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Repurpose an Old Coffee Table to Make an Ottoman

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Picture of Repurpose an Old Coffee Table to Make an Ottoman
This project was born from the fact that I am starting from scratch in my living room, and I had no place to rest my feet.
I had a brass inlayed coffee table that my dad brought back from Africa. Yes, it’s pretty, but it is god awful to rest your feet on plus... it started to turn into a shelf that was collecting strange and random items. (I hate clutter)

I saw some on line projects to make an ottoman, but all the projects would have destroyed the table top. and since it is pretty.... I wanted to option of keeping the top and not drilling holes in the table top. If you don't care about the table.... this project would be a lot simpler if you drill the holes in the table top :)

The expensive part of this project was the foam. I'm very limited on where I can shop for things like that so it cost me $45.

Things you will need:

1. A coffee table.
2. Foam for the top. I used 3in.
3. Foam for the side. I used 1in. (if there is a lip)
4. An electric carving knife.
5. Enough upholstery batting and whatever fabric you like to wrap around and under the table. My table used about 1.5 yards. (keep in mind you’ll be adding an extra 3 to 4in to the top of the table).
6. An upholstery needle.
7. Buttons for tufting. I got the “make your own fabric covered buttons” for the top and I got small buttons to tether to the bottom. The amount will depend on the size of your table-I used 6.
8. A staple gun.
9. 15 lb monofilament (fishing line) *note: I tried 5 lb… it snapped.
10. Water soluble craft glue.
11. Foam glue
12. A piece of thin partial/press board, cut to just under the size of the top of the table.
13. A drill.
 
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Step 1: Step 1: Measure twice, cut once

Picture of Step 1: Measure twice, cut once
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Cut the thin board to just under the size of the table.
Example: my table was 17 1/2 x 32 1/4. So I had the nice man at Home Depot cut it to 17 x 32.

*I used the type of wood you use for the back of an entertainment unit.

Then cut the foam you will use for the top with the electric carving knife (I got my knife at Salvation Army for $4).
You want this to be the size of the table or even a tad bigger.

Next cut the foam for under the lip (if your table has one)

On the topper foam and the wood I marked the places where I want the buttons to go.
Then drill pretty good sized holes in the wood. If you can.. It would be best if you could drill holes in the foam too. I, however, do not know how to do that. *side note: make sure that the buttons u use to tether down the fabric buttons are bigger than the holes you drill. PLUS: the bigger the hole… the easier it is to thread back through.

I then laid the foam on the floor, with the wood on top then the table (upside-down). Then I measured the fabric and Batting so I could wrap it under the table, then cut off the excess.

Step 2: Step 2: Glue. Only a little dab will do ya.

Picture of Step 2: Glue. Only a little dab will do ya.
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Use the foam glue to attach the foam to the board. You don’t need much.
Because I may want to take this foam off…. I only use bare minimum of the water based craft glue to fix the 1 in foam to the side. Just enough so it would stay while I wrapped with the fabric.

Step 3: Tufting isn't for everybody...

Picture of Tufting isn't for everybody...
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Unfortunately... I did not photograph this step as I should have. Sorry.
So I will try to explain it as best I can.
*This is the part that would have been WAY easier is you forget the thin board and drilled holes in the table.

Once the foam and the board glue is dry, I laid the batting and fabric over it (center!)

Then I carefully put it right side up and laid it on the arms of a chair. (important if you are going to be running a needle through it).

Next, I made the fabric buttons. The fabric I used was upholstery fabric, so it was too thick to make the buttons. I had to dig in my old t-shirt drawer to find one with the right color that would match. (I do have a pic for that)

Now, to put the buttons on: Thread the upholstery needle with the fishing line and go up the way (meaning- go through the hole in the board, then the foam and then through the fabric). Don't pull all the way through!
Once you get it through, add a button, and then go back down the way (meaning- go back the way you came). This is why the large holes in the board are soooo important!

Once you get all the buttons threaded on, flip the foam and board, fabric side down, so you are now looking at the board and all the fishing line sticking out.

Next you thread the other buttons you have onto the fishing line and pull tight. You want to make sure you get that “cozy dimple” look on the top side. Once I tied them all, I put a blob of glue on the buttons for good measure. (There is a pic of that!)

Step 4: Wrap it up!

Picture of Wrap it up!
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Now, leave the topper fabric side down.

I had some 1 in foam left and laid it on the buttons. If you're trying to save the table top, you can probably use an old towel.
Then lay the table, top side down, on top of the cushioning of your choice that is on the wood board.

Now get the staple gun out and wrap the table with the fabric like a present  :)
Do not staple sparingly! I went to town with the staples on the bottom of the table.

Then DONE!
I was able to start and compleat this in one evening!
guidess 10 months ago
This is perfect. I have wanted to have a combination ottoman /table like this but haven't wanted to permanently sacrifice my coffee table. I'm kind of hitting myself in the forehead for not thinking to do it like this, but I'm awfully glad you did! Thanks for the super clear instructions and personal tips on the button - tufting. I LOVE that it is sturdy enough to be permanent, but flexible enough to be completely reversible. Great 'ible!