DIY Ottoman Slipcover — From a THROW RUG!

I PROMISE, this DIY Ottoman Slipcover is the perfect, absolutely perfect, “sewing” project for the non-sewer!!!!!

For sewing, you will need a large-ish needle, upholstery thread and scissors. And that is it — pinky swear!!!!

And NO sewing experience! Deep breath — you can do this!!!!

sun-faded black velvet slipcover on ottoman

No, this is NOT the slipcover we’re making. This was our starting point.

This is a very sun-faded black velvet and toile slipcover I made when this bench served duty on our screened porch in the last house. It’s a much more involved slipcover than this DIY ottoman slipcover — the one we’re making from a throw rug!

Original worn and tired bench

And under that sun-faded drenched, slipcover? Here’s the battle worn bench.

I picked up a pair at an auction at the University in our home town for $2!!! NOTE: since this came from the Student Union, it is built to last!

Yep, only bidder on these “beauties”! I couldn’t believe no one else saw their potential. ?

Lats version of ottoman with tray of magazines

My original vision was for a cool, antique textile. But ran into trouble with scale, with condition and with price. So then I started thinking of a cool, antique, maybe a kilim rug, like this, or this.

Again, scale, condition and price — ugh!

But a rug would be sooo perfect for us. We are a casual family — like feet (furry and otherwise) up and on the furniture kinda casual.

Time to pivot. How about a NEW throw rug?

My bench measures 21 X 42-inches. So a rug that is 3′ wide would give me the width I need, with 7 1/2-inches hanging down on each long side. To have the same overhang on the short ends, I would need a rug that is at least 57-inches long (my 42″ length + 7.5″ + 7.5″). A 3 x 5 rug would do it!

I knew I probably wouldn’t find something exactly 57″ long, so I wanted to find something that was pliable to turn the hem under or that I could cut and finish the raw edge. It also needed to be pliable enough to stitch the corners for a tight custom look.

I brought home a number of options from Home Goods and this rag rug was the winner for us.

And BONUS: It’s distinct rows and obvious stitch lines makes it super easy to stitch straight lines and the heavy texture hides sloppy stitching. Win! Win!

Let’s DIY a Ottoman Slipcover (the Easy Way)

Start with Hemming

Begin by determining which is your right side.

Now center the rug on your bench/ottoman with the right side down and measure the length of overhang on the shortest-hanging side. Mine was 7.5 inches on the long side of the bench.


Wrong side of rug with hem stitch in place.

Now turn up each of the long hanging sides (in my case this was the short side of the bench) to match the same overhang. I turned up 3.5 inches. It’s not really necessary, but you can use pins or use binder clips to hold in place. Now break out the needle and thread. Tack up your hem with a simple whip stitch — it’s not going to show. Once you get started tacking the hem it will naturally fold along the row you have chosen. Just help this along by being consistent in stitching into the same horizontal row across the top of this hem.

If you non-sewers need a boost of confidence, here is a good basic tutorial (use #1 Ordinary Hem with Whip Stitch). Working with a very textured fabric — or rag rug — will hide your stitches, so really don’t overthink this.

Surprisingly easy, right?

With the hems done, I think you deserve a scoop of ice cream! Then come back and we’ll do the corners and that’s it!!!

Your DIY Ottoman Slipcover is so Close

Ready For Corners?

One corner "wing" held out taught to judge stitch line

Start by folding your corner “wings”. Hold them out and determine which line of the rug weaving you want to follow to create a nice tight corner.

One corner wing stitched vertically

Here’s a finished corner. It’s one vertical line of stitching.

arrows showing where to stitch a vertical line on the corner
the other side of that corner

On this side, it’s easy to see your vertical line — it’s created by the rows of rags.

showing needle going into corner

On this side, try to use one of the weaving strings that create the rag rug as your vertical line.

show where thread comes out the other side of the corner

This time, starting at the top of your corner wing, push your needle with knotted thread through the top and then loop around pulling your needle through that loop. This will create a slip knot so your thread can’t pull through the fabric. (Or you can tie a square knot around a clump fo fabric to get started — whatever works for you and is strong).

Now with this vertical row of stitching, you are pushing your needle from one side of the wing through to the other side, with the point of the needle coming out along the string you want to follow vertically. Then on that new side, pull the thread taught, move your needle down about 1/4″ and push back through along that vertical marker string with the point this time coming out between the two rag rows you are using as your vertical guide. Repeat and repeat all the way down using the same string and rag row as your guides. Be sure to keep your thread pulled taught the whole way down.

At the bottom of the row, stitch around the bottom rag row several times and then back up an inch or so. Now tie a couple of good strong knots before clipping your threads. The very end of these corners will take the greatest pressure so we want to be sure those don’t come undone.

That’s it! Your DIY Ottoman Slipcover is done!!!

Now it’s magic time!

Lift your slipcover off and turn right side out.

Decide which way you want you wings to fold in (mine are laying in against the long side of the bench) and slide your slipcover in place. NOTE: if any of your wing points hang down too low, you can do a quick tack underneath to keep them out of view.

finished slipcover on ottoman, but with ugly scratched brown legs
Top view

LOVE it! Except those brown legs — ugh!

Slipped the cover off. Lightly sanded the legs and hit them with some black paint I had on hand.

close up of corner with new fresh black legs

See how nice those corners look!

finished slipcover with black legs

And look at those fresh black legs!

finished ottoman with tray of magazines and cup of tea

One more picture and I’m ready to prop up my feet and enjoy some tea with a bit of magazine time.

finished ottoman with dog looking at it from his sunbeam on the floor

Someone’s been stealthily moving in closer — and trying to look adorable.

Dog walking around the ottoman inspecting it

Grittles: Who me?

Need to investigate ….

dog hopped on the ottoman to inspect it first hand

…. by which I mean claim as my own.

dog looking at mom asking if he can stay put

Do you have a problem with this?

dog curled up in a nap pose on the ottoman. Guess he approves.

Too late! She’s mine!!! Now if you could move that ray of sunshine over here, I’d really be a happy pup.


Pin showing a closeup of the corner of the ottoman and a full shot

Wouldn’t this be cute in bright colors for a playroom?

This worked so well, I am keeping my eye out for a well-priced vintage kilim for our entry hall bench — afterall, I won a pair of these benches!

So this is the absolute easiest ottoman. But if you are wanting a tufted ottoman, check out the one I made from a ceiling box that used to house tube lighting. No, really! It turned out super cool — and huge and sturdy!!!

And thanks to so many fellow bloggers for the features:

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