposite side to the plan.
Take a skewer and poke through the holes. Then using a pair of scissors cut a square shaped hole out where the skewer is. You can score four lines coming out of the hole to form a diamond pattern when finished, to give better form for your tufting. Also score out away from the exterior holes to the sides in straight lines too. You may want to make thicker indentations than the ones here, a start of V shaped channel, I did this later and it works so much better when you add wadding.
Stage 3 – Add the wadding
This was a big error of mine. Below is the original attempt half way through – can you see how flat the whole thing is? It ended up too hard, literally a rigid, foam table (you wouldn’t think those two descriptions would go together, but believe me they do).
So add wadding over the foam. I didn’t glue mine in place, I just went onto the next step.
Stage 4 – Start middle buttons
I used green gardening wire for this – yes really! You don’t have to keep passing it through to make it strong enough, which would be tricky with all that foam, and it is strong and easy to work with. Just make sure you use a large enough embroidery needle to let the wire pass through it.
Cut about an arms length piece of garden wire, then thread it through the embroidery needle. You don’t have to keep the wire doubled up throughout. I started off with a good bit of overlap of wire so that I didn’t lose it when going through the layers the first time, then when I threaded the button I reduced the overlap so that it was tied by one length of wire.
I can’t stress this enough – start with the central button hole in the centre of the material. This was when I changed the fabric, inspired by further Pinterest searches to get me going again following on from my setbacks. At this point I discovered The Holiday ottoman again, went on eBay and ordered some velvet material.
I used a really good piece of upholstery velvet fabric – I made sure it was one used for furnishings not just for curtains and cushions. It must be heavy duty in other words. I could tell it was heavy duty as on the back it had a felted, thick texture, not just the velvet pile. I ordered a 3M piece as I knew it would have to cover the length of the board and have sufficient to encase the depth I wanted.
First put the needle through the hole, then through the wadding and, when you’re certain it’s positioned correctly, pass it through your material. Then thread your button, leaving it loose bring the needle back through the material, wadding and foams. Pull on the wire so the button nestles within the folds.
Start on your next button and continue along the middle row.
Then you start the rows above and then below the middle one. As you pull the buttons into position you can start to create the tufts by folding the material into the scored crevices to create diamonds (see image eight above).
When you have completed the middle row, and have started the rows either side then you can pull the middle row extra tight and staple on the reverse a few times to secure the central row wires in place. Continue like this alternating the rows, gradually coming out from the middle. Sometimes I tied the garden wire to its neighbour to see the shape whilst working as you can see in image seven above.
The back is going to look something like this…
Stage 5 – Add depth to the base
As you can see I then added two layers of the MDF to the one with the tufting. Only do this when you are certain your happy with how it’s going. I originally started to drill and screw them together, but I actually found it just as effective and a lot easier to nail it together with the appropriate length nails.
You’ll see how I have 4 x 120 x40 instead of 2 x 120 x 80. They didn’t have the MDF in the right size as well as running out of the pine. Grrr. So I bought double the amount and put them two fold thick and side by side.
Start by nailing one of the boards with about six to eight nails to the one with the reverse of the tufting. Keep the nails in a straight line down the middle so you don’t try and nail one board in the same position and have difficulty.
Then nail the second board to this. I used about ten nails each half to make sure. Do these in parallel lines avoiding the middle.
Stage 6 – Add legs
At this stage the images are from my second, yes second, attempt. So I’ve gone from no wadding to wadding for ascetic reasons and changed the fabric to a plush velvet.
I had put in six of the legs that I’d bought thinking “This will be nice and sturdy”. No. The MDF broke when I put the heavy ottoman on its side to work around the edges and the legs had weight on them when positioned to turn it over.
So then I turned to these legs that I found on Amazon, which almost exactly match the ones on The Holiday ottoman. You can get them in three sizes – I chose 10 cms so it wasn’t too high, but there are varying heights depending on your preference. Because it wasn’t going to be as high I only ordered four legs, I think it would have required more with additional hight to make it more stable.
The legs come with all the essentials ie screws etc. However, the key thing is this metal Plate. You mark where the holes are in the middle of the plate on the side of the leg which will be fixed to the ottoman. Then drill holes and screw the plate into the leg. Then mark the four, corner holes in the plate on the ottoman and drill and screw into the wood. See below.
The stapled material is from my second, failed leg attempt. I undid this to re-style the ottoman. Skip that, obviously, and move onto the next step.
Stage 7 – Fix the fabric
Again, use starting from the middle as your guide here. Add more wadding along the side of the ottoman, to give it a comfy look and disguise the hard structure. Then take the fabric which runs from the middle, exterior row and fold and staple underneath the ottoman base. Then go to your next exterior buttons either side of this middle one and do the same thing. You can then staple the fabric taught in between these buttons before working towards the corner, but don’t do the corners yet.
Each corner button should have a tufted line running from the button to the side and one to the top.
When all of the sides are stapled you’re going to start on the corners. Double fold corners by folding the excess fabric in one way, and it’s counterpart in and over the other prior to stapling.
Trim any excess fabric around the legs in particular and double check it’s stapled well all around the outside.
Stage 8 – Adding gold trim
Add the gold trim by stapling it to the base, making sure the braided part can fit comfortably over the edge. Leave some excess trim to be tucked under away from the ottoman’s edge. Go all around the exterior, stapling every ten centimetres and more at the corners.
When you’ve gone around once do it again, trying to staple as close to the edge of the ottoman as possible to double the piping if you want. Secure it with the ends coming into the base.
Stage 8 – Adding fabric underneath
I did this as I have spare fabric and I’d used those half width boards which caused a bit of a mess underneath. Measure out the size of fabric with additional material so that you can fold some underneath to give a tidy hem.
At the leg secure the fabric in place by folding the four flaps you’ve cut away from the opening circle underneath and staple them in place to give a smooth line around the screwed in plate of the leg. Then fold underneath the other way and staple the fabric to give a neat corner. Do this round all four corners.
Estimate where the leg needs to come out and cut a hole just bigger than the end of the leg. Then cut four lines out of this circle, as if you’re making the circle into a square. Put this over the ottoman leg. Start just below the leg on the edge, and making sure the fabric is straight, turn a hem and staple it as close as possible to the trim. Go down the length of the ottoman and then return to the leg.
Turn the ottoman the right way up, dress and admire it!
What do you think? If you have any questions or comments drop me a line below.