Our step-by-step guide shows you how to make an upholstered pouf ottoman for a charming and budget-friendly home accent.

By Debra Wittrup
Updated March 03, 2020
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Both stylish and practical, poufs make an ideal addition to your living room and bedroom decor. These round floor pillows can stand in as extra seating in small spaces, serve as a tabletop surface to set small items, serve as a plush footrest, or simply fill up some empty floor space with an eye-catching accent. Even better, you can create your own DIY pouf for less than $50 using our easy-to-follow instructions. You can use any color fabric you choose, but a thicker, durable material, such as decorator fabric, works best. Pattern print-outs for the pouf ottoman make measuring and cutting your choice of fabric a breeze, and our simple trick for filling the pouf saves you a ton on fiberfill.

How to Make a DIY Pouf

With prior sewing skills, this budget-friendly sewing project can be done in a couple of hours. Follow these step-by-step instructions on how to make a pouf ottoman.

What You Need

  • Pattern print-outs
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • 3 yards of 45-inch-wide fabric
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • 1 spool (125 yards) heavy-duty/upholstery thread
  • 2 large garbage bags full of fabric items for stuffing (e.g. worn towels, fabric scraps)
  • 1 5-lb. box of fiberfill
  • 1 roll fusible-web tape
  • Large embroidery or straight upholstery needle
  • 4 skeins embroidery floss to match or contrast fabric
Marty Baldwin

Step 1: Prep the DIY Pouf Patterns

Download and print our free patterns (the number of copies of each shape you need is indicated on the pattern). Cut out the paper shapes, then use tape to piece together the larger pattern following the instructions. When assembled, the pattern will look like a rectangle with a triangle on each end. Piece and tape together the endcap pattern.

Download the Free Patterns Here
Marty Baldwin

Step 2: Cut Out Fabric Pieces

Lay the pattern over the fabric and pin into place. Cut around the pattern; repeat until you have eight sets. (If using a double layer of fabric, as pictured here, you will have eight pieces of each type of fabric.) Using the endcap pattern, cut the octagon pieces for the top and bottom of the pouf. For each piece, fold a piece of fabric in half, pin the long edge of the endcap pattern along the fold, and cut out. Repeat to make the second octagon piece.

Marty Baldwin

Step 3: Pin Pouf Side Pieces

Lay two of the side pieces on top of each other, right sides together. Pin the layers together along one side. Repeat to create four layered sets total.

Marty Baldwin

Step 4: Sew Pouf Side Pieces Together

Using a straight stitch and a 1/2-inch seam allowance, sew along pinned side of the layered set. Pause to remove pins as you sew. Repeat with the other pouf side pieces to create four pairs of panels.

Marty Baldwin

Step 5: Steam Inner Pouf Seams

Open up each pair of pouf side panels in the middle. Press the seams of each pair open on the inside so that a strip of fabric lays flat on either side of the seam. Repeat with the remaining sets of side panels.

Marty Baldwin

Step 6: Join the Pouf Side Panels

Lay one pair of pouf side panels on top of another with right sides together and pin. Sew along one edge, unpin, and press the seams open with an iron. Repeat with the other two layered sets. At this point, you will have two pouf halves. Turn one half right side out and the other inside out.

Marty Baldwin

Step 7: Attach Pouf Halves

Lay one half inside the other with right sides together; pin around the outside edges. To help align the seams, match and pin the corners first. Starting at the end of the pouf where the seams meet, make a mark 5 inches from the center on each side, leaving a 10-inch gap.

Marty Baldwin

Step 8: Sew Pouf

From one 5-inch mark, stitch around the outside edge of the pouf, stopping at the 5-inch mark on the other side. This leaves a 10-inch opening for stuffing the pouf. Reinforce the opening by sewing across the seam allowance at a right angle to the seam at the 5-inch marks.

