Making something out of an item that had a totally different purpose originally is not only great for the planet, but very satisfying! Making things with your hands creates a unique home, one that has your stamp, and it allows you to get into a creative flow that is good for your mental health. There are ideas everywhere if you just open your eyes to the possibilities. We have a very cool upcycled tie ottoman project for you from one of our community, Annette. She has a great Facebook page where she shares her creations here.
How to make an Upcycled Tie Ottoman
I love old neckties. I don’t think I’ve ever seen two the same – apart from my old high school uniform, which had a brown tunic, pale yellow shirt and brown tie. That uniform was just horrid. Whenever I’m in an op shop I always look at the ties on offer and marvel at the colours and patterns. I’d been collecting ties for a while when I was asked to make some upcycled ottoman covers for the Sydney office of WWF Australia. I’d been given the dimensions of the ottomans and a return to high school maths (minus the uniform) helped me work out the exact number of ties I’d require – 60 in total. I put the call out to friends and within a week I had a mountain of ties in a satisfying mix of gaudy, stripey, touristy and floral.
Step 1: Dimensions & number of ties
To work out how many ties you’ll need. First you need the dimensions of the finished circle. I wanted the ends of the ties to drape over the ottoman, so the finished product needed to be a bigger circle than the ottoman itself. Using the radius of the circle you can work out the final circumference using the formula:
C = 2 π r (circumference = 2 x Pi x radius)
Remember from high school maths, that Pi = 3.14
So if the radius of your circle is 43cm, then the circumference of the circle is 2 x 3.14 x 40 = 270cm.
On average, each tie measured 9cm at the wide part of the end. So by dividing the circumference by the width of each tie, I could work out how many ties I needed.
Circumference of 270cm divided by width of each tie at 9cm, equals 30 ties required.
Step 2: Prepare the ties
Cut the ties to the correct length for the radius of the circle. Unpick each tie to remove the inner lining and stiffening fabric. This will make stitching them together much easier as there is less bulk to sew through.
Step 3: Underlay
Cut an underlay out of medium-weight fabric, such as calico or cotton. The underlay should be a slightly smaller circle than what the finished product will be.
Step 4: Design
Arrange the ties in a circle, overlapping by no more than 1cm at the rim. Pin to the underlay.
Step 5: Stitch
Stitch the ties to the underlay. Begin the stitching from the centre of the circle, along the radius, to the outer edge. Finish off at the outer edge with backstitch. As you progress, you may need to cut away excess bulk from the centre of the circle, ensuring still that the ties overlap correctly.
Step 6: Close tie ends
Slip stitch / hand stitch closed the ends of the ties around the circumference, i.e. the part where you opened the tie to remove the inner lining now needs to be closed again.
Step 7: Padding
Cut a circle of padding (I used an old woollen blanket) the same size as the underlay and roughly hand stitch to the underlay.
Step 8: Centre
Use a deconstructed tie (or perhaps another fabric) to create a shape to sit in the centre of the circle where the ties meet. Pin into place, machine stitch. Note – you’ll be stitching through quite a thickness here so go slowly and use a heavy weight needle if possible.
Step 9: Backing
Cut a piece of medium/heavy weight fabric (such as drill cotton, or even felt) as a slightly larger circle than the underlay/padding. Overlock or bias bind the edge; if you use felt, you won’t need to do this. Handstitch to the underside of your tie circle, ensuring not to stitch through to the front side.
Step 10: Ta Dah!
You’re finished! Admire your handiwork.
Thank you for sharing this great project Annette! If you have a go at it we would love to see the results! And if you have a crafty or upcycled project to share, please get in touch