How To Make a No Sew Ottoman, Part 2

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This post is Part 2 of How To Make a No-Sew Ottoman.  If you did not see Part 1- How to make the base you can find it here –

How To Make a No-Sew Ottoman Part 1.

Once you have made the ottoman base, it is time for the pretty part- adding the style and color. I took the design of my ottoman from this inspiration photo.  I love the spacing of the pleats and the nail head trim.  If you have a sewing machine – you could make the covered cording on the top. For the n0-sew version – there is no cord and we will be stapling and using fabric adhesive.


Since I always try to find the thrifty way to complete my Decorating projects and didn’t want to spend $$$ on fabric, I went shopping in my friend Karen’s attic. Every one needs a resource like Karen – Thanks Karen xo.  She has a professional workroom in her home where she makes all sorts of home decorator treatments for hundreds of clients. She has been in business for years and has quite a stockpile of fabric.  I found a fabric that I liked the reverse side better than the print side. Not the first time I have used the reverse side of fabric. I love the texture of the fabric – it has a burlap weave, but is soft and smooth. You can faintly see the right side print in certain areas – but I am happy with it so I went to work.

DIY Ottoman After

No Sew Ottoman

How to Cover a DIY Made Ottoman

supplies needed:

  • Fabric – If you want the skirt to be one long piece you will need 5 yards of fabric. If you don’t mind piecing and matching you can get less –  3 yards.  I used 55-inch wide fabric and had plenty left over as you only need a 36-inch square of fabric for the top.
  • 24-inch square of 3-inch thick Foam
  • 1 yard Batting
  • Craft Fusible Interfacing – I used Pellon 808 Craft Fuse. It is very stiff and will make your pleats stand up and fan out when tacked on the ottoman.
  • Heat n bond Ultra hold iron-on adhesive or if you prefer Fabric – tac is a liquid adhesive.
  • Carriage Bolt – at least 6-inches long
  • 2 washers
  • Wing nut to fit on carriage bolt
  • OJ can top
  • Drill and bit same size as Carriage bolt
  • Staple Gun and 5/16 -inch staples
  • Wire – any type – I used florist’s wire
  • Yard Stick
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Straight Pins
  • Decorative Tacks
  • Hammer
  • Iron
  • Seamstress measuring gauge


How to Tuft Top of Ottoman

1.  Cut a circle from fabric and batting about 2 times larger than the OJ can top.

2. Drill or punch a hole with an awl into center of OJ can top.  Thread washer, OJ can top, and then second washer on carriage bolt as shown.


3.  Place them on the center of the circle of fabric and batting.


4.  Gather fabric over OJ can top and wrap around the bolt. Pull the fabric and batting tightly and wrap wire around the fabric to secure.  I cut a long piece of wire and placed the center of the wire against the bolt and then wrapped the wire ends around and around to each side to secure.


5.  Trim ends of wire and excess fabric.


6.  Drill a hole in the center of table top on ottoman base.


7.  Make a hole with scissors in the center of foam. Just push the tips through the center.  Do the same on the batting and fabric.


8.  Layer the batting and fabric over the foam and then place the end of the bolt into the hole on the center of the fabric, batting, and foam.


9.    Compress foam with hands until end of carriage bolt sticks out on the bottom of the foam.


9.  Put end of carriage bolt through hole in top of ottoman base and then flip the base upside down.  Having someone hold the foam while you flip will make it easier.  Once the carriage bolt is sticking up on the underside of base – thread the wing nut on and tighten.  Compress foam to create a more tufted look. I keep turning the base over to see what the OJ can button looks like.


10. Flip the base over.


11.  Smooth the fabric with your hands – pressing out to all sides.  Start on one side of the ottoman and using a staple gun and pulling fabric taut.  Apply one staple on the underside of the wood table top. Repeat this directly across from this staple and then one on the other two sides – like north, south, east, and west.


12. Then add one staple to each corner, making sure to pull the fabric taut before stapling. You may have to staple the fabric to the base on the corners depending on how much the table top overhangs in each corner.   Step back to see if fabric is straight on the top. If it is then proceed to staple the rest of the fabric to the underside of top.  I found if I started from the center of each side and worked to the right corner , then the left I got a much smoother look. The corners are where you will have to hand pleat the fabric  and then staple.  Remember to pull the fabric tight, before you place a staple.  Keep looking at the top to make sure the foam edge is even – you want to keep the tautness of the fabric the same all around.  Use point nose pliers to remove a staple if you have to re-do an area.


