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How to Make a No-Sew Round Tufted Storage Ottoman (Part 1)

House One’s Jenn Largesse demonstrates how to build a round tufted ottoman without having to sew. In part one of this project, Jenn builds the frame of the ottoman, secures the foam, and wraps all of the pieces in batting. 

At first glance, making a round tufted ottoman can seem like a complicated project, but with a simple frame and a staple gun, this elegant piece of furniture comes together easier than you might think.

See part two of this project.

Framing steps:

Follow these steps and scroll to the bottom of the page for the full cut list, materials and tools needed to complete this project.

Round tufted ottoman drawing

Step 1: Layout the Plywood Cuts

  • Using the drawing, mark grid on a sheet of 1/2-inch plywood.
  • Next mark the three circles. To draw a perfect circle, drill two holes spaced 15 inches apart through a scrap board.
  • Drive a nail through one hole. Insert a pencil in the opposite hole.
  • Pivot the board in a circle around the nail to create the outline.
  • Repeat this process to draw three circles with a 15-inch radius that will create the base, top ring, and lid of the ottoman.
  • Inside one of the circles, mark an inner ring with a radius of 12 inches and another smaller inset at 11 ¾-inches.

Step 2: Cut the Circles with a Jigsaw

Round tufted ottoman drawing
  • Using a jigsaw cut the outlines apart.
  • Drill a hole through the center of each circle.
  • Stack the pieces together, aligning the bottom edge of the pieces, the crosshairs of the circles, and the center hole.
  • Insert a screw through the center hole in all three pieces. Tighten the screw, and then hold the stack from spinning with several hand clamps.
  • Cut all three circles. Make a registration mark on the edge of the circles to note where they best align.
  • Finish by cutting the inside of the ring and trimming the smaller circle that will be used as the floor of the inner storage area.

Step 3: Attach the Vertical Boards

  • Along the outside edge of the top ring and base mark roughly equal sections of about 7 ¾ inches to help position the 12 boards that will run vertically between them.
  • Now cut the 2x3 boards into twelve 11 ½-inch-long pieces.
  • Apply glue to one end of each board, and then screw through the top ring and into each board with two 1½-inch deck screws to secure it in place.
  • Repeat this process until all of the boards are attached to the top ring.
  • Flip the assembly over and position the circular base onto the boards with its registration marks facing upward.
  • Repeat to attach the boards to the base.

Step 4: Add the Panel

  • To sturdy the rounded sides I want to cover the vertical boards with something rigid, but it has to be flexible enough to bend around circular shape. While there were a few options at the craft store, I found an inexpensive wall panel at the home center that will work great.
  • To prep the panel, mark off two 11 ½-inch wide strips to cover the inside and outside of the ottoman. I’m using tin snips because they’re a little easier on my hands, but scissors could work too.
  • While set up to cut the panel, trace one of the large circles onto the panel, and cut it out as well. If you don’t have enough leftover to make a full circle, cut two pieces that will overlap by an inch or so, and set them aside for later.
  • Now using hot glue and staples, attach a strip along the outside of the ottoman, starting and ending on a vertical board.

Step 5: Wrap the Ottoman in Batting

  • Cut a strip of batting to 16 inches. Wrap the batting around the ottoman, stapling it to the underside of the plywood base, and then pulling it up and over the top ring.
  • Staple the batting to the underside of the top ring and to the edge of the vertical boards to hold it in place.

Step 6: Mark the Lid

  • Mark a grid of horizontal and vertical lines spaced 4 inches apart starting from the centerlines and working outward.
  • Starting from the center, mark every other crosshair as the location of a tufted button.

Step 7: Size the Foam

  • To save money on foam for the top of the ottoman, I’m adhering and layering inexpensive 1-inch thick pieces of foam to create a 3-inch thick cushion. I linked a 3-inch piece in the materials list below that can also be trimmed and glued to a final size 30” x 30”.
  • Once dry, trace the outline of the lid onto the foam, and cut the shape using a serrated knife. If you have an electric carving knife, I’ve heard this works much better, but a kitchen knife was all I had on hand.

Step 8: Drill Holes in the Lid and Foam

  • On the lid, drill holes at the location of each button.
  • Place the lid onto the foam and use a nail to poke through the board and into the foam to transfer the marks. (I’ve also seen upholsterers spray paint into the holes to mark their location, but this could get messy.)
  • Using a drill/driver fitted with a 1-inch hole saw attachment, drill through the foam to create a space for the button to more easily sink into the foam.
  • To help the hole saw cut without binding on the foam, spray it with a lubricant. All I had was cooking spray, but it worked fine and was a game changer to help the bit cut more smoothly through the foam.

Step 9: Layer the Plywood Lid, Foam and Batting

  • As a last step of prep before the batting, use the serrated knife to cut slits from the outside buttons to the edge of the foam to later help direct the fold as you wrap the fabric.
  • Now spray the board with adhesive and set the foam in place, making sure to keep the holes in the foam aligned with the holes in the board.
  • Coat the foam with spray adhesive.
  • Place the batting over the foam, working it into the holes to prep the diamond pattern.
  • Flip the lid over and secure the batting with staples. Cut away any excess.

See Part 2 of this project.


Tools

Materials

Cut List

  • 2x3 – 12 @ 11 ½”
  • ½” Plywood Lid and Base – 2 @ Cut to Circle with 15” Radius
  • ½” Plywood Top Ring – 1 @ Cut to Ring with 15” outer and 12” inner Radius
  • ½” Plywood Inside Base – 1 @ Trim Circle with 11¾” Radius