Tufted Zebra Ottoman

***WARNING!! This post is a little long!*** :)


Hey friends! Thank you so much…SOO much…for all of your votes in the One Crafty Contest! I know I kept asking you to vote, week after week, and I really appreciated your encouragement and cheering me on.


I’m sad to say I did not make it to Round Four. I had some tough competition! But I am so grateful to have had the chance to participate. I got a few fun projects checked off my To Do list (check them out HERE and HERE), including Round Three’s submission: The Tufted Zebra Ottoman.


We’ve had the ottoman that’s in our family room for about 10 years now. I rescued it from the curb on abnormal trash day, took off the dog-chewed and fugly old fabric, and revived it with a soft velvety/suede, taupe-colored remnant.


Here’s a picture I found on Craigslist that looks the most similar to the fabric that was on the ottoman when I rescued it from the curb:


And once I reupholstered it:


This ottoman is so squishy and bouncy. My boys absolutely love bouncing their brains out on it, and I’m totally fine with it since it was free to begin with. But it was seriously starting to look sad. There were a few holes, one too many spills, and it was just plain tired looking.


Round Three’s theme was fabric, and I knew immediately that I would be recovering the ottoman. I’d done it once, doing it again would be cake, right?


Wrong. So wrong.


Recovering this piece was a beast. I’ll give you a play by play, and don’t you worry…I’ll make sure you don’t make the eleventy billion mistakes I made. Sheesh.


I began with ripping all the old fabric off and pulling out a crap load of staples. This was my view for one entire afternoon:

Green Lantern couldn’t handle it.


Some of the foam was not salvageable. It disintegrated all over my family room rug, but I just added it to the list of things that needed to be vacuumed up later.


I wanted to see the legs again…I couldn’t remember why I had covered them before. Yeah, this is why:

Hmmm. Fixing it was a bit of a head scratcher for sure. My ideas ranged from wood filler and paint to just sawing them off completely. But pretty soon I came up with a better plan! Wait and see…


Here is the ottoman in all it’s naked glory. This shot was taken late at night after the staple removal massacre of 2012.

 And, I’m happy to report, I only got one splinter!


When it came to buying fabric, I knew exactly what I wanted. I came across this blue cheetah print recently and fell in love:


Except when I went to go buy it, I was informed that it had to be ordered and wouldn’t come in until the day of the contest. Me no likey. I was pretty frustrated to say the least. Cuz I had no Plan B. (And grabbing the bolt of fabric off the wall and running out the door would have only gotten me so far. But don’t think I didn’t consider it.)


Eventually I snagged two yards of some super cute zebra fabric at Hobby Lobby for less than I would have paid for one yard at the other place. Hooray for happy accidents.


Tufting was totally on my list of things to do to the ottoman this time around. I’ve never tufted before, and, to put it nicely (keeping my post free of strong curse words), I had a lot of learning to do. :/ Tufting’s not hard, especially if you don’t try to skip steps to save time and money. Cuz you won’t. So don’t be like me. The following instructions are here for your benefit. (FYI, I found these two posts very helpful: HERE and HERE)


1. Make sure you have the correct size staples for your staple gun. Check again. Are you sure they’re right? Because, at least in my case, stores didn’t have the correct size I was looking for. Grrr. Luckily it only took one frantic call to Allison who let me borrow her awesome staple gun. What better staple gun to use than House of Hepworth’s? For reals. I am SO grateful!!


2. While you’re at the hardware store for staples, buy a pegboard. Don’t be cheap. Buy one. Buy one now, not later. Cuz later you will have to anyway, and you’ll be annoyed with yourself for not getting one before. Have the nice Home Depot guy cut it for you. Know your measurements before you go. (I actually did know my measurements, which was a miracle!) Mark your pegboard where you want the tuft holes.


3. Using the peg marks as a guide, cut holes in your foam where the tufts will go.


4. Stack the board like this tufting sandwich: pegboard, foam, fabric.


5.Decide if you want premade button covers or if you want to cover your buttons yourself. Either is fine. I decided to cover my own. Find buttons all the same size and shape. I used some vintage buttons from my grandma’s collection. :)


6. Thread your button holes with thick twine. Not flimsy little string. Can you hear me shout that loud enough?!? NOT flimsy little string. I made that frustrating mistake. Leave a long piece of the twine on your button so you have enough plus extra to go through the thick foam. And invest in the knitting needle it takes to tuft. Do it. Just do it. I think I paid $1.50 for the needle.


