Thursday, 4 April 2013

Coke Crate Ottoman

We had a problem that needed solving. 
The smallest member of our family is our dog, Misty. She is a miniature Yorkshire Terrier. 
A tiny, little five pound bundle of love.  
Obviously she is not the problem.
The problem is that although we have a tiny dog, we also have an over-sized sofa that she loves to snuggle on. So as you may have guessed, getting up on the sofa is quite difficult for her, especially now that she is older.
I know that you can buy steps for them, but our living room is not that large and it would just take up too much floor space. You can also buy foot stools or Ottomans of course, but they are never the right height or not big enough for her to safely jump on. (She thinks she is a lot bigger than she really is.) Besides I don't like the look of them. So here is my solution.
I had this great Vintage Coke Crate that I picked up a number of years ago in Ottawa, 
(hence the French in the lettering). I loved this crate but never really had a good use for it.
Well now it had two uses. A step and storage as well (for some of those dog toys. And yes, the toy in the photo is as big as she is).
Let me first say that although the instructions for this project are quite lengthy, it really didn't take me long to do. I actually completed it in a few hours, including glue drying time.
It is also not a complicated one. It was in fact, quite simple.
What took the most time was gathering up all of the supplies! The total cost was about $33.
The crate I already had, and the plywood was just a scrap I had lying around.
What I did buy was the foam ($7), the upholstery tacks ($8) and the button covers ($3) all at Walmart. The hinges I picked up at Rona for ($3).
The upholstery fabric I bought from Chintz and Co. from their discontinued samples for ($6), the interior fabric I already had, and the trim I bought from Fabricland for ($6).
I started out by cutting the plywood to fit flush on the crate . Cut the foam the same dimensions as the plywood (okay, its not perfect but you will never know in the end) and glued it on with E-6000 glue.
There is probably something better suited for this purpose, but A) I didn't know what that was, and B) I was tired of running around gathering my supplies. I wanted to get on with it.
Still it worked perfectly, but the downside is that it is very smelly and should be done outside.
 Next I wrapped the foam with batting I already had on hand. It's the fluffy stuff you find inside comforters, etc. This serves to soften the edges of the foam.

I pressed down onto the foam and pulled the batting tight to make sure it would remain snug once I applied the fabric. It was a bit of a juggling act pushing down, pulling it tight and trying to staple all at once. Probably easier with two sets of hands but I am stubborn and don't like to ask for help unless I have to.
Then I stapled the edges of the batting close to the edge of the board. I wanted to make sure that there was room for me to place the staples for the upholstery fabric later.
Make sure to trim the batting close to the staples and don't let the batting get too thick or bunched up.
I learned this the hard way!
After I had stapled it all on, I did a dry fit on the crate only to see that the batting was so thick in the corners that it actually raised the lid so there was a gap between the lid and the crate in the center of each side.
Not cool!
So I had to remove some staples and thin the batting and re-staple.
The above picture shows before I thinned it out.
Then I stapled the upholstery fabric same as the batting.
It works best if you staple in the middle of each side first. It also makes it easier to keep it tight and not let the fabric get crooked.(Especially important with fabric with an obvious pattern!)
I did the corners next. Again trying to keep the corners from getting too bulky.
Several small pleats took care of the excess fabric on the corners nicely.
Then I trimmed the excess fabric.

Sorry no pics of this next part. I was carried away with how quickly it was going.
I then marked the placement of the buttons and drilled holes for them
(only through the plywood, not into the foam).
I probably should have done this step way before this stage, but I wasn't absolutely sure that I wanted to do the button tufting until I actually saw the fabric in place.
I made the button covers from the excess fabric I had just cut off.
Follow the package instructions for how to do this properly.
I had to cheat with a bit of my E6000 glue and some clamps because the fabric was too thick. Made sure that the glue was completely dry and then I used a really long needle and some thick upholstery thread to sew the buttons on. Keeping them nice and snug.
Next I measured out the placement for the upholstery tacks with chalk and a ruler. You don't have to do this step if you are sure you can wing it and you are not a perfectionist like me. But it is easy to get the spacing a little off or go a little crooked.... Just sayin'.
It took two packages of tacks to go all the way around but I think it looks pretty good.
Of course you can skip the tacks altogether but I think they add a nice professional, finished look.

Now I cut the interior fabric (faux suede) in a rectangle just big enough to cover the edges of the upholstery fabric. I hot glued this into place. Yes I know, Hot glue? But really why not? There wasn't going to be any stress on this seam and hot glue actually adheres to most fabrics really well. Besides I didn't want to add more staples!
So I hot glued the trim on as well, making a small pleat in the corners.

Almost finished now!!!
Then it was on to the hinges. I recruited my husband to help me with this part. Yes, you heard right, I actually broke down and asked for help. I just didn't have enough hands.
We decided it was best to mount the hinges onto the interior of the box first and then the lid.  It was a bit awkward getting the hinges on the lid as it doesn't open a full 90 degrees. But we got it done. And here again is the finished product.
Normally I think I would have added legs or casters to the bottom of the crate but then it would have been too high for our little Misty.

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


  1. Very creative. I will be passing on to my neighbour.

  2. Love your Dog. It sure is a Dog's life