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A dream come true. AKA – How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Ottoman

A dream come true. AKA – How to Upholster a Blue Velvet Ottoman

It’s ALIVE! I finished my first *real* upholstery project, and it’s BLUE VELVET!! In case you forgot, I am OBSESSED with blue velvet. And now I have my very own piece of blue velvet furniture, and I made it myself.


Here the ottoman is picture with this awesome reclining wingback chair that I got for just $40 on craigslist. The chair is in perfect condition, minus on tiny rip in the upholstery that I sewed up. Anyway, this recliner was a pretty easy project. Read more to find out.

I bought the original ottoman for $15 at a local used furniture store. There were a few rips in the original upholstery, which is probably why it was so cheap. It had a lovely shape, and simple upholstery, so I thought it would be a good piece to learn about upholstery on.

She was a beauty, but just needed a little love. Here is a close up of the nail head trim.

So I started this project by removing the fabric, but keeping the pieces to use as a pattern for my new fabric.

There were two piece for this ottoman – the big one that covered the top, and the smaller strip that went around the side – the piece whose attachment is hidden by the nail head trim.

I bought blue velvet at Joann’s for $26/yard. I bought 1.25 meters. I know some other DIY bloggers are gasping right now at what I paid for the fabric, but I figured that it was a minor-ish investment to make something I will really love. I wrote a whole freaking post about blue velvet – so it’s gotta be justified. Anyway, I also spent $20 on nail head trim (the kind where you only have to nail every 5 nails, not every nail. Much easier to apply). I was shocked that the trim cost $20, and as the nice guy who helped me at Joann’s said, when I commented on the expense, “Well, that’s Joann’s for you…” And walked away. Lol. Anyway, a total price of $75 for this gorgeous ottoman that I have dreamed about and a valuable lesson in using a stable gun doesn’t seem that bad to me.

Once taken apart, I cut the blue velvet to the same size at the original fabric. I added a little bit of batting in places that had batting. There was even some cardboard used in the smaller piece that went around the bottom. I redid everything the way I found it – or at least I tried. My piece has a few funky places, some crooked trim, etc… I don’t know why I am point this out to you guys. In fact, nevermind, my first upholstery project came out perfect. No funky spots. Eh…yeah…perfect.

Stapled the first piece of velvet onto the ottoman. I worked on one side for a few staples, then worked on the opposite side. Then did some on the adjacent corner, and then its opposite corner. Working in this way, you ensure there are no lose areas or wrinkles. Ignore my toe.

The other side of the ottoman, with a few more staples.

As mentioned, the bottom piece of velvet needed strips of cardboard within it it. I had to play with this step a little to get it to work well, and am not sure I did it just right. But that is the thing about upholstery – every piece is different and will require different techniques. Sometimes you have to play with it for a while – and sometimes you may mess it up. That was a risk you must be willing to take. (End of lecture on taking risks).

I tried to a take a picture that showed how you only have to nail in one out of five nails, but my camera wasn’t cooperating. Sigh.

My trim is a little crooked. This resulting from my stapling being a little crooked. I needed the trim to cover the staples that were wayward. Had I know this sooner, i would have stapled with more regularity.

And here is the finished piece. What do you think? Do you love it too? I love it. I love that when you brush velvet one way it looks dark, and when you brush it the other way, it looks light. You can see that I was petting the velvet before taking this picture – hence the marks were my fingers were.

This piece of furniture makes me SO happy. Happy Happy! Joy Joy! Happy Happy! Joy Joy!

3 responses »

  1. Beautiful Rachel! I didnt know you were blogging and what a great topic close to my heart 🙂 I think i’ll have to put down A Game of Thrones to read your older posts!

  2. Rachel, that looks lovely. Now you are just going to have to do the chair to match. I would love to see how that would be done.

    • Thanks, Meals. But there is NO way I am reupholstering the wingback chair. It’s in great shape and the color goes really well with the rest of my decor. Nope, I did just get some new chairs that may end up all blue-velvety too though. Speaking of chairs that need reupholstering, that carved chair you bought it still living in my apartment. It’s a might tempting project for me to undertake… 🙂


I love getting your comments. They make me happier than really good carrot cake!

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