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How to Upholster a Round Tufted Storage Ottoman (Part 2)

In part two of this project, House One’s Jenn Largesse demonstrates how to upholster a round tufted storage ottoman, without the need to sew.

In part two of this project, House One Editor and DIY Expert Jenn Largesse shows the steps for upholstering a round tufted ottoman with storage.

See Part 1 of this project.

Upholstery 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.

Step 1: Size the Fabric

  • Cut the fabric into a manageable strip of about 16 inches—wide enough to stretch from the underside of the base up and over the top ring.
  • Roughly position the fabric on the base, aligning the end with a vertical board.

Step 2: Attach the Fabric to the Ottoman

  • Spray the first section of batting with adhesive, and then secure the end of the fabric in place against the underside of the top ring, the underside of the base, and along the outside edge of the vertical board.
  • With the end secured, flip the fabric back and spray another section with adhesive.
  • Smooth the fabric over the side, and then staple it in place on the underside of the base. Set the ottoman upright and smooth the fabric over the top ring.
  • Group and fold, or pleat, the excess fabric every few inches. I made a mark on a block to grab for reference so I keep my pleats consistently spaced about 5 inches apart.
  • Continue by spraying the next section with adhesive, stapling the underside, and pleating and securing the fabric under the top ring.

Step 3: Add a Second Piece of Fabric

  • If you need to add the second strip of fabric, place it face down against the end of the attached fabric.
  • Cut a thin strip of the wall panel to the height of the ottoman to create a straight edge. Staple it in place along the fabric’s edge.
  • Apply adhesive, add a strip of batting to smooth it out, and then fold over the fabric and complete the run.
  • To finish the final edge, repeat this process, spraying a bit of adhesive (guard the installed fabric with a piece of plastic or cardboard), folding the plastic strip into the fabric, cutting away any excess at the top, and then securing it at the top and bottom of the ottoman to hold it in place.

Step 4: Line the Inside of the Ottoman

  • To line the inside of the ottoman, first carry a mark of the location of the vertical boards out toward the center of the base so that you’ll know their location once covered.
  • Next, staple a strip of black fabric along the inside of the ring.
  • Place the remaining strip of plastic inside the ottoman and secure it to the surrounding vertical boards, trimming as needed to start and end on a vertical board.
  • Flip the black fabric over the plastic, pulling it taught toward the base.
  • Staple it to the base against the plastic.

Step 5: Attach the Footplates

  • Flip the ottoman over position the footplates evenly spaced using the original crosshairs as a guide.
  • Mark the center hole of each plate, and then drill a hole into the plywood so that the threaded rod on the foot can extend into the thickness of the plywood.
  • Screw the plates into place.

6. Line the Underside and Add the Feet

  • Place a black piece of fabric over the base and installed footplates.
  • Cut it roughly to the circular size with about an inch overhang.
  • Tuck the edges under and secure it with staples along the edge.
  • Make a slit at the location of the center hole in each footplate, and then securely screw each foot into a plate.
  • Flip the ottoman upright.

Step 7: Line the Floor of the Inside Storage

  • To create a finished-looking base for the inside of the ottoman, place the small round plywood circle on a piece of black fabric.
  • Pull the fabric around the edges and secure it with staples.
  • Cut away the excess fabric.
  • Flip the board over, and place it into the base of the ottoman to cover the exposed edges of the fabric sides.
  • Secure with hot glue, if desired.

Step 8: Create the Buttons

  • To use a DIY button-making kit, first cut small circles of fabric.
  • Place a piece of cut fabric into the holder. Place the “top” of the two-part button into the holder.
  • Wrap the fabric around the edges of the button, and then cover them with the base.
  • Using the tool provided, press the two pieces together. I recommend lightly tapping the tool with a hammer to save your fingers the stress of trying to push these pieces together.
  • Pop the button out of the holder, and then tie on a long piece of waxed upholstery thread.

Step 9: Mark the Fabric for the Lid

  • Lay the fabric for the lid facedown, and mark a vertical and horizontal line centered on the fabric.
  • Starting from the center, mark a grid with slightly larger spacing than the lid to allow the fabric and buttons to pull down into the foam. I’m using a spacing of 7 ½ inches.

Step 10: Add the Buttons onto the Lid

  • Thread the button line through the needle, push the needle down through the fabric at the center crosshair, and then down through the batting, foam, and center hole in the board.
  • Push the button down into the foam, flip the board, pull the line, and staple the line in a zigzag pattern against the board to hold it in place.
  • Continue working your way outward, flipping the fabric to locate the crosshair, and using your fingers to work the buttons down into the foam before flipping and securing the line against the underside of the lid.

Step 11: Work the Fabric into a Diamond Pattern

  • As you pull down the surrounding buttons, work the excess fabric into a fold to create the diamond pattern.
  • When you reach the edges, smooth the excess over the edge and secure it with staples on the underside, using the cleared grooves to direct the folds.
  • Once complete, cut away the excess fabric.

Step 12: Add the Cord Edge Detail

  • To add a more defined edge I’m attaching an optional piece of cord around the edge of the lid.
  • To do this, cut a 3-inch-wide strip of fabric.
  • Apply spray adhesive to the backside of the fabric.
  • Place the cord centered on the width of the fabric, and then fold the fabric in half lengthwise to secure it in place.
  • When you reach a seam, apply adhesive, fold over the rough end, lay the next strip over the fold, and continue on.
  • To attach the cord, place it along the edge of the lid.
  • Secure the cord in place with staples pushed into the fabric beside the cord as close to the edge of the lid as possible.
  • At the final seam, cut the cord to length, fold over the rough end, wrap it around the adjoining cord and fabric, and then staple it in place.

Step 13: Cover the Underside of the Lid

  • To cover the underside of the lid without adding any thickness, we’re adding the circular cutout from the thin panel from part one of this project.
  • First use hot glue to join the two cut pieces.
  • Place the circle onto the underside of the lid and trim it to fit inside the corded edging using tin snips or scissors.
  • Once sized, place the panel onto a piece of black fabric.
  • Apply hot glue along the edge, and then pull the fabric onto the glue.
  • Smooth it with a scrap wood block to avoid burning your fingers.
  • Cut away the excess fabric and then flip over the panel.
  • Apply spray adhesive to the center of the underside of the lid, and hot glue along the edges.
  • Place the panel onto the underside of the lid and smooth it into place.
  • Let dry, and then flip the lid and place it on to the ottoman’s base.

See Part 1 of this project.


  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Tape Measure
  • Miter Saw
  • Drill/Driver
  • Hand Clamps
  • Jigsaw
  • Hand Stapler
  • 3/8” Staples
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Tin Snips or Sharp Scissors
  • Needle Nose Pliers (to remove errant staples)
  • Hammer (to set stubborn staples)


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