13. I also found once I got the fabric pretty much on, I flipped the ottoman and put one foot into the ottoman to compress the foam a bit, so I could gather more fabric to staple on the underside to get a more taut and even look.

no sew Ottoman-upside-down-and-sta

14.  Lots of stapling – just keep pulling fabric and stapling until you are happy with how the side of the top looks.


15.  This is what it will look like. You can trim the fabric underneath, but I left it to help fan out the pleated skirt.


no sew ottoman-outside-and-top-com

How to Make and Attach Fabric Skirt to the Ottoman

This is the no-sew part. If you are a sewer you just need to make a hem on the top and bottom of the skirt piece which is 5 yards long.

1.  Measure the height of your ottoman using a yardstick from the floor to the top edge of the table top.  Angle the yardstick out to resemble how the pleats will fan out. Add 2-inches to this measurement. My measurement was 15 –inches. (Since I used the reverse side of my fabric – I used the finished selvage edge and didn’t need to make  a hem on this side.   I used a T-square yardstick to measure 15-inches and marked it with a pencil. I did this along the 5 yards of fabric and then connected all my marks and drew a pencil line.


2.  Cut fabric on line with scissors. I love my electric scissors – they make cutting FAST.

no sew ottoman tutorial

3. To make a no-sew hem:

1. Fold over raw edge 1/2 – inch and press.

2. Fold over again 1/2 –inch and press.

3. Place Heat n’ Bond paper side up under second fold.

4.  Using a hot iron – press over the paper. Let cool.

5.  Once cooled remove paper from adhesive.

6. Fold edge over and press again until fabric is bonded. Let cool.

7.  You have a finished edge.


4.  The skirt fabric needs to be stiff so the pleats keep their shape and fan out.  The skirt would end up looking droopy without the stiffness. You don’t want wimpy.   Piece the iron on craft interfacing to the back side of the fabric  – don’t have to cover the hems.  The shiny side of the interfacing goes down and you use a steam iron to adhere.



How to Make Pleats in Ottoman Skirt

1.  I created  2- 3/4” box pleats and used one of those little sewing gauges to make sure I kept the size of each pleat the same.  I placed my ironing board in my family room, put a movie on the TV and started pleated. It took me about 2 hours.  It is not hard – just a bit time consuming.  You can see at the bottom of the pleat how the fabric looks underneath.


2.  As I made each pleat I pinned it in place.  Each side of the underside of the pleat is 1-1/4-inches.  I measured and then pinned and then formed the pleat with my hand and then pressed with a hot iron.



3. This is how it will start to look.  Make sure to keep about 3 inches of unpleated fabric at the start and then again at the end so you have some extra fabric to match the ends up when you tack it onto the edge of the ottoman.


4.  It will end up looking like this.  See how the interfacing makes the fabric stand up on its own. Using decorative tacks and a hammer, attach skirt to the edge of the table top. Feel with your finger where the top of the edge is and line up the top edge of the skirt. This will help you keep the skirt and the tack placement straight.


DIY Ottoman Completed

My no sew ottoman came out even better than I envisioned.   The no-sew way means lots of ironing board time, but it was worth it – I love my new ottoman.

no sew ottoman

No Sew Ottoman

No Sew Ottoman

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  1. This is beautiful Diane! I love a no sew project, especially because I don’t have my sewing machine anymore! The fabric is gorgeous too!

  2. I love the ottoman. Can you make me one? LOL I am a single mom and don’t due drills very well. Love it and need one for my dressing table. You are truly talented and amazing. Kel

  3. I recently found your site & really like your ideas , you are so creative , just please do them by less cost & materials …

  4. Thanks so much for the inspiration! I am currently sitting with my feet propped up on my new ottoman :) I did some sewing on mine, but all your steps in the tutorial gave me courage and an idea of how to adapt what I truly wanted. Thanks you again.

  5. Found you on Pinterest and love your idlers and clear instruction. A BIG thank you!

  6. beautiful diane! saw this on pinterest. Is there a magic formula to know how much fabric to use on an ottoman I already have? :)

    love the no-sew!


