Button tufting creates an interesting and sophisticated look on an ottoman.

How to Button Tuft an Ottoman

by Maria Magher

Button-tufted ottomans create an interesting look for just about any room, but they are often expensive because of their extra detailing. However, you can save yourself a lot of money without compromising the value by making one yourself. You don't have to build a new ottoman -- you can simply transform an old ottoman by adding the button tufting.

Remove staples holding down the fabric on the underside of your ottoman, then remove the fabric.

Inspect the foam to determine if it needs to be replaced or supplemented with additional batting. If the foam needs to be replaced, cut a piece of 2-inch high-density foam the same size as the previous piece. You can use an electric knife to easily cut your foam and get clean lines.

Drill holes into the foam, whether you are using a new or old piece. Use a large drill bit -- at least 3/16-inch. The holes should be in offset rows for a diamond-shaped pattern. Hold your drill and your foam firm to prevent the foam from wrapping around the drill.

Cut a piece of chipboard to match the size of your foam cushion.

Drill holes in the chipboard matching where you would like your tufts to be. Place the foam over the chipboard and use a pencil to mark the center of the hole on the chipboard. Use a smaller drill bit than the one you used for your foam to make the holes in the chipboard.

Glue the foam to the chipboard using spray adhesive.

Wrap polyester batting around the foam, stapling it to the underside of the chipboard.

Cut a new piece of upholstery fabric for your ottoman, adding about 2 to 3 inches on each side. Lay your fabric across the cushion, making sure to center it.

Make your own fabric-covered buttons if you were not able to find fabric-covered buttons to match your upholstery fabric.

Thread the upholstery needle with upholstery thread, then work the needle through a four-holed button, the back of the chipboard and the foam, emerging through the fabric on the top. Loop the thread through a fabric-covered button and push it back through the fabric, foam and chipboard.

Thread the needle back through the button and make three or four passes, then pull the thread tight. Tie the thread in a knot. The button will act as a stopper, ensuring that the thread does not pull back through the foam.

Work your way through each of the holes, attaching the fabric-covered buttons and tying off the thread each time. Pull the fabric tight and fold it as you go so that it gathers equally around each button.

Place the completed cushion on the ottoman. Pull the fabric down tight along the sides and staple it to the underside of the base.

Items you will need

  • Staple remover or pliers
  • Upholstery fabric
  • 2-inch high-density foam
  • Electric knife
  • Spray adhesive
  • Polyester batting
  • Fabric-covered buttons or kit
  • 4-hole buttons
  • Upholstery needle
  • Upholstery thread
  • Chip board
  • Staple gun
  • Drill
  • Dowel screws


  • Add nailhead trim for a more interesting look for your finished ottoman.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

Photo Credits

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