hunted interior

How Not to Tuft a Cocktail Ottoman



This was going to be such an easy project!  We found this coffee table on the side of the road (like everything else) & I knew it would be the perfect cocktail ottoman!  


It would just require a few buttons, pulling them through, & voila! Tufting made simple!!! Um... wrong.  For all of you that think that we never have any problems with any of our projects, this one was full of them & my fingers still hurt from my attempts.  I followed all the tutorials, from all my favorite blogs & after spending 45 minutes trying to attach one single tuft (out of 16!) I almost gave in.  After I gave the hubs a little attitude {sorry babe}... we finally figured out the best way {for us} to tuft a freaking ottoman.  Phew... So here are the painful steps we took to create our tufted cocktail ottoman.  

**Insert disclaimer here: Do not follow these directions unless you are completely desperate & crazy!**

Step 1: Determine where your tufts will go.  This requires a lot of trial & error.  I marked my holes in numerous locations before coming up with my final pattern (I finally had to number my holes I made such a mess!).  Also, DO NOT use a red marker that rubs off on your fingers any time you touch it, especially when using a very neutral linen fabric.  Luckily we now know that the fabric was in fact treated for soil & stain as promised.  We used a peg board cut to the size of our table top as our base since it would be later attached to the table for more structural integrity.



Step 2: Cut your foam to size with an electric carving knife & cut out little cone shaped plugs for where your buttons will go.  This will help you achieve a deeper tuft.



Step 3: Start Tufting!  I literally almost cried during this step.  My thread kept snapping & for the life of me I could not get the tuft to stay tight or secure it in anyway.  I tried staples, I tried knots.  Finally I resorted to using dental floss (I was getting desperate!) instead of the upholstery thread I had, which worked much better & used the peg board to wrap the floss around the holes to secure it. 

Step 4: Staple... This was the easiest step.  Simply pull tight & staple generously.

Step 5: Admire!... But... How do I attach it to the table?!?  This is what happens when you are in a hurry to complete projects & don't think them all the way through.  



Step 6: Live with it for a week unattached.  It looked really good once you slid the top back into place a few times.

Step 7: IDEA!  That turned into a nightmare, that turned into a really good looking ottoman.  We took out one of the original tufts, marked on the table where to predrill our hole & then slid in a bolt with a large washer that was just a tad smaller in diameter than the button.  We then used a washer & a nut to secure it on the bottom.  Well, that tuft looked so good, we decided to take out all of our tufts & do it to all of them!!!  I will say, this got to be difficult in some places... & DO NOT by any circumstances put your drill through the fabric, batting & foam {ahem... not me!}  Once the final bolt was finally in place & we apologized to each other for getting snippy, we again reverted back to Step 5: Admire.




Step 8: Hot Glue the buttons on top of the bolts unless you are going for a very industrial look :) (Same fabric I swear!!!)



I have to admit, I almost threw in the towel on this one.  And even though we put it together completely wrong... I do love the final result.  That is what  matters in the end, right?!?


xo- K



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21 comments:

  1. This is something I would do lol - and then I would have tried to glue the whole thing somehow in a panic - thanks for sharing your " fix "
    It turned out just beautiful!!!

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  2. Tufting can be hard especially on the fingers :) This looks beautiful. It was worth the trouble!

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  3. Well all the hard work was worth it - it looks gorgeous! You guys did beautifully, I'd never guess that was a DIY! Thanks for sharing your process - I'm thinking of making an ottoman soon so this is really helpful!

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  4. The end result looks great... and the drilling looks like it would be the easiest. Your post makes me nervous to try this myself

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  5. You had me laughing and admiring all the way! It's gorgeous!

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  6. Sooo pretty!!! I'm so glad you shared what not to do since I would love to try this myself. I'm actually liking the way the bolts looked without the buttons and might try that with a different fabric. I like that yours doesn't look perfect (that's a compliment) because it looks more rustic to me.

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  7. I'm glad you persevered, the end result is beautiful!

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  8. wow, it looks SO GOOD! who would have known to use bolts!? Smart kid!

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  9. It looks great - I've not attempted tufting because I'm positive I'd do it totally wrong, or do it right and hate it and have to start over. I'm so glad you shared! It's really easy to find tutorials with all the right steps, but not many people are willing to tell you what they did wrong first! Thank you :)

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  10. I love it! I had a very similar experience with my first tufting job (a headboard). Oh the trials, but in the end, I was quite proud of all my hard work. I actually plan to re-do it as my holes were not as deep as I'd like them to be (I either need thicker batting or foam). Also, my diamonds aren't so perfect in spots. I'm not sure if it's the material (pleather), but I'm more confident in accomplishing them on the next round.

    From my experience, the 1/16 polyester drapery cord worked better than the upholstery thread. Also, the large (2" or more) upholstery needle worked better than the embroidery one.

    I like the idea of using the bolt. Was this easier than threading? How hard was it to get the bolts through the material, batting, etc.?

    I'll be curious to learn how secure the buttons are over time.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  11. I mean, the end product is pretty freakin' fabulous! I would say the end justifies the means, but then again, it's not my fingers :>) Fantastic job!

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  12. Oh my gosh, kuddos to you for hanging in there and getting this done. It looks amazing. I can totally imagine my feet up on it :)

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  13. Ah! Stuff like this happens to us too... I guess that's the life of a DIY-er. It does look COMPLETELY fabulous though, so that is definitely what counts!

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  14. Bolts! That's actually a brilliant idea, in my opinion! :) It looks great!

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  15. What a gorgeous table! Sorry you had to pull your hair out in the process!

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  16. It is so gorgeous! I just love that fabric, too. Tufting scares me -- someday I would like to try it, but I think for now I will admire from very far away. ;-)

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  17. You said you used upholstery thread, but just wanted to check if it was the thick, waxed twine specifically made for tufting or just a thick cotton/poly thread? Not sure where you shop, but in the section of JoAnn's where they sell the gimongous upholstery needles, they also have this thread. It will still break at times (like when you staple through it, not that I ever did that), but it's much stronger than regular thread.

    Also, I love the idea of bolting the peg board to the table - I'd wondered myself how you would do that. Thanks for the idea!!

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  18. Your hard works looks Beautiful and Amazing!! I have more appreciation for those that do this for a living.

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  19. Ok, I know it's over and done with now, (and maybe I'm not reading how you did it correctly) but could you not have used Liquid Nails to secure it to the table? Maybe not with the button wholes, but I do love this thing. Love ANY upholstery!

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  20. Looks beautiful! I'm about to re-upholster-tuft our headboard, and the bolts are a fantastic idea! The first time around I used bakers twine doubled up with a 4" needle to do the tufts and had no problems (other than finding the holes through the back and poking myself a couple times, ha!). This has really got me thinking - thanks so much for the inspiration!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment! I always love feedback on what my lovely readers { like you } are thinking. Feel free to ask any questions or you can always email me at thehuntedinterior@gmail.com

K