We found a couple of coffee table frames on a recent visit to a furniture outlet. They’re supposed to look like this, and we could’ve easily “fixed” them by going to the local glass store to get new shelves. However, we thought that the style was kind of boring and not very pretty. So, after seeing a gorgeous cocktail ottoman from Hickory Chair in the October issue of House Beautiful ($3,375!), we decided to make a tufted bench for our bedroom with one of them. (we have a couple of other ideas for the second one, but haven’t decided yet).
At $75 per frame, they were a bit pricey but still a good deal. All we needed to do for the bench was buy some fabric, upholstery buttons and a couple of panels of wood, and we were ready to go.
After cutting the wood panels to size, we (OK, Brent) sanded, stained (Minwax Jacobean) and sealed (Sherwin-Williams) only the one that’s going to be the bottom shelf. The second panel doesn’t need to be finished because it will be covered with fabric — but it does need six small holes drilled as place holders for the upholstery buttons that we’ll do later.
This is about the time where we pour ourselves a glass of Pinot Grigio.
Then we cut the fabric to size, leaving about 8 inches around. This will leave room for the foam and batting, and it will make the stapling process easier. We also need to cut the foam to size using an electric knife (we’re using 2-inch foam for this bench). The batting is easily cut with a good pair of scissors. We’ve cut the batting 3 inches shy of the fabric so it can hang over the foam.
Time to staple! We spray adhesive on one side of the second wood panel, place the foam on top, and then the batting with the fabric draping over both. We turn it over and start by stapling each of the four sides of the panel once to hold the fabric in place. Then we go back to each side, lightly pulling the fabric and placing a staple every half-inch. At each corner we trim the excess batting and fold the fabric into the corner as if we were doing a hospital corner — because of the thickness, we usually staple it several times to hold it in place. After all sides are done, the only thing left to do are the buttons. I get to do these.
You can buy upholstery buttons inexpensively. We’re using six, 1 1/8″ (size 45) half ball cover buttons. Assembly takes minutes (several tedious annoying minutes . . .) To attach the buttons to the foam panel, we use the holes we drilled earlier, an upholstery needle and twine.
Put the wooden shelf in the bottom of the frame, place the upholstered piece on the top, and we’re done!!
OK, fine, this is not a true “tufted” pattern, but we like the modern look that the six buttons give to this ottoman. It’s much more sleek, even with the fabric we chose, and less stuffy. Best of all, it only cost $175 and a Sunday afternoon. That’s no where near $3,375 for the ottoman that we saw in the magazine (not even $450 for the original piece being sold retail). Cheers!!
Now, time to think about that other frame we got…