Sunday, September 8, 2013

X-leg Ottoman

It's been a looong time. Sorry readers. It's actually not because I haven't been doing anything (especially as I have a new project to share with you). It's mostly because I have needed some time for me. As I indicated in a recent post, I have been working through some personal issues with anxiety. And part of that was starting to be nicer to myself. So, I let myself take a bit of a break from the normal routine of a post every week, and just relaxed a bit. As I have started to sleep better (yay! knock on wood), I started getting more motivation to pursue a house project. I decided I really wanted to build something. I enjoyed the hutch project considerably, and an ottoman for our upstairs sitting room has been on my pinterest/to-do list for over a year.

My plan worked from this one by Centsational Girl. I made a few modifications, which I will explain along the way, but I mostly stuck to her instructions. I think the only thing I would do differently were I do embark on this project again would be to use 2 x 2s instead of joined 1 x 2s. I think I probably spent around $40 total on this project, but I already had a lot of materials (like stain and the fabric).

I was pretty stoked to set up the miter saw again.

Basically, if you read the above link, I needed to make 4 of these "x"s with the 1 x 2s. I'm going to skip the dimensions for brevity sake since the instructions are on the other link.

It ended up being a lot of cuts.

I made the cuts for the "x"s and the bar across the ottoman (14 inch straight cuts) all out of 1 x 2s. Instead of using 1 2 x 2 for the bar going across, I used 2 1 x 2s. This is because I forgot when I was buying the wood and I knew it would work.

I started making the "x"s. Centsational Girl suggested gluing the pieces together. This didn't seem all that stable to me, so I decided to use my Kreg Jig and attach the pieces with both wood glue and a screw. I used the jig to drill one screw hole into the two pieces that connected to the long diagonal piece.

You can see the kreg jig holes and screws on this piece.

Jig setup. The side pieces were cut at a 9 degree angle, so I had to make sure the kreg hole lined up correctly. 

Once I had the 4 "x"s, I needed to attach 2 "x"s together. I again used wood glue and screws. The sides where I had used the kreg jig, I glued together, and then joined the two using 1.25" screws on the "x" legs. This made a really solid connection.

This was a big moment for me. I am always pretty careful with measuring, but this made me feel a whole lot better.

 I also used wood glue + screws for the 2 14 inch pieces to make them into a 2 x 2.

Next it was sanding time. This is why I would use 2 x 2s for everything were I to do this project again. Because there is human error involved, the 2 "x"s attached together didn't line up perfectly evenly. I'm actually not entirely sure why the original plans assembled the ottoman this way. I ended up using my electric sander to get the edges lined up. This part of the project took the longest by far.

I attached the center piece to the 2 "x"s using wood glue and the kreg jig on the underside of the bench. Centsational Girl put the center piece in at an angle, but I thought it looked better this way. The biggest "yes" moment of this project was checking the level. It was perfectly straight!

I still needed to cut the top piece. I bought 3/4 inch plywood from Home Depot. And this is where things got fun. J had bought me this jigsaw for my birthday, and I had yet to use it. I was excited to finally try it out. After reading through the instruction manual (safety first), I put it together, adjusted it to the straight cut, plywood setting and made my cut. The cut was 17" x 17". When cutting anything, always make sure your boards are secure. I use C-clamps. Anyway, this jigsaw was really easy to use. It had a straight cut guide, so I used the 17 x 17 pencil line I had drawn on the wood and followed the guide. The cut was nearly perfect.

Top piece resting on the legs.

Then, it was upholstery time. I used batting to attach a 2" piece of foam to the board. I used my staple gun to attach the batting, which held in the foam.

Making sure this was the fabric I wanted to use. Looking good..

Then I used the staple gun to attach the fabric to the foam + board. Despite measuring carefully, I feel like the pattern is slightly off-center, but I can always re-upholster later.

Then, it got interesting. I used stain on the legs. This was my first time using stain alone instead of stain + poly combined. You basically brush on the stain and then wipe away with a rag. This is also where things got slightly weird. Some areas of the wood soaked in the stain more than others. I think this has a lot to do with how much a certain area was sanded. The more heavily sanded areas soaked up more of the stain. While I had thought I had sanded everything evenly, I found that wasn't quite true. I think in the future, I have to be pretty careful about that. Also, pine usually should get pre-treated with a wood conditioner. I didn't have one, so I didn't use one. I think it might have been better if I did. Oh well, live and learn. I did the staining yesterday (while J and I watched lots of Breaking Bad. It felt kind of appropriate to wear a face mask while watching).

Today (again while watching Breaking Bad), I decided the stain was thicker in some places than I cared for, so I ended up using fine grit sand paper to lighten it up and even things out. It ended up making the legs have more of a rustic look. After sanding and buffing, I did 2 coats of clear coat (water-based poly).

While that dried, J and I went on a 3 mile walk. Then, I came back and attached the top and bottom. I used screws so that I could re-upholster the top in the future if I decided to. I never put in the top pieces that Centsational Girl used. I didn't really like the look.

Then, it was finally done! This project took me a week, working evenings and during the weekend. And finally, I can put my feet up when I am reading at night (this is my reading chair).

It also goes with the window treatment in the room.

I really love the final result.


And I can finally cross this item off my pinterest list!


  1. Wow!! Cathy.. you never cease to amaze me with your handy-woman skills. I saw this on Centsational Girl too (I love her blog!) and could only dream of making this by hand. I literally dream of finding these pieces of furniture at a thrift store merely so I can redo the fabric and such. Awesome job :-)