Tufting Map for DIY Storage Ottoman

I’m excited to finally begin my deep-tufted oversized storage ottoman! I feel like I’ve done my homework and am ready to take on the challenge.

I won’t start off with a supply list (but, if this is successful, I promise I’ll end with one). The first thing I want to tackle is what I think will be the most complex part of the project…the top.

I’ll be using 3” foam, and although I intended for this ottoman to be 48” square, the size of the foam is 3” x 24” x 90”. ($60 doorbuster for the entire piece as I write this…an excellent price). I could piece it, but my frugal side is not interested in buying more so this will determine my ottoman’s working width of 45” wide (90 divided by 2).

It was of course my luck that I had to visit FOUR different lumber suppliers to find one with a working saw, but finally I had a 3/4 inch sheet of ply cut into two 45” square pieces.

Now I had some math to do, which is NOT (not not) my specialty.

I do words, I married math.

First, I considered a couple of tufting guidelines:

You can tuft in squares, as was done with this inspiration ottoman from Ballard Designs,

DIY Deep-tufted Storage Ottoman gold ottoman but I wanted traditional diamonds, which are optimally taller than wide (or vice versa, depending on preference…think photo sizes like 8 x 10, 4 x 6, 5×7…) There’s no magic number or formula that I found, but a ball park proportion that ends up being determined by the size of your piece. How close/small depends also on skill and preference.

Upholstery purists are not fans of a button placed at the exact center, instead the center should be the center of a diamond.

Math step one was to determine the size of the outer border (where the tufting stops)…I randomly chose 4 inches. Multiply that times 2 (a border on each side) and subtract from the total area 45 – 8 = 37…that would be the tufted area.

BUT, did I say I wasn’t a fan of math?
37 is not an easily divisible number without getting into odd fractions. Um, no thank you! I decided to make my border 4.5 inches (again, x 2), and now my tufted area was 36” …much better.

I’m a visual person, so this is where I had to start mapping it out on paper (and where my spouse would begin rolling his eyes directly to the back of his head).  Kindly note, another blogger’s tutorial suggested she just knew the size of the diamonds she wanted and mapped them out. That may be easier…I didn’t know if I could pick the right measurement arbitrarily and have it fit my 45” square… so the following was MY process. Go ahead and snigger, cruel mathletes, but this is how it I planned things out:

I started by drawing a box and added my border, then bisected the entire thing…remembering the center is NOT a button.

Now I just began to play with numbers (I have rarely used play and numbers in the same sentence).  I started with easy, as in “what can I easily divide into 36?” and my first answers were 3, 4, 6, 9. So, I tried plotting lines at nine-inch intervals…

That looked like a nice width to me…four diamonds across…but what about height? I looked at all the other numbers available to me, and asked myself what other number with nine would give me that nice proportional rectangle and I decided to try 6.


So, I added lines horizontally at 6 inch intervals…and that didn’t look at all right. I started to see the horizontal lines as three rows of diamonds…but that meant the vertical ones gave me two…which didn’t seem like enough.  I printed out my sheet and started to doodle, bisecting the 9” lines at 4.5”…which gave me this…
ddotto4Now, I don’t know if it was beginner’s luck, or if I accidentally used math correctly, but now I could start to visualize nice proportional diamonds forming in that grid…


so I went with it, and came up with this:


DIY tufted ottoman instructions map

And that was my tufting map!

Perhaps this is an indicator of some math voodoo trick, but there are, ironically, 36 tufting points—recalling that my tufting area is 36” wide—coincidence?

Mathletes, if you have an explanation or a simpler process, kindly share in the comments section…I’ll delete anything mean like suggesting I retitle the blog “DustandDoghairandDumb” but do very much welcome constructive criticism! 🙂

And kids, pay attention in Math class!!!!