Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire wasn't built over night and I should know, I have a bit of Turkish blood running in my veins AND I reupholstered my ottoman.

I don't know about you but high design ottomans are expensive!  And I'm designing on a quarter?  Let me explain.  From my previous posts you will know that I am working with a lof of color in my apartment and a lot of the furniture and accent pieces are white/light.  BTW, white furniture is very hard to find in your typical furniture stores like Raymour & Flanigan, Bob's Furniture, etc.  So a person like me has to be clever and patient.  Now back to the ottoman. I wanted a white ottoman, of course.  I was searching on line for images of ottomans to see what was out there and I came across the most beautiful ottoman I have ever seen. Pic below.  It is made by They have very beautiful things but they are very expensive.  I love the circle design in upholstery studs - so cool.

Isn't it a work of art in itself?  Since I couldn't afford this gorgeous piece, I thought I would just borrow some of the look and make one of my own. I knew mine wouldn't look anything near the real version but then I don't keep a picture of that one around so people don't have anything to compare mine to, usually.  I have never upholstered anything before but I've watched a lot of do it yourself shows and so I plotted.

First, instead of making an ottoman completely from scratch, I would use one already made and go from there.  I found this round medium sized ottoman at Home Goods for a very reasonable price.  It has a croc pattern which I wanted but ugly brown color!. 

Ah, to find bright white vinyl with a flat croc pattern.  Also not easy but after sending away for several samples, I found the croc I was looking for.  I found this website and ended up buying the White Croc Nuvtex Dundee vinyl.  It is bright white and has the same exact pattern as you see in the brown ottoman.  In order to create the stud design, I purchased upholstery studs in silver nickel in bulk (I bought too much, so if you neen any let me know) from ebay.  The next step was to buy foam long enough in order to surround the ottoman where the ends would touch. I found two large foam pieces from Jo-Ann Fabrics that would be long enough and wide enough and then I needed a piece that was big enough to cut the diameter of the new ottoman's top piece.  I found that online at where I had gotten other swatches.  I wish I had taken pictures along the way to illustrate.  Picture this: one long piece of foam to wrap around the ottoman making it wider and then a circle foam piece to sit on top to make the ottoman higher.  I used a scissor and a sharpie to cut the pieces to the right size after careful measurements.  The next trick was to figure out how to glue the pieces of foam to the ottoman and to each other.  I got this yucky, smelly, spray glue also from Jo-Ann Fabrics, called Fast Tack upholstery adhesive.  Lots of danger signs on this thing.  I put on clothes I didn't care about, took a plastic tarp, surgical gloves, facial masks and safety goggles, went out on my terrace and carefully spray glued the pieces together.  I never want to use this stuff again. In fact, the spray can is mostly full, so you can have it. 

The glue did the trick though.  Now the real fun begins.  How to sew the thick, really big pieces of vinyl together so that it fit this now large ottoman made out of foam.  It was a real struggle because I don't have an industrial sewing machine.  My machine did a pretty good job considering - I have a Husqvarna Viking machine - but it was such a large project and trying to get a perfect fit that was skin tight - not possible for me.  On top of the sewing being difficult, once the pieces were sewn, I had to get the "cover" over the foam.  The inside of the vinyl was coated with an almost felt like layer which stuck to the foam like crazy.  I had to just keep working the cover over and down until it finally fit.  I'm sweating just remembering it. 

Once the cover was on the ottoman, it needed to be fitted and tacked down to the wooden shell of the original ottoman.  Using scissor to cut off excess vinyl, little sharp pointed tacks and a hammer, I pulled the vinyl as taut as possible and hammered it all into place.  This cover ain't going nowhere!

Okay, design time.  In order to replicate the circle design in the upholstery studs, I measured, did the math and made a template for the circle that would go around the ottoman. I took graphpaper and a compass and drew a circle of the correct size.  Which was dependent on the size of my ottoman but could be different for someone else and depending on the look they wanted. Then I took a hole puncher and punched holes going around the very edge of the circle.  I used the same method to make a bar shape that would go in between each circle.  The holes were used to mark on the ottoman where the design would go.  Here's how I did it.  I used painter's blue tape to center the design in the middle of the ottoman by marking the top of where the circles would go. I did this all around.  Then I took my circle template, lined it up against the blue tape mark and with a pencil, marked where the hole punches were.  This gave me a circle where I would insert the upholstery studs, one by one, all around.  Then I took the bar template, lined it up and did the same.  I repeated this process until I connected the design back to the starting point.  That was a lot of pushing in studs.  But it was worth it!  Finally, here is the finished, not perfect but still awesome, product at a much better cost. (excuse the mess and the kitty)

Here is a detail view.

Please post your comments below.  I would love to know what you are all thinking of my posts and my projects.
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more creativity!

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