Tips to build a small storage ottoman using scrap wood. Woodworking skills aren’t needed to build this project, just patience and creativity!
Why I Built a Small Storage Ottoman
When I purchased my furniture set for my living room, I didn’t realize how large the ottoman was until I brought it home. The ottoman overpowered the room and did not provide a lot of leg room or space to walk.
I had no plans of building a new ottoman and I thought this would be a quick project.
Reworking the Existing Ottoman
I planned on removing the fabric and padding then cutting the ottoman down to a more smaller size. After I cut the ottoman down, I was going to use the same fabric and padding to reupholster the new small storage ottoman.
Well that was that plan, until I started removing the fabric and padding from the ottoman. Once I started peeling back the layer on the ottoman, I realized the ottoman was poorly constructed.
Change of Plans
The ottoman was built using the cheapest plywood available. When I touched the plywood, small pieces would break off from the frame.
So, I decided to throw the plywood out and attempt to build a new small storage ottoman using scrap wood.
I had a pile of scrap wood, poor woodworking skills, and basic knowledge with tools, so I figured what could go wrong?!
Building the DIY Ottoman Frame
There are several ways to build a small storage ottoman and better options for wood. So, keep this in mind if you are building your own DIY ottoman.
If you are purchasing new lumber for this project, you don’t have to follow my exact measurements and directions. I was working with the materials that I had on hand, so some of these instructions might seem a bit off to a pro woodworker.
Step 1 – Cutting the Sides
I cut 4 pieces of decent quality plywood to 24 inches in length. The plywood measured 12 inches tall and 24 inches long.
Before connecting the square frame, I adhered 1 x 2’s on the ends of 2 pieces of plywood. So, only 2 pieces of plywood will have a 1 x 2 adhered on each edge.
I used liquid nails and screws to attach the the 1 x 2’s to the plywood frame. The purpose of the 1 x 2’s is to help connect the frame and support the top piece of the ottoman.
After adhering the 1 x 2’s, I connected the plywood on the edges to form a corner using liquid nails, a hammer, and finishing nails. I used about 3 – 4 finishing nails on each corner to complete the ottoman frame.
Your wood frame should look something like this photo below.
Building the Base
To build the base I used 2 pieces of plywood to form a box measuring 26 x 26 inches. The reason I used 2 pieces of plywood was because I did not have a large enough piece of plywood on hand.
If you can find 1 large pieces of plywood to cover that bottom that would be better, but 2 pieces will hold up just fine.
I used liquid nails and finishing nails to attach the base to the frame.
Wood Storage Ottoman
If you are making a wood ottoman without storage than this project will be a lot easier because you can simply cover the top with another 26 x 26 inch piece of plywood.
The top is a little tricky to get to fit correctly, so be patient with this step. I used 2 pieces of plywood to form a 25 1/2″ x 25 1/2″ box for the top.
These 2 pieces of plywood were connected using liquid nails in between to 2 pieces of wood to join them together. I let this dry overnight before I attached 1 x 3s on either side of the top.
If I were to build this again, I would upholster the top of the ottoman then attach the 1 x 3’s. This would look a lot cleaner and provide more space for attaching the fabric.
The 1 x 3’s were cut to 20 3/4 inches and attached to the top with liquid nails, a hammer, and finishing nails. Before attaching these pieces make sure to triple check that it fits on the ottoman and can easily be removed.
Upholstering the Ottoman
As mentioned above, I recommend upholstering the top of the ottoman before attaching the 1 x 3’s. There wasn’t a lot of room for me to attach the batting and the farbic.
First cut padding and batting to size, leaving enough batting to fold over the edges. I used too much batting and had trouble fitting the top onto the ottoman.
So, make sure to use less batting than shown here and lightly take it in place with a staple gun. Before covering with fabric, test the fit of the top onto the ottoman.
I had to cut the batting back and readjust my fabric because I did not test the fit of the top on the ottoman. As you can see I did not have a lot room to work with on the sides, so I did the best I could to fold and attach the corners.
The frame of the ottoman was much easier to cover with batting and fabric. Cut the materials to size and work your way around to cover the entire frame.
I matched up the seems from the existing ottoman on as many corners as I could for a cleaner look. The only corner that gave me an issue was the last corner because I didn’t want staples showing.
To attach this corner I used fabric adhesive and pressed firmly for several minutes until it was in place.
To clean the look of the inside you can cover it with fabric, paint or stain it, or use contact paper. I used contact paper on the bottom to cover the wood seems.
Next I used small strips over fabric and fabric adhesive to cover the staples on the sides of ottoman.
Tips – Learn From My Mistakes!
If I were to build this again, I would purchase new fabric because I ran out and was struggling to cover the entire ottoman. I also, would have attached the 1 x 3’s after upholstering the top.
Another thing to note is that I should of tested the top fit before attaching the 1 x 3’s because I had to go back and cut these down to fit better.
Overall the small storage ottoman is holding up great, it provides a place for toys, and most importantly it was FREE!
I clean out scrap wood from my garage and gained more confidence with tools. I am not sure I would say my woodworking skills improved though LOL!
This was still a fun project and I learned a lot building this piece of furniture. I hope you find some of these tips useful for your DIY ottoman project.