Tuft Love: Adventures in Diamond Tufting

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman 4

Oh diamond tufting, how simultaneously annoying and fulfilling you were. There were moments during this project that I absolutely wanted to tear my hair out, but in the end I am so happy with the results and the hard work was worth it. Diamond tufting is a bit of a challenge and looking back, I should have done a bit more homework before diving in! If you are taking on tufting for the first time, see the links at the bottom of this post for my favorite tutorials.

I found this ottoman in my mother-in-laws garage this summer and instantly asked her if I could give it a makeover. She obliged and I began by removing the fabric slipcover and assessing the state of the ottoman.

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman BEFORE

The great thing about this endeavor was that the ottoman was already made and the stuffing and frame were in great condition, so I had to do very little work to get the piece ready for upholstery. However the red and gold fabric definitely needed an update and working with an already upholstered piece had its challenges.

July Moon Inspirations - Tufted Ottoman Template

This project was a lot of trial and error. I tried a few different methods before settling on this one. Ultimately I used a large piece of poster paper to create a template for my button tufts. Since the ottoman was a square 23×23 this was fairly simple. I measured the the square and then allowed for a 1″ margin on all sides so the tufts weren’t on the edge of the ottoman. In retrospect I should have left an 1.5″ margin, but oh well. I started by marking the center of the template and the center-most button and then worked my way out, making sure the rows were evenly spaced. Compared to the other methods I tried this was by far the easiest and most accurate.

July Moon Inspirations - Tufted Ottoman with Template On

Once the template was finished I placed it on top of the newly slip-covered ottoman and secured it in the corners with a few pins. For the slip-cover I followed Miss Mustard Seed’s tips and it worked perfectly. If you have a sewing machine and basic sewing knowledge this should be a breeze. Mine took around 30 minutes from start to finish.

July Moon Inspirations - Tufted Ottoman Template and Tufted

Now for the fun part, the tufting! I used Dritz Half Ball Cover Buttons and leftover navy fabric to make the buttons. Again, there was a lot  of trial and error here. I started with heavy duty upholstery thread, but because the stuffing was so thick and I had to pull pretty hard to get a deep tuft, the thread kept breaking. Another trip to the craft store seemed unbearable so I searched the garage for an alternative and found some 1/8″ nylon twine/rope that was perfect and because it was thicker than thread I was able to staple it in place instead of tying each button. It was strong enough to hold the button tufts but still small enough to fit through the needle eye. Speaking of needles, I purchased a pack of upholstery needles in various sizes on Amazon. These puppies made life soooooo much easier and I know will come on handy for future projects.

Once I got the thread situation figured out, I simply started tufting straight through the paper template, making sure to keep the template straight. Start at the top of the ottoman (center-most button), thread your needle first then your button and loop knot it before you insert the needle. Pull the needle and twine towards the bottom. Once through, remove the needle and start pulling the twine towards the frame. Check the top of your ottoman often to compare the deepness of the tufts, you want all the tufts to be the same.

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman bottom

Once you’re happy with the tuft, grab a staple gun and staple the twine to the frame in several places. After completing all the tufts I went back and adjusted a few that weren’t deep enough. Remove the paper template and cut the excess twine from the bottom of the ottoman (you’ll notice a few of mine had not been trimmed at the time of this photo–shame on me!)

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman1 copy

Viola! I am in love with this piece! The tufting adds so much sophistication and the navy fabric goes perfectly with my newly redone sling chair.

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman 2

I may eventually add tufts to the sides of the ottoman, but before I did all that work I wanted to see if I liked it with just the top tufted.

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman 5

The ottoman is large enough to hold trays and books and could even serve as a coffee table. Casters could also be added to the bottom and the ottoman could provide additional seating in a living room. I love creating pieces that are versatile.

July Moon Inspirations - Diamond Tufted Ottoman Before and After

Ahhh….so much better!

For more tips on diamond tufting here are my favorite tutorials on the topic…

Diamond Tufting Tutorials:

All Thing’s Thrifty: Diamond Tufting Tutorial

Brick City Love’s Tutorial is very detailed and if you’re looking for advice on deep-tufting this is the site to visit.

Jamie Antoniol’s headboard tutorial on Schue Love is also a fantastically detailed explanation on diamond-tufting 101.


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