Yes. That is a Harry Potter ottoman. It wasn’t meant to be one at the beginning of this project, but things don’t always go as planned.
The inspiration for this whole project is this very expensive Ballard Designs ottoman.
At $269, I was never, ever going to buy it. Ever. Can you imagine Hermione paying for an overpriced ottoman? I think not.
But I did want something like it. It’s burlap, natural looking and vintage-esque in a way that I just wanted very badly. Wanting to be resourceful (ok, cheap), I shopped my own house to re-create it. I have this pink ottoman that I love, but wasn’t using in any room right now. Again, being cheap, I didn’t want to make it over in a way that was permanent, but I still needed it to stand up to normal use.
So, I figured out a way to semi-permanently re-upholster it, and I’m about to show you how you can do the same. Now, if you don’t have a storage ottoman laying around, right now is the perfect time to buy one at Walmart or Target because of their dorm lines. I’ve seen similar within the past 2 weeks for about $15-$20 at both retailers.
Assuming you have an ottoman on hand, let’s go through what you’ll need to do this project.
-2 yards of natural colored, duck/drop cloth material (I got my material at Walmart for $2.97/yd)
-Staple gun and 1/4” staples
-Hem tape/stitch witchery
The first thing I did was do a dry measure to figure out my length and width to cover the bottom portion of my ottoman. My dimensions ending up being 15x60, but I made my cuts at 18x64 so I would be able to staple/hem and be able to lose some inches.
After I cut my fabric, I took one of the short ends and tried to iron a nice, straight seam using my hem tape, iron and a straight edge. It’s not 100% perfect, but remember, we want this to kinda look shabby chic.
Once you have that done, grab your pins and pin your hemmed edge in the center of the “back” of your ottoman.
Slowly start making all your nice corner folds and pin them in place. I had a pin in each corner, and this may take awhile, but you want to make sure your corners are all the same. I wish I had an exact technique on how I did mine, but it was truly trial and error with the corners. I would advise you to approach it like you’re wrapping a gift.
Once it’s all pinned, step back and make sure your corners are even and that your hems all line up all around. I wanted mine to have a skirted edge, but I had to make sure it wasn’t dragging on the ground.
So once you are committed to those corners, use your staple gun loaded with 1/4” staples to staple a corner at a time. Remove the pins after you staple, but don’t staple on them directly. My method was staple a corner, move onto the inside leading to the next corner, make sure your material stays straight, etc. Do the corner/side with your hemmed edge last. Overall, I ended up with 12 staples. Now, should I want my ottoman to be pink again, I merely need to grab my flat head screwdriver, pop off the staples and I am back in business with no noticeable damage.
Again, the last side you do should be your back/hemmed edge side. So I tucked the unfinished edge under that section so once it’s stapled it looks polished/finished, and you can’t see that frayed edge anymore.
Now we upholster the top using the same strategy.
At this point if you don’t want to add a design, you’re done. You have a chic, shabby ottoman that will look great with nearly any type of décor.
If you want to continue on with me to add a design to it, here’s what you’ll need:
-Stencil (I made mine using my Silhouette SD)
-Sharpie Fabric Marker (Black)
-Piece of 8.5x11 cardboard
I was perusing this website for a vintage typography design, but nothing was jumping out at me. Well, let me rephrase, nothing was jumping out at me that would be easy to stencil. When creating a stencil using a die cutter machine like the Silhouette, you can’t pick anything ridiculously intricate. Don’t torture yourself. I also thought about buying iron-on transfer paper for the printer, but those have such bad reviews and I really wanted that hand-stenciled look to it.
Then my hubby walks in while I am searching and searching for stencil inspiration when he says I should add the Hogwarts crest to it.
I found the image I wanted, imported it into my Silhouette SD and selected the area for tracing:
Now, when importing a JPG to use as a stencil, you want to fiddle with the High Pass and Low Pass Filters over on the right until you get a nice outline using the trace function. You don’t want it to be terribly detailed. Once I got my outlines set, I then went and deleted anything I knew would be a pain in the ass for the Silhouette to cut accurately and therefore would cause me headaches while trying to stencil. As you can see above, I deleted all the text from the bottom of the crest as well as some little holes in each of the animals/mascots of the houses. I wanted to keep the overall look and integrity of the image without stressing about the itty bitty details.
I grabbed my cardstock (normal, cheap cardstock) loaded it onto the thick medium mat, screwed on the blue cap, set the speed at 1, thickness 33. Another Silhouette SD tip: if your mat has lost its stickiness, grab a glue stick (I prefer the jumbo Elmer’s type), run it across the mat a few times and you’re back in business. I have used my Silhouette SD for almost 2 years straight without ever replacing the mats because of that tip.
So, send it to your Silhouette SD to cut. It will take a LONG time. While it was cutting, I completely did my hair and make-up to go out to dinner.
After it’s done, grab your stencil, tape it onto your ottoman wherever you’d like the design, grab your Sharpie paint marker and draw away. I did lots of short strokes. Now, I recommend you put a sheet of cardboard under your material while stenciling so the fabric marker doesn’t bleed through. I forgot this step, and it didn’t bleed through and stain the pink fabric, but you never know. The Sharpie fabric markers are so easy to use and very forgiving, but if you’re nervous, practice on a spare piece of material first.
I freehanded the text on the bottom, and it was super easy. Glad I didn’t fret over including that text in the stencil.
Once you’re done, step back and admire your handiwork. Overall this project should take no more than 2 hours if you do both the reupholstering and stenciling.
I had started this project with the intention of using it as a vanity seat in the guest bathroom, but now I want to keep it in the living room to show it off!
And I bet some of you have noticed this little fella on the tray:
Well. That is my very low calorie butterbeer, and I am going to share that recipe with you in my next post.
Until then, what do you think of my Harry Potter ottoman? Does it have you thinking I waved my wand to create it?
Oh Pee Wee. Ever the sniffer of all things edible.
And let’s hope this project doesn’t get me sued.