Hello! I'm Suzannah, a serious DIYer. Follow along with my DIY fixer upper house renovations, sewing and crafty projects, real food recipes, and de-stressing goals.
I co-host the Your Home Story podcast and believe you can love your home just the way it is, AND have the power to design and make big changes to make it better.
I'm also the author of DIY Wardrobe Makeovers!
Mom to Otto born April 2018 and Lucy born August 2020!

DIY striped or plaid cube ottoman tutorial

I have been meaning to do this project since last fall!! Quarantine energy kicked in, I guess, and I finally did this fun simple upholstery project. Full tutorial below!

The inspiration for these cubes is nothing new--Amber Interiors has been doing simple, usually striped cube or rectangular ottomans out of vintage kilims/flatweave rug-type fabric forever. Here's one for $800. These are popular now so you'll see something similar everywhere, like this Target version!

I bought these black storage cube ottomans with the intentions of covering up the lid portion to make them look just like the inspirations. But, I put them in the living room as soon as I brought them home (way before I got to this project) and we immediately found them useful for storing Otto's toys. I debated but decided to keep them more functional than trendy and recover the lids separately.

(This black fabric was so awful! Cat hair stuck to it like crazy and it never looked clean.)

These were super cheap from the Target dorm line last fall, but here are some similar options still available now: $36, no lid/storaged, or $15, with lid.

DIY striped or plaid cube ottoman tutorial

You will need:

  • Padded ottoman or two (try one of these:  $36, no lid/storaged, or $15, with lid). These are so cute in pairs, or you could do a big coffee table sized one!
  • Thick, sturdy fabric like canvas, outdoor canvas, or other home dec fabric (I used this in ivory, no longer available, but there are a lot of options at JoAnn in the home decor category)
  • Matching color 7/8" single fold bias tape
  • Staple gun and staples
  • Standard sewing supplies


1. Measure and cut four side pieces, four lid side pieces, and one top piece. I always default to a 1/2" seam allowance for easy math and less waste, but you can go bigger if you like. If you're using a plaid, match the lines horizontally--I didn't have room for all four side pieces out of my 56"(?) wide fabric, so I had to waste some jumping up to the next point where the plaid repeated.

I cut my side pieces about 3" longer than the height of the main part of the ottomans, to allow for turn-under at the top and bottom.

Other than that, I cut my pieces to the exact size of my ottomans for a snug fit.

Pin together so you remember which pieces go where.

2. Assemble main/side pieces. Sew right sides together. (Note: If you're using an ottoman without a lid, you can skip to the lid assembly part, except instead of a 3" lid piece you'll have pieces the whole length/height of the ottoman.)

3. Finishing option 1 (what I did on the main parts, before I found a more elegant solution for the lids): Do a quick-and-dirty hem, not turning under twice as that will add bulk. This is the top of the main part of the ottoman.

4. Coax/stretch over ottomans. These need a tight fit to stay put and look professional which means putting them on is a pain. Try to line up the corners before you start inching them down. It's like putting a pillow in a pillowcase if the pillow was rigid and exactly the size of the pillowcase. Not easy!

Leave the hemmed part a little long.

5. Remove the feet; set aside.

6. Line up the side pieces totally straight and staple. The corners get a little bulky, so make sure your staples are going all the way in, and keep the bunching/overlap to a minimum. (This is still finishing option 1. If the staples showing bug you a lot, you'll want to do finishing option 2.)

7. Turn over, stretch/keep things lined up, and staple at the bottom.

8. Trim the excess fabric and hammer the feet back on.

9. Lid assembly: Sew lid side pieces right sides together. Line up on lid tops and sew, being careful to keep sharp corners by leaving the needle in the fabric and rotating around it as you reach each corner.

I cut notches in my sides and top to help match the plaid and keep things in place for this part.

Trim the excess away from the seam allowances once sewn to reduce bulk and get sharper corners.

Note: since my ottomans had piping and I wanted a smooth edge, I just cut it off before fitting the lid covers on.

10. Finishing option 2. Sew bias tape to the bottom of the lid. (You could do this and the next step on the main part as well instead of step 3.) Putt the tape taught so it's a little bit smaller in circumference than the sum of the four sides; this way it'll help you gather it in when stapling.

11. Staple in the bias tape on the underside of the lid. This method reduces bulk at the point where the lid and base piece meet!

Ta-da!!! Enjoy your trendy new ottomans!!


They still provide great storage but are so much prettier now!

I am proud of this one!! Would love to recover a big square ottoman sometime, though maybe no lid/storage for that one. Enjoy!!

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