DIY Tufted Top Storage Ottoman with Repurposed Coffee Sacks
I ended up building my DIY Tufted Top Storage Ottoman using repurposed coffee bean bags. LOL, now it really is a “coffee table”!
Done! Finished! Completed!
You might remember that my plan was to make something like this storage ottoman from Ballard Designs.
But while driving around the southern tier of Western New York, we happened upon a wonderful old-school, we-have-everything-and-more hardware store. Among the everything they had was a stack of burlap bags. We thought they were kind of cool and, at 50 cents a piece didn’t know what we would use them for, but thought they were a bargain. I liked the stripe on them and the blue lettering… blue lettering…hey, wait a minute, my tufted ottoman cushion was blue! What if….?
I was completely excited for my revised plan! I felt so cool, edgy, original!
Only later when posting on Pinterest, I saw that I had pinned several coffee bag projects from Heather Helseth’s reNewal Home Decor…including this fab find:
So maybe I’m not so original after all, sigh. But, I was clearly inspired! And as long as I now had an inspiration project to follow, I followed it all the way home.
And here is MY finished project:
Building the box
When I originally had the plywood cut for the lid/top of my DIY Tufted Storage Ottoman (instructions for the top are here), I went for economy and had one large sheet of 4′ x 8′ x 3/4” ply cut into two 45” square pieces. I used one square for the top cushion and used the second piece for the base of the bottom storage section.
I also purchased two eight-foot lengths of 1” x 10” pine for the sides and cut it into 2 lengths of 45” and two of 43.5”. (I took off 1.5” of length from the second set to accommodate the actual width of the boards, thus each finished side would be 45” square.)
I screwed the side pieces together (running the screws through the longer lengths into the 43.5” sides) to make an open box that looked like this:
I started thinking that—at our house—one or more adult-sized people may sit on this ottoman at the same time, so I decided I wanted a little more support to the box and added an additional 1’”x 10” x 43.5” as a center support. I cut a small groove (1/2” by 2” at the top of the each side of the center support to accommodate batting, fabric, and lining):
and the box was ready to cover!
First, I wrapped the outer side of the box with batting, folded it over the bottom and top edges and secured with staples (next time I would cut away significantly more of the corner bulk).
Then, because the coffee bags have a very open weave, I covered the layer of batting with a neutral colored cotton fabric, again paying special attention to the inside corners so the layers did not bunch/bulk up.
Next, I added the coffee bags. I wanted to use the stripe along the sides of the ottoman, so I sliced the bags open and used the best arrangement of the motif and printing. Again, as these are authentic bags, the design is just printed on the rolls of jute/burlap. It doesn’t always follow the grain and definitely had printing and structural imperfections..including lots of flyaway fibers. That was okay with me, I liked the rustic imperfections.
I did weave the pulls to the other side to keep them from catching on anything else.
I found the best way to work with these bags was to place them at the center of each side, and work my way out to the corners. I folded the edges under just a little short of the corners, and stretched, joined and hand sewed the edges together at the corners (using strong upholstery thread) after all the sides were covered. I think that method gave the corners a very nice finish and, again, allowed me to control the bulk on the inside corners for a more professional look.
I have a thing for welting on furniture, and already had 10 yards of cotton cord on hand, so I added welting to the underside of the cover and base of the box. I liked how it picked up the color from the top cushion and gave it a finished look.
Adding the feet I had purchased was a little bit of a challenge, but led to a method I would use again:
Ideally, you’re supposed to attach a plate to the bottom of the piece and screw in the leg. But trying to drill through the fabric and create a hole proved problematic: the layers of fabric and batting kept wrapping themselves around the drill bit, ultimately jamming it. If you want to use this method, you could carefully trim away layers of fabric then drill all those holes (four for each plate, plus the large one if the leg has a long hangar bold as mine did.)
Instead, I lined the plate up to the inside corner of the INSIDE of the box (sort of like this)
and (using the center hangar bolt hole as a guide) just drilled just one large hole (the same width as the hangar bolt) from the inside of the box to the outside. I could feel where the large drill bit had exited the wood and only had one place where I had to trim away fabric.
Then, I fed the leg’s hangar bolt through the OUTSIDE IN, i.e, up through the hole and screwed it up through the wood AND though the leg plate without needing additional screws. The plate functioned as a giant “nut” and the plate wouldn’t turn any more because the corner had secured it in place.
THAT was my favorite hack, because I think it made the legs much more secure than they would have been with the traditional method. Winner, winner! I could have still added the small plate screws, but really, they don’t seem to be necessary.
I attached the cover with a 30” piano hinge and two safety hinges at the sides. The safety hinges are functional, but inadequate, so I plan to add a third to the center and/or may try a more heavy-duty safety hinge. No little fingers at our house, so I have time to fix that, BUT… I’d like to make it safer for any little visitors, or nosy dogs.
The finishing touch was to add pewter-finish nailheads. I thought they added a rustic touch. Plus, with the storage box being so large on my piece, it was an important addition to the sides, and I placed them a little higher for decorative effect.
I made a guide with painters’ tape and used this tool,which made things a little easier (but still required quite a bit finessing).
I used a screwdriver and hammer for the “Finessing”. A little tap here and there helped with alignment. I also added a few nails to the top corners.
I also decided, for now, NOT to add buttons to the tufted top. I think the washers and screws, though not immediately visible, add to the overall effect.
Then I stood back, and oohed and aaahed (and happy danced quickly because there is SO much Christmas dec to finish)!
I’m grateful to have this project completed! With the holidays coming, it will be nice to have a handy place to
stash everything when someone drops by store the pillows and blankets we use in the family room.
Merry Christmas to ME!
1 sheet of plywood, cut into two 45” squares
2 1” x 10” pine boards cut to 45”
3 1” x 10” pine boards cut to 43.5”.
#8 x 5/8” wood screws
3” foam (90”)
Batting (had on hand)
5 Coffee Bean Bags (used 4)
Fabric- 6 yards for cushion and welting
5.5 yards of neutral color cotton
5.5 yards of lining fabric
4 pre-finished furniture legs with attached hangar bolts
4 attachment plates
1 30-inch piano hinge