    1. Hi Gail-

      Thanks – the best way to figure out the yardage needed: For the top – measure the top and the depth of the top cushion. Add a few inches all around to make sure you have enough fabric to staple under the cushion to the base of the ottoman. For the base. Measure the circumference of the base and then depending on how many pleats you want to create – double or almost triple the circumference. Depending on how tall your ottoman is and the width of your fabric you may be able to cut two pieces from each yard since the height is only about 14 inches tall. Remember to extra add for hems. 3 yards of decorator fabric 55″ wide -should do it. I hope this helps.

  7. Diane,

    I love this. I saw it on Pinterest and now I’m repinning it! You are such an inspiration.

    Have a blessed and wonderful day!

    1. Hi Karianne –

      Thanks so much. I keep moving the ottoman between my bedroom and studioffice. I can’t decide where I like it best. Enjoy your weekend

  8. This is great!! I have been thinking about ‘making’ one…[emphasis on ‘thinking’] You made it look very easy. What I really need, is to turn this into a storage ottoman. I think I can see the possiblities with this tutorial, but if you have suggestions, please let me know.
    Very Grateful! – Elva

    1. Hi Elva – the skirt is what will make it hard to make the ottoman into one for storage. You could simply add a bottom to the box and hinge the top on, but the skirt around the ottoman would go up every time you open it. It would get it the way. To make the ottoman into one for storage – it would have to be a square box with a square top that is the same size as the box or just a few inches bigger so that there is a slight overhang all around. You could add the top batting and fabric to the square top and staple the excess fabric under the top which will become the inside of the lid. Cover inside lid with fabric or ribbon to hide the staples. Attach the square top/lid using two hinges or one long piano hinge. For the skirt – staple the top edge of the skirt to the top edge of the box. Cover staples with decorative tacks or ribbon.

  9. Diane,
    I love this idea! I have a question. When you used the 3 inch foam, how much height did you lose after stapling the fabric on tightly? I am attempting this project and am trying to match it with another piece of furniture. I’m wondering how much of a change I should expect.

    Thanks for your help and great ideas!

    1. Hi Emily –

      Your don’t lose that much on the top – hardly any. Where you do lose some is all along the edges. About an inch or two depending on how taut you pull the fabric. Also very dense foam will give less than a foam that is less dense. The first time I covered the ottoman I used less dense foam and it did sink down after I put the fabric on. This time I got a higher quality of foam and it stayed pretty much to the same height after the fabric was stapled on. I hope this helps you out. I hope it turns out beautifully.

  10. Diane,

    I’ve started my ottoman . . . have a very handy friend who made the base for me. I’m a little confused on the size of the circle and the foam. We made the circle 28″ in diameter which is what I thought the directions specified, but then I’m not sure how a 24″ square foam will cover it? Any help you can give will be great! . . .So close to being done!

    1. Hi Lisa Just sent you an e-mail. I did change the size in the first post to match up with Part 2. Thanks again for telling me about the size difference.

  11. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I just finished my ottoman. I love it and love your blog, too. Thanks again.

    1. Hi Jane – thanks for the note XO If you took a photo of it, I would love to see it. I am putting together a page on my blog to show projects that readers have done.

  12. I love the cream ottomoan you did, as well as the instructions for making one. I have been looking everywhere for one recently! Just wondering, do you have a tutorial for making a cover like the brown one? I think you said you were ready for a change, but didn’t know if that meant you had also done the brown animal print. thanks so much! I really like the tight look with the piping around the top!

    1. Thanks Blair – the brown one was one from my inspiration file. It would require sewing to make the covered cord. I do not have a tutorial on that, but if you do a Google search for how to cover cord, I am sure you would find a good one. I have sewn cord, it is not hard, but attaching it gets tricky.I am a straight line sewer only :).

  13. thanks for sharing these great diys…..i’m going to try a couple of these things….do you mind if i pin this? thanks!!!

  14. How happy I am to find your blog and this post ….. ottoman redo. I have a stool that I started and need’s a skirt (to hide it’s l950’s legs). Now, I have the inspiration to get ‘er done. Love your blog.

  15. I love this!!! Such an awesome tutorial. I found you on a Mod Podge website. (wink) I have been looking around and am really excited to see other things you come up with! Thanks for sharing!