Marty Baldwin

Step 9: Stuff Pouf

Turn the pouf right side out with the opening at the top. Sort your fabric pieces and scraps into heavy and light piles. Start stuffing the pouf with the largest/heaviest pieces of fabric at the bottom center of the pouf. Heavy fabrics, such as old worn towels destined for the donation pile, should be stuffed in as neatly as possible to avoid creating large gaps in the stuffing.

Once the pouf is filled about halfway, use lighter, smaller pieces to stuff along the sides. A wooden spoon may be helpful to stuff pieces into place.

Continue filling with heaviest fabrics in the center and lighter pieces around the edges. The bottom of the pouf and the center should be stuffed with the heaviest fabrics to ensure good support. The lighter fabrics should go on the outside to give the finished pouf a smooth look.

Marty Baldwin

Step 10: Add Fiberfill Inside Pouf

When the pouf is about two-thirds stuffed, add fiberfill along the sides to fill in bumps and smooth the shape. The top of the pouf should have a good layer of fiberfill so the seat is comfortable. The tighter the pouf is stuffed, the better it will hold its shape.

Editor's Tip: Fiberfill can be pricey. Using a combination of fiberfill and towels or fabric scraps helps reduce the cost of your pouf. The sturdier fabric scraps also give the pouf stability, which fiberfill alone could not do.

Marty Baldwin

Step 11: Close Pouf Opening

Once you are satisfied with the amount of stuffing, use upholstery thread and a needle to hand-sew the seam together. The octagon piece will cover the seam, so don't worry too much about neatness. Pull tout to completely close the pouf opening.

Marty Baldwin

Step 12: Prepare Top and Bottom of Pouf

Use fusible-web tape to prevent fraying and create straight edges along the sides of the octagon-shaped pieces. Following manufacturer's instructions, press in the edges 1/2 inch on all sides of the octagon. Repeat with the other piece.

Marty Baldwin

Step 13: Attach Top and Bottom of Pouf

Line up the eight corners of the octagon piece with the eight seams on the top of the pouf as closely as possible. Insert pins straight down at the seams to make adjusting the alignment of the octagon easier. Using a basting stitch 1-inch inside the edges of the octagon, baste one octagon to the top of the pouf. Repeat on the bottom of the pouf with the other octagon piece.

Step 14: Practice Decorative Stitches

Follow our stitching diagram above to add a decorative finish to your DIY pouf, if desired. Although the stitch is simple, it's best to practice on a scrap of cloth first to get comfortable with the rhythm of the stitch. Once you've perfected your technique, sew the decorative finish along the seams of your pouf.

Marty Baldwin

Step 15: Add Decorative Stitch to Pouf

Starting at the octagon, use the decorative stitch along all seams of the pouf. Separate six-ply embroidery floss into two-ply pieces and work with 18 inches of floss or less at one time. At the top of one seam, push up through the fabric at the edge of the octagon shape about 1/2 inch from the vertical seam. Move your needle down 1/2 inch and over the other side of the seam. Push the needle into the fabric about 1/4 inch from the seam and up another 1/4 inch to the right. Wrap the thread under the needle. Draw the thread out over the loop made with the last stitch. Gently pull the thread tight to the right of the stitch. Gently pull the thread tight at an angle across to the left side of the seam.

Start your next stitch on the left 1/2 inch lower than the stitch on the right and about 1 inch below the stitch directly above it on the same side. Push the needle down through the fabric on the left side 1/4 inch from the seam and up 1/2 inch from the seam with the thread under the needle. Draw the thread out over the loop and gently pull it tight to the left. Cross over to the right side again and continue down the seam.

Repeat the chain of stitches on each seam. Once all of the sides are stitched, use the same decorative stitch around the edge of the top and bottom octagons.

Marty Baldwin

Step 16: Remove Basting Stitches

When all sides of each octagon are complete, remove the basting stitches from the top and bottom pieces to finish. Place your new pouf next to a chair in your living room where it can add a bit of color or stand in as an ottoman. You can also make a pair of DIY pouf ottomans and tuck them under a console table or on either side of the fireplace to use as extra seating.

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