Project: Diamond Tufting 101
Time: 6-7 hours
Cost: $55.00 (stool was $19.99 at Target)
Diamond tufting isn't so formidable when you break it down - it's really just two parts. First, the base, foam and batting need to be prepared with the desired diamond pattern. Next, fabric with a proportionately larger marked diamond pattern has to be neatly folded and pushed into cutout holes and secured with a covered button. It boils down to practice, patience and a little technique. This project is a good starter since it only has ten buttons and three diamonds that measure 8" x 5".
Tools and Materials:
covered button kit
drill and bit and safety goggles
long straight needle
round cutting tool to cut holes in foam (you can use a knife, scissors or utility knife)
staple gun (electric will work)
Step by Step:
- Draw the desired diamond pattern on a piece of paper
- On another piece of paper draw a larger pattern to mark on your fabric. The FORMULA: If you have a 2 inch piece of foam and the desired pattern is 8" x 5", you add in the depth of the foam for each button placement. Add 2" for the top button (depth of foam) and 2" for the bottom button, making the 8" vertical distance 12" on the fabric. The 5" width turns into a 9" horizontal measurement. The diamonds on your fabric will be 12" x 9". The batting will add a nice pad to make the pleats hold firmly.
- Mark the base, the foam and a piece of dacron with the desired diamond pattern (8x5)
- Mark the 12 x 9 diamond pattern on your fabric
- Drill holes through the top of the stool at the 8 x 5 chalk marks.
- With scissors, exacto knife or a cylindrical piece of metal, cut out holes in foam. Long ago I had a welding place make this tool for me. It's the end of a lawn mower muffler pipe that was sharpened. With a little silicone spray, it cuts holes like a dream.
- Spray the top of the stool with adhesive and attach foam making sure the holes line up.
- Wrap your batting piece over the top of the stool and attach under the bottom edge. Poke corresponding holes in the dacron.
- Cover ten covered button molds.
- Cut 16" long pieces of twine and loop through the back of each covered button.
- Center fabric on top of padding.
- With your fingers, begin poking fabric into the two vertical marks on the center diamond.
- Thread both cut ends of twine through the large needle and pull the first button down through the foam and the base, pull tightly and secure with a staple or two. You can adjust these later, if necessary.
- Repeat this on the opposite side of that diamond.
- Repeat this for the adjacent side, but begin making neat folds on either side of that button before you pull the button all the way down. As you pull the button through the bottom, keep manipulating the fabric on top to form snug folds. Remember to determine Top and Bottom and make sure all folds face downward.
- Repeat this on the opposite side to complete your fist diamond. (Congratulations!)
- Move over to the next diamond and repeat the entire process. Finally repeat this for the diamond on the other side.
- Stand back and look at your tufting. If any of it seems a little baggy, you can add a little extra pillow polyfill by pushing it up and in place with the long needle or the flathead screwdriver, carefully. Or, you may have to loosen a button and readjust.
- Once all the diamonds look good, it's time to form crisp folds from the outside buttons straight down and under the stool. This also takes a little fabric finesse', but will come easier after a few projects.
- At the corners, fold fabric neatly and snugly and pull down and secure with staples.
- The tufts should be relatively even across the top. Make any adjustments you feel are necessary.
Remember that the overall goal is to get a larger diamond pattern on fabric pushed down into a proportionately smaller diamond cutout pattern with the fabric pleated (pleats or folds always facing downward) and securely held in place with anchored covered buttons.
There are any number of different tufting patterns you do to apply to ottomans, chairs and headboards.
For another simple tufting project, see: How To: Turn an Ugly Table into an Upholstered Bench