Last summer I used an Omaha Steaks styrofoam cooler to make an ottoman for my front porch. A year later, that ottoman is still going strong, so I decided to make another one. I used the lessons I learned from my first DIY ottoman and created a sturdier version:
In case you'd like to make your own ottoman, here's a tutorial.
1. Start with a sturdy styrofoam cooler.
2. Add some old magazines or something similar to give the cooler more weight.
3. Hot-glue foam padding (I used an old mattress topper) to the top and a piece of wood to the bottom of the cooler. The padding makes the top nice and cushy, and the wood on the bottom gives you something to which you can staple your fabric. You can leave the sides bare or pad them.
4. Select a piece of fabric. I used a piece of upholstery-weight decorator's fabric left over from another project. I happened to have a piece that was 1 1/2 yards long and 54" wide; this was plenty for my ottoman.
5. Wrap the cooler like a present, using a staple gun to secure the fabric to the bottom of the ottoman. Be sure to pull the fabric taut as you go. You'll have lots of spare fabric on the sides; cut out some of the excess underneath so that the fabric will lie flat. This is a pull and tug and stick-out-your-tongue process, but it doesn't take too long.
Once you've pulled and tugged so that your fabric is taut and smooth all over, add plenty of staples to hold the fabric securely in place.
6. If you like, add feet to the bottom. This will give your ottoman a more finished look. You can use proper furniture feet (I found some at Home Depot starting at $4.67 each) or be creative and make your own. I used molding corner rosettes to make my feet. I glued two rosettes together for each ottoman foot, then spray-painted them black. These I had to secure to the bottom with glue. If you use real furniture feet, you'll be able to screw them into place.
Another shot of the finished product:
The rosettes cost $1.59 each. All the other materials were things I had on hand, so my total cost for this project was less than $15.00 and less than two hours' time.
Here's the ottoman in its new home on my screened-in porch:
I think it's a handy little place to prop your feet! Now I need to find a little tray to go on top so that it'll hold a nice glass of iced tea.
Check out all the fun outdoor projects at Kimba's mid-summer DIY Day and The Furniture Makeover Challenge at CSI!