Living Green: How to Make an Ottoman from a Wooden Pallet

Living Green:  How to Make an Ottoman from a Wooden Pallet

We all hear of living green, green design, recycling, reusing, up cycling and saving the environment. Our children learn about these topics in school. You study about them in college. You may have received certification to reflect that you have studied these topics. The bigger question: Are you doing your part to save the environment?

My son is taking AP Environmental Science in high school. The topics they study greatly interest me. My son and I viewed a 20 minute video together the other night Story of Stuff, Full Version; How Things Work, About Stuff. What I learned, unfortunately, is that we are destroying mother earth – the very creation that sustains our lives. This video is well worth watching and you, too, will agree we’re caught up in a vicious cycle.

At home our family recycles and we have water-saving irrigation, toilets, dishwasher, and a washing machine. To further continue the conservation of water and reuse/recycle efforts, one afternoon during a stroll, I found a wooden pallet by the trash. I asked around to make sure it was okay to take and, with permission, I put it into the back of my car. I did some web research to go idea seeking and decided to make an ottoman.

Ottomans seem easy to make probably because Jim, my husband, likes to build things. I like the feel and texture of fabrics and making objects look pretty. If you want to try this at home, I’ve included a materials list and instructions below.

Materials List for 36” Square Ottoman
Four 9” unfinished turned legs [The hardware items we purchased from Lowe’s.] Four triangle brackets for leg mounts
¼” plywood to create a foundation to secure the materials and to close in the sides
1-1/2 yards black speaker netting (for the bottom)
1-3/4 yards upholstery fabric
5” foam (36” x 36” square) [This is costly so shop with your coupons. We went to Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store.] 1-3/4 yards polyester batting [The kind used for making quilts.]

daytona beach, foundation for an ottoman made from pallets,

Instructions• Locate a wooden pallet, preferably one near the closest dumpster.
• Go shopping for the items on the materials list.
• Cut the plywood and secure to the sides to make a stable frame.
• Finish the turned legs in your favorite color stain and seal.
• Lay the foam on your foundation.
• Wrap the top and sides with the polyester batting on top of the foam.
• Cover with fabric, carefully wrapping the corners. [Jim is particularly good at this because the plumber side of him comes through from forming shower pans. I know, lucky me, right?] I’ve added an explanation about the corners below if you need more details.
• Use a staple gun to secure at the bottom.
• Lay the speaker netting on the bottom and carefully turn under the edge and staple into a finished edge.

Since there are two types of corners on an ottoman — vertical and horizontal – I’ve provided instructions for both. Keep in mind that one continuous piece of fabric is used in making this ottoman; there are no sewn seams.
For the long horizontal corners (where the top meets the sides) this is wrapped in quilting batting over the foam which lends itself to softened curves when the fabric is pulled tight over it.

For the short vertical corners: Turn the ottoman upside down. Working with one ottoman side, tighten the fabric over that side bringing the excess fabric to the bottom and put a couple staples in the fabric near the center to hold it there. Stay away from the corners though. Smooth the fabric toward the corner, wrapping it to the other side. On the ‘new’ side, take your finger and push it down into the fabric corner creating a pocket. Now bring up the fabric to the new side with a nice fold at the corner. Take the excess fabric to the bottom and staple it at the bottom. Repeat for the other corners. When you have completed covering the ottoman with fabric, you now have the option of using a curved needle and upholstery thread to seam the two edges together or you may leave them. However, with a lot of use with people sitting on the ottoman I recommend sewing the seam as it will be more durable.

Enjoy your creation and remember that you have just helped the environment by repurposing a wooden pallet that otherwise may have ended up in the landfill.

If you decide to try this at home, drop back by and let me know how your creation turned out or certainly contact us if you have questions.

Thanks for dropping by and reading Living Green:  How to Make an Ottoman from a Wooden Pallet.

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Marie Fox

Marie has completed coursework in the Interior Design Program at Seminole State College. With her ISRP (International Staging and Redesign Professional) certification, Marie understands what motivates a buyer when searching for a home. Contact Marie at (407) 314-5076.
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