Build a child's ottoman

  • a child's ottoman with storage space and seat


Building with reclaimed or recycled timber is a great way to save money and achieve a rustic feel, but sometimes shabby chic just doesn’t fit with the clean and fresh look of a kid’s bedroom.

This ottoman is built from repurposed pine crates, but since they’re bought new, you don’t have to compromise on the looks or finish.

With castors for mobility and a comfy seat pad on top, the ottoman can be wheeled out for a play date or used solo for reading and colouring. Plus, it offers plenty of storage for when it’s time to pack up the toys.

Cut the seat and ottoman base from 9mm MDF, and make the cushion using upholstery foam and wadding covered in poly cotton fabric.

Finish the timber and MDF with semi gloss white acrylic.

Attach the padded top from underneath using 20mm x 8g screws that go far enough into the MDF without poking through the foam.

Use shorter or longer screws if the slats of the crates you use are thinner or thicker than 12mm.

You can adapt the design by making a hinged top, allowing the centre void to also be utilised for storage.

Hanging a plaque

Create customised hanging for lightweight decorative items using an MDF plaque and leftover paint.

This project used a Boyle French Corner Key Plaque, about $6, and five small crystal drawer knobs, $5 each, from That Vintage Shop (

Apply a primer and two coats of acrylic with a brush, sanding lightly between coats with 220 grit paper.

Mark the knob positions on the back and drill five clearance holes, attaching with screws.

A hanging plaqueIt's easy to create a wall plaque to hang fun, decorative items

Upholstering the seat pad

To upholster the ottoman you’ll need a piece of foam 50mm thick, the same size as the MDF base for the seat pad.

Cut cotton wadding and fabric to size with 100 and 120mm extra all around.

Position the fabric right-side down then top with the wadding and foam.

Apply adhesive to the MDF base and position on the foam.

Step 1. Paint the timber

Apply primer then two or three coats of white acrylic to the crates using a roller, sanding lightly in between coats. Use a small paintbrush to get into the gaps between the slats and ensure no timber is left raw.

Step 2. Join the crates

Position the four crates with a long side down so the openings face out. Butt one end of each crate against the base of the next to form a square with a centre void. Join the crates through the base slats with screws.

Step 3. Cut the MDF

Measure the top of the crate assembly then mark and cut two pieces of 9mm thick MDF to size using a circular saw. One piece will be used as the base of the ottoman and the other used as a base for the seat pad.

Step 4. Paint the bases

Apply primer and two coats of acrylic to the MDF bases with a roller, using a brush on the edges, then leave to dry. Turn the crate assembly upside down and position the MDF base, securing into the slats using screws.

Step 5. Secure the castors

Mark the hole positions for the castors in the corners on the MDF base, positioned at least 30mm from the edges. Secure the castors to the base using the supplied screws and a cordless drill.

Step 6. Attach the seat pad

Position the seat pad face down with the crate assembly on top. Secure it from inside with 20mm x 8g screws. 
TIP If the slats are less than 12mm thick, use shorter screws so they don’t poke through the foam.

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