How to Make a Pouf Ottoman

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Things You'll Need

  • Polyester sheet batting

  • Plastic milk crate

  • Scissors

  • Stapler or packing tape

  • Cotton rug or heavy cotton fabric

  • Sewing machine

  • Upholstery needles

  • Heavy cotton thread or twine

  • Kitchen rag rugs (optional)

  • Bulk polyester batting (optional)

Pouf ottoman fabric can match or contrast the other furniture in your seating area.
Image Credit: Jupiterimages/ Images

Poufs are soft-sided ottomans that may be round or cube-shaped. Some poufs resemble puffy beanbags and others are masterpieces of fabric construction. Whatever shape they take, pouf ottomans are stylish accessories for comfortable seating areas as well as children's rooms and play areas. You can make your own pouf ottoman from sturdy cotton fabric or upcycled kitchen rugs. After sewing and stuffing your ottoman, place it in front of your favorite chair, and then put your feet up and relax.

Covered Crate Cube Ottoman

Step 1

Spread a sheet of polyester batting on your work surface. Place a plastic milk crate in the center, bottom down. Fold up the batting to cover the sides of the milk crate, wrapping it like a gift package and trimming as needed. Staple or tape the batting to secure it at the sides and top edge. Turn the crate over so the bottom of the crate faces up and becomes the top of the ottoman.

Step 2

Cut heavy cotton fabric into six pieces for the top, bottom and sides of the batting-covered crate. The fabric pieces should be 2 to 3 inches larger than the corresponding crate sides. You can use cotton upholstery fabric, a drop cloth or a cotton dhurry rug for your fabric.

Step 3

Machine-sew a zigzag stitch along each edge of the cut cotton pieces to prevent excessive fraying.

Step 4

Sew the fabric pieces together around the crate to cover it. Using a large upholstery needle and heavy cotton thread or string, whipstitch along each edge to create an exposed seam. Start by placing one fabric piece on the top of the crate and sewing the side pieces to it at the top edge. Sew the sides together. Finish by sewing the last fabric piece to cover the open part of the crate, which will be the bottom of the ottoman.

Circular Gathered Ottoman

Step 1

Multiply the desired width of your ottoman by 3.14 to get the ottoman circumference. Sew enough kitchen rag rugs together at their narrow edges to get this measurement, which does not need to be exact. Sew the narrow ends of this strip together to create a wide fabric tube. You could also cut a strip of heavy cotton or canvas and sew that into a tube, instead of joining rugs together.

Step 2

Run a gathering stitch along one long edge of the tube, using a large needle and sturdy yarn or twine. Pull the gathered edge together to close this end of the tube. Make additional stitches across the gathers to ensure the end is closed. Fasten off the thread, making sure it is tied securely.

Step 3

Stuff the ottoman with bulk polyester batting. Gather the open edge of the tube and sew it closed in the same manner as the first edge.

Step 4

Make a cover to conceal the gathers at each end, if desired, by cutting a circle or octagon from heavy cotton fabric that coordinates with the ottoman material. Fold and press under the edges of the cotton piece, or make a zigzag stitch around the edge with a sewing machine. Pin the cotton piece over the gathers, matching the centers, and hand-sew it in place using a whipstitch.


Your upholstery needles may be either straight or curved. Needles in 4- to 6-inch lengths work well for this project. Curved needles may be easier to use for the hand sewing on both types of ottomans.

You can stuff the gathered pouf with various materials, such as plastic grocery bags, old towels or old clothing, for a truly recycled project. Fabric stuffing will increase the weight of the pouf.

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