7. Follow THIS easy tutorial on how to create covers for your buttons. Even this part was easy for me, the non-sew-er.

 Notice the thin, flimsy string? Yeah, NO. Don’t do it. Use twine.


8. Thread your needle through the thick twine of one covered button and knot one end. Shove the needle into the fabric, down the foam, and through the peg board.


9. Staple that thread’s brains out. Zigzagging the staples will help keep the threat taut.


10. Admire your work. Make adjustments as needed. (Yes, I needed.)


Once all the tufting’s over, it’s all smooth sailing from here. I added more batting to the sides for extra comfort.


The rest of the fabric was then stapled around the ottoman. I pulled tight, and stapled the fabric in the middle before moving out to the sides.


As for the feet, I decided to wrap the feet in black leather to make them stand out a little better. I just folded the leather over, creating the look of separation.


And, that’s it. Oh my gosh I’m actually done.



Although this project took me a little longer than I thought, I realize that I learned so much. I can avoid a lot of mistakes next time around. But, that’s how it goes, right? :)


Remember our ottoman before?

SO much better. 


And you better believe there will be no jumping on the ottoman anymore! :)


Did you make it through this mammoth post? If so, bravo! Thank you!! I promise to give you a high five next time I see you.



Make sure to check back on Friday for a SUPER CUTE giveaway!!!



**By the way, do you follow me on Pinterest? It seems they just did an upgrade or something, and I ended up loosing half my Pinterest followers. Do you mind checking to make sure you’re still getting my pins? Click HERE and push Follow All. Thanks!!**


I’m linking up!

My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia , A Bowl Full of Lemons, The Thrifty Home, Someday Crafts, Seven Thirty Three, Beyond the Picket Fence, House of Hepworths, Tales From Bloggeritaville, Made in a Day, Sassy Sites, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, The Shabby Nest, RemodelaholicBeneath My Heart, Lolly Jane Boutique, Be Different Act Normal, C.R.A.F.T., Thrifty Decor Chick, Funky Junk Interiors, Under the Table and Dreaming, House of Grace, Primitive and Proper, Sugar Bee Crafts, Home Stories A 2 Z, Domestically Speaking, Southern Lovely, Somewhat Simple, One Artsy Mama, It’s Overflowing, Six Sister’s Stuff


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  1. I am sorry about not making it to the next round, but your Ottoman was fabulous!!!

  2. I really wish you were going on to the next round. Will you share your “wood” project anyway? :)

    Also, pegboard….AWESOME! What a great idea!

  3. I am so impressed that you only got one splinter! ;) And I’m bummed that you didn’t make it to the next round. But mostly I’m excited that you made this ottoman because I’m in the preparation stage of making a tufted headboard. And while I’d already bookmarked one of the sites you referred to it’s so much better when someone you know has done it!

    P.S. I cross my heart PROMISE that I will make Reeta’s stockings BEFORE I make the headboard but they will both have to wait until we finish rearranging rooms and I can get to my sewing machine again. :(

  4. Nice job. I want to make an ottoman one day.

  5. Wow, I am so impressed. I actually think I may have just quit! Bummer that you didn’t make it on, can we protest or something? Much love, take care. AO

  6. Great makeover, Beth! It can be a bit of work- but totally worth it!
    {from one-tufted-ottoman-maker to another!} xo Becca

  7. Oh nice work!! I’ve done – or re-done – a fair few ottomans now but am yet to attempt tufting!! I’m working my way up to it and I applaud you!!!

  8. what a difference! it looks amazing! i see you will be at haven- hope i meet you! heading there today!!!

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  1. [...] Free Stylin’ is the shiznit and recovered her boring ottoman into this tufted zebra awesomeness. [...]

  2. […] so about a year and a half ago our family room ottoman got a much needed makeover. We have had it for about 10 years or so, and I originally rescued it from the neighbor’s […]

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