You will need
1 Wash the table with sugar soap and dry it. Paint it with universal undercoat and leave to dry overnight. Now paint it with enamel paint – we used Plascon Velvaglo in Rose Mallow P7-B2-2. Leave to dry before applying another coat. You don’t need to paint the top.
2 Make a paper template of the table top and mark where you will need to drill the holes for the buttons. We chose a diamond pattern of five buttons. Also mark the position of the legs so that you don’t unintentionally place buttons there.
3 Use the tip of the drill to make a dent through the paper template into the wood where you need to drill the holes in the table top. Remove the paper and drill the holes – we used an 8mm drill bit.
4 Get your piece of sponge ready – ours was 50mm thick and was cut by a sponge supplier according to our paper template – and smear wood glue all over the table top. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully if you use contact glue.
5 Press the sponge firmly in place. Use your marker and ruler to mark where the sponge must be cut away to ensure rounded edges: halfway up the sides (25mm in our case) and the same distance inwards from the top edge. While you wait for the glue to dry completely, cover your buttons with small pieces of your fabric.
6 Using a sharp craft knife cut away the edges of the sponge at an angle of 45 degrees, following the lines that you drew.
TIP Place a layer of wadding between the sponge and fabric to create softer edges.
7 Now cut your upholstery fabric – take into account the amount of fabric that will need to be folded over and stapled over the sides as well as the height of the table top, the thickness of the sponge and the pulling in of the buttons. Place the fabric on the sponge and staple it down with one staple from underneath so it doesn’t move around while you work.
8 Cut a length of nylon thread about 60cm long, fold it double and thread the folded end through the eye of your upholstery needle so you have a twice-doubled length of thread. Begin in the middle and stick the needle from underneath up through the hole and the top of the sponge. Thread on a button and return the needle through the hole to the underside of the table.
9 Turn the table on its side or upside down, depending on what is easiest for you, and pull the yarn at the bottom tight so that the button makes an indentation on the top and creases form in the fabric.
10 Tie the ends of the thread together and stick a screwdriver through the loop that is formed; it is easier to pull the threads tight this way than it is with just your hands. Pull them tight against the base of the table top and staple them down.
11 Pull the threads back over the staple and staple again. Repeat this a few times in a criss-cross way and then hammer the staples in deeper, to make certain they are secure. Repeat this process with the other buttons.
12 Fold the fabric neatly around the legs and staple it securely to the underside of the table top, as close as possible to the edge.
13 Remove the temporary staple. Staple the rest of the fabric to the underside of the table, overlapping it. Pull the fabric so it is tight and neaten the creases around the buttons as you staple.
14 Trim away any excess fabric around the staples.
15 Use a glue gun to stick the cord over the staples on the top edge of the legs to finish the seat off.
TIP You can also use this technique to upholster a headboard.
Text and images: Ideas magazine