  16. love it, i also do lot of things like this .we share same temprament and ideas
    looking forward for more

  17. wow! I have been searching high and low for an ottoman for my living room. I keep seeing beautiful ones that are $400+ and it just isn’t in my budget. This one look just as nice as most of them AND I could completely control my fabric and size.
    I am hoping I can get a friend to help me build the base. I think I will do wider pleats (like the green one in your first post) and a square base instead of round but this tutorial is amazing. I am just starting to DIY things for my new home and I can’t thank you enough for this!

    1. Hi Mary-

      You are welcome. It is great that you are having a friend help you with the base. A friend with a little muscle or just to give you an extra hand is the best kind of friend any DIYer could ever ask for. The wider pleats will be much quicker then the smaller ones, too. Remember to keep extra fabric at each end so at the corner of the ottoman where they meet there will be plenty of fabric to play with so it looks seamless. Best of luck with it. Welcome to the wonderful world of DIY decorating.

    1. Hi Amy-
      Thanks I wasn’t sure about using the wrong side of the fabric, but I am so glad that I did as I like the way it turned out and it cost me nothing – which always is a positive thing when you do any DIY project. :)

  18. This is fabulous. I predict that copies of this will start popping up all over the blogoshere. The look is so custom.

  19. Hi, Thank you so much for sharing this great tutorial with us! It is so nice and detailed, easy to understand. Beautiful job!

  20. Diane, that is absolutely stunning!! So pretty, I admire your patience with doing something like this. It doesn’t look easy. Great job & great tutorial. I’m so behind in reading blogs and just can’t keep up these days with all that is going on around me. Glad I saw this one!

  21. This still just makes my JAW DROP! Gorgeous! Looks like its right outta Ballard Designs! BEAUTIFUL! Im a new Follower!!

    Thank you for linking this up to Whassup Wednesday! Hope to see you this week at my

    I would LOVE to have you as a Follower :)

  22. Thank you for the great no-sew ideas! My motto is “why sew when glue will do?” I’ll be back!

  23. absolutely stunning!!! LOVE this! :) Heat N Bond is a favorite of mine too! I have a sewing machine, but it is nice to use it as a time saver for these kinds of projects, isn’t it? This is just wonderful. thanks for the detailed tutorial and for sharing this at Transformations and Treasures!

    1. Hi Denise-

      I think Heat N Bond is the best. I have used it for so many projects -even the big sheets and Vinyl Heat N Bond works great and can be used in so many creative ways.

  24. Oh my, oh my! I have finally found what to do with my cheap-o ottoman that I found at a flea market! What a wonderful and informative post! You have won me over for sure! Can’t wait to see what else you have up your sleeve!

  25. Diane wow amazing, and a very custom look! I love the way your ottoman turned out!!

    Something luscious for your face..

    Come and enter..

    Art by Karena

  26. Diane,
    YOur ottoman looks very expensive and upscale. It is just gorgeous! And with your instructions, I think I just might be able to make one too. Wonderful post. I have a place that could use this beautiful ottoman.
    LOVE the nail heads too!

  27. Wow! This is amazing! It is so beautiful!!!!!! I’m in love and I can’t believe how easy you make it look. Great tutorial. I will be featuring this tonight at Grab my “featured” button.

  28. WHAT A GREAT tutorial!! I think i’ll be doing this to cover an ottoman I have in my house!! THANK YOU for taking the time to post pictures and have clear instructions!

  29. This is increadible! I love the fact that you didn’t sew. Mine was a complete failure when I tried to sew it, this I think I could do. Thank you for sharing with us and linking up!
    Take care

  30. WOW, love it, this is a great tutorial! New sew, always gets my attention. Thanks for passing this along, it fits perfect with that desk!

  31. Your ottoman looks great. Never would have guessed it was no sew. You’re very patient to have done the pleats! Dropping by from Met Monday. When you have a few minutes, I hope you’ll come see the French chairs I had recovered.


  32. A very clear and well planned tutorial. Looking at the finished product I would never have guessed what the base looked like. Great photos.
    – Joy

    1. Hi Joy-

      I remember when I first got the idea to make the ottoman. It was after a trip to Ethan Allen and I turned an ottoman over to see the underside. I thought it would have been more complex, but all I remember thinking was – they want $425 for this, I could make it for a whole lot less. The base is about 19 years old now.
      My best- Diane

  33. I can’t believe you did all this with NO sewing! Amazing. I love the pleats and the nailhead trim. You did a fabulous job!

  34. Diane, I love it. Don’t know if I have the patience to try it. Tedious work gets under my skin for some reason. That fabric is really nice.