Sunday, September 18, 2016

DIY upholstery rescue: biscuit tufted ottoman transformation

So sometimes I just get this bug... the urge to pick up one of those wayward projects and get it done. This was one of those weekends! It all started few months ago (yeah, I said months), I was up at the Elephant's trunk flea market in CT. It was not the best day, and as I was preparing to leave almost empty-handed I saw this sad little foot rest. When I asked about it, the seller said she had tried (unsuccessfully) to re-upholster it, but was ready to see it go to a better home. Being a sucker for sad furniture, I happily took it home with me dreaming of the beautiful accent piece it would one day become... And that day is today!

OK, let's jump in!
Fortunately for me, taking off the old upholstery was cake since it was barely held in by a few loose staples. with the cover off, and staples out, I could see something wasn't quite right. The 4 inch foam was sitting inside the frame because the previous owner had screwed a piece of wood to the under-side. I'm not sure what the thought process was here, but this was the first thing to fix!

The foam was new, and in great shape... so good news there, it's just that it was about 2 inches short. So I went ahead and covered it in 1 inch foam to beef it up. I also knew I wanted to tuft this piece (I'm addicted to biscuit tufting these days), so I also went ahead and drilled holes in prep for that! 

Next up: tufting time!
I'll need some custom fabric covered buttons: 9 of them... and about 8 yards of piping trim. Easy work, and then on to the serious business. I used a knitting needle to pierce the foam, to create pilot holes. Then I scored the foam to help create those adorable biscuits. If you're not already familiar, biscuit tufting is what you call those cute little square tufts. There are other more traditional types (like diamond tufting), but right now I'm partial to the biscuits! Anyway, the upholstery is ready to go! One layer of batting keeps everything fluffy, one layer of muslin keeps everything smooth, and the finishing touch is the off white burlap! Using a strong cord, thread an upholstery needle up through the bottom of the foam, through all fabric layers, threading one button, and passing back down through the same pilot hole in the foam. Repeat this for each of the nine holes, making sure the cord is long enough to hang out the back of the foam.
Grand finale: assemble the pieces!
With the frame painted (this took a good sanding, and 3 coats of a matte spray paint), it's ready to be completed. Place the foam on top of the frame, dropping the cords through the holes drilled earlier. Pull cords through the frame tightly, and secure in place to create the tufts. This takes some experience to get all the tufts even! Now we can tack down the fabric, and trim the excess off. With clean edges, piping is added along the cut edge, right on top. I'm using some hot glue to hold it in place, and coming back with small tacks to secure the trim, as well as add that modern farmhouse vibe. Final step, distress the paint finish and enjoy!

OK, that's all for now; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ for more on my DIY projects through the summer! If you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here, on twitter, or on my boards, check out my etsy shop!

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