Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tufted Ottoman - Button Tufting Tutorial

So recently I've been posting about fun times using my new camera...and I've kinda been slacking on the home aspect of this blog. Not that we've been slacking on working on our house- we've been doing lots of things around here lately - I've just not blogged about them. So to correct that, over the next few weeks I'll be updating you on some of the things that we've been doing around the house. 

A while back I shared the new (well, new to us) sectional we bought to replace our black couch and the problem that it created- it clashed...bad! The bright red ottoman no longer matched the brown or our ever evolving style, but I knew Mr. Wonderful would never let me replace it. It holds too much sentimental value. That ottoman is the first piece of brand-new (it's very rare that we buy something new for the house) furniture we purchased together. Because getting something new was out of the question, I decided to give it a facelift.

Please excuse the horrid pictures taken with my phone. 
This project was done before I had my nifty new camera.

I reupholstered it and added button tufting. What a difference it makes in the room. It feels like a brand new piece! I am ecstatic with the final result and it was so simple. Below are directions for doing it yourself.  

Here's what you'll need:

  • Fabric of your choice (I'm loving geometric patterns lately)
  • Staple gun
  • Measuring tape
  • Shank buttons (I bought a button covering kit so they would be the same material but any shank buttons would work)
  • Any type of sew threw buttons - these won't be visible 
  • Upholstery needle (it must be long enough to stick all the way through the piece you're adding buttons to )
  • Floral wire or upholstery thread


First, I used a staple gun to staple the fabric over what already existed. I didn't see the point in removing it. (If your fabric is thin or light colored, you may want to remove what's underneath so it doesn't show through)

Start by stapling along the center of each side making sure to pull the fabric taunt. Check to insure the fabric pattern is straight and even. Once you have it how you like it, continue stapling along the edges but stop when you get close to the corner. Don't be shy with the staples- you'll need a lot of them each edge. I place mine about an inch apart.

The corners are where it can be a little tricky. You have the option of continuing to pull everything tight and create a rounded corner without any creases, or you can fold the fabric to make a more square corner.
Normally I like the look of the rounded corners better, but I wanted to keep the square look of our ottoman so I went for the pleats. To do this, start by folding in the corner. Hold it in place with one staple. Then take the two "wings" sticking out and fold them in to create something like this. once you get it how you like it, staple everything into place. 

Now for the button tufting:

You'll need to figure out how many buttons you'll want and measure where you'll place them. Drill holes through the back where you want the buttons placed.
I knew I wanted 6 buttons- two rows with 3 buttons each, so on the underneath side I measured the length and divided it into four equal sections by drawing 3 lines. Then I measured the width and divided it into three equal sections by drawing 2 lines. This created 6 intersections. This is where the buttons will go. I drilled holes where the lines crossed.
Warning: This is the part I got most frustrated with.

You must now push the upholstery needle thorough the place on the front where you want the button to be and...
make it come out the hole you drilled in the back. I found that sticking the needle through backward helped clear a path through the foam so when I stuck it through the right way, it wasn't as difficult. I still spent a little time just stabbing away until I found the hole in the back.
Next thread a long piece of floral wire or upholstery thread through the shank button that will create the tufting. I covered my buttons so they would blend in with the fabric. Then put both ends of the wire or thread through eye of the needle. Pull the needle out the other end. You should now have your button on the front and two pieces of wire or string sticking out the back.
You will need to secure the thread using another button. It doesn't matter what these buttons look like because they will be on the underside or back. Put the wire or thread sticking out the back through 2 different holes of the button. Press the shank button on the front and gently pull the wire or thread at the same time until you have the shank as deep as you desire. Twist and knot the wire or thread to secure it.
When you're finished with all the buttons, spray a little Scotchgard for protection... and voila!

Come back soon for an update on some coordinating throw pillows, and check out Chic by Tab where I'll be partying this week.

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  1. Hi Pam! You did an amazing job recovering your ottoman, it looks great. Thank you so much for sharing your button technique, I am going to try this on my next pallet ottoman. I used screws to create the tufting before and this looks WAY easier. Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Thanks for stopping by! I'm glad you found this to be useful. I'd love to see your pallet ottoman when it's finished.