How I Turned a Goodwill Coffee Table Into A Custom Slipcovered Ottoman

People tell me all the time, “I wish I knew how to sew.” If this sounds like you, then here’s the good news.

It’s never too late to learn.  

Like anything else, it just takes patience and determination–and of course a sewing machine or access to one.  

Whether you know how to sew, wish you did, or just want to see how I made a cheap coffee table into something I’m proud of,  I hope you enjoy this post. 

I started with an ugly $10 coffee table from Goodwill.   

And I ended up with this.

The Supplies:

*old coffee table

*Annie Sloan paint

*sanding block

*Minwax finishing paste

*sheet foam from Hobby Lobby

*sheet batting from Hobby Lobby

*spray adhesive

*plain white lining fabric

*two yards of white linen

*thread for sewing and string for gathering

The Process:

First I painted the legs and sides of the table with Annie Sloan’s Old White. After distressing it a bit with a sanding block, I sealed the paint with Minwax finishing paste.

Then I took the table outside and sprayed some adhesive all over the top.  I cut some pieces of foam to fit and placed those on the table top. Then I added another layer of foam to build up the height some.

Over all the foam I draped a piece of sheet batting.  After trimming off the excess, I pulled it to the underside and stapled it.  I then did the same thing with a piece of lining material to cover up the batting.  I had a helper with this part.

Linen definitely does shrink, so it’s important to wash and dry it on high heat before you ever cut and sew a stitch.   After that, you can wash the slipcover as much as you want with no fear of it not fitting afterward.

I cut the top piece of linen first, allowing about an inch extra all the way around and then four pieces for the sides.  After sewing those four pieces together, I pinned the top and sides together.

As with any slipcover, it’s important to do all your pinning on the piece of furniture itself, wrong side out.

Another tip is to clip one edge of the fabric before fitting and sewing the curved sections.  

For the ruffle, I cut enough pieces of linen so that once they were all sewn together they would be three times the distance around the whole table.  I hate skimpy ruffles.

After sewing all the strips together for the ruffle, I did a handkerchief hem.  I turned under about an eight of an inch and then turned it under again for a nice clean finish.

The easiest way I’ve ever found to do ruffling is to zigzag over cotton string and pull as I go.

The most tedious part is pinning the ruffle onto the sides, right sides together,  and getting the fullness evenly distributed all the way around.

Finally, I zigzagged every raw edge so I wouldn’t have a mess once I washed the finished product.

I spent a little over $100 for this entire project.  I could have just painted the Goodwill coffee table and called it a day, but I wanted something unique.  I think that is the key.  You have to want it and be willing to put in the time.  I think it helps if you’re like me and need to do everything on a budget.

You might be thinking, “Doesn’t this get dirty?  Doesn’t she have dogs and a grandchild?”  The answer to both questions is yes. But it slips right off, goes in the washing machine and dryer and comes out perfect every time.  A little bleach, some Fels Naptha laundry soap rubbed onto the dirty spots, and my regular detergent work wonders.



12 thoughts on “How I Turned a Goodwill Coffee Table Into A Custom Slipcovered Ottoman

  1. Hi Jilly! I must say I am impressed. I think I could tackle this project if you were sitting next to me. Beautiful job. Pat @ Bringing French Country Home

    1. Thanks, Pat! I learned to sew when I was twelve by having my mother either sitting next to me or nearby to help me when I messed up. Thanks for the comment!

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