I don't know what it is about ottomans, but I love them and they seem to be very popular especially the size of the one we just finished. This is large enough to be used as a coffee table as well.
I used one of my grain sack stencils from Maison de Stencils, but it wasn't quite wide enough so I masked off some stripes and added a little width to the pattern.
I cut out a large square of a drop cloth and placed it over the top of the ottoman and cut out a piece for the top. I stenciled that and then we tacked it down to the sides of the ottoman. When the top was secure, I measured the length I needed for the skirt using the hemmed side of the drop cloth. For the top of the skirt, I folded it down and pressed it so I had a finished edge. It didn't quite go all the way around so I covered one side of the ottoman and then tacked the long piece of drop cloth around and tacked it over the one completed side. We used roofing nails instead of upholstery tacks. The industrial look is really in right now and I thought they would fit with the look I was going for.
This is the before picture of the piece. It was clean and sturdy but the fabric was very dated. Notice it had a pillow top. I ignored that and just tacked the top piece of fabric to make it all snug and one piece.
It was easy to stencil on the drop cloth and everything I have done so far like this has retained the painted surface and has not worn off. Have you ever gotten acrylic craft paint on your clothes? I have, and I can tell you it does not wash out.
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