Tuesday, June 19, 2012

DIY Upholstered Headboard

Don't you just love the look of an upholstered headboard!

Lorraine Tufted Headboard

Camden Tufted Headboard
They are just absolutely beautiful! I am a sucker for the diamond tufting, and the curves, oh the curves!  I was getting rather tired of our wooden bed with spindles.  It was terribly uncomfortable to rest your back against, and honestly it looked rather dated. 

I have been wanting an upholstered headboard for awhile now, but I can just imagine what my hubby would have said when I showed him the price tag of these beautiful headboards from pottery barn and ballard designs.  So, I decided, yet again, that I would look on-line to see what I could find for a tutorial on making my own upholstered headboard.  Keep in mind, I had never upholstered anything, well not successfully!

I found some fantastic websites that gave step-by-step instructions on how to make my own headboard.  So, I showed my hubby the tutorials, and he thought we could handle making one.  Rather than recreate the wheel, I thought I would provide you with the various blogs we referenced when making our headboard.  Check out:   Centsational Girl, Addicted2Decorating, Markovadesign, Bejane, and jenwoodhouse.

Honestly, I read these tutorials over and over again, and took bits and pieces of info. from each one, as my hubby and I began making our upholstered headboard.  Please note:  you will need to have a second person help you when you begin the button tufting process, it makes things a lot easier.

First things first, I wanted a very basic, solid, timeless fabric for my headboard.  I ended up going with 10 oz. Bull Denim in Natural.  I ordered it from, as they have great prices, and your order ships free if it's over $35.  It was only $8/yard, and it was 60 inches wide, which was super important, as you really want the fabric to be as wide as possible, so that you don't have to sew two pieces together to get it to cover your headboard.  60 inches was more than adequate for our queen-sized headboard.  I ordered 3.5 yards, but I really would have been fine with 2.5-3 yards of fabric.  I wasn't sure how much fabric it would take to cover all the buttons, but it really took very little fabric.

The next step was to decide upon the style of the headboard.  I knew I wanted it to be diamond tufted, but what shape.  At first we opted for the rectangular shape, as it would be easy to cut, but then after my hubby made the rounded edges on the rectangle, I thought it looked a bit too contemporary for me.  I am so TRADITIONAL!  So, we decided to go with the shape of our existing headboard (refer to that lovely photo above)

We then headed to Home Depot to get our OSB for the actual headboard.  We opted to buy a full sheet 1/2 inch thick.  Some of the blogs I read said you could use 1/4" but we wanted to make sure it would be sturdy enough.  Once we got it home, we then took our existing headboard and traced the shape of it against the OSB.  Then my hubby used his saw and cut along the traced lines to create a beautiful curvy frame, and to cut it to the appropriate height and width (which varies depending upon how big your bed is i.e. twin, queen, king). 

The next step was to figure out how far apart we wanted the buttons to be from each other and how far apart we wanted the rows to be.  My hubby is an engineer so I left the calculating up to him.  He then used a marker and marked where each button would be by making a small circle.  He then marked where the buttons would be on the diagonal with an X.  Once this was finished, he used his drill and drilled holes through the OSB where each of the buttons would go. 

We then bought some spray adhesive and sprayed that onto the OSB, to then place the 2" thick foam onto.  Now, I ended up ordering my foam on-line.  I didn't want to mess with buying and adhering 2 or more pieces to the headboard to cover it.  Instead I ordered a sheet of foam, large enough to cover the entire headboard.  This was the biggest expense of the project:  $52. 

So we adhered the foam to the headboard, and then used an electric carving knife to trim off the excess foam, particularly around the curved edges.  It worked like a charm.  Foam is not easy to cut, but the electric carving knife worked beautifully. Thanks Michelle (friend and neighbor) for letting us borrow your knife!  My hubby then cut holes through the foam with  a piece of conduit, 1" in diameter, to allow for the buttons to somewhat fall into the holes to give the tufting a deeper look and feel. 

Next, I needed the buttons.  We calculated that I would need to cover 35 buttons.  I opted to buy them on-line as it was cheaper.  I bought 7/8" also referred to as size 36 buttons. They came 3 to a package so I ordered 13 of them, with a few extras just in case.   I choose to get the half ball cover buttons, as my fabric was thick and didn't work well with the other type. 

Now, it did take some time to cut the circles of fabric out and then to wrap them around each button, but like another blog suggested, do it when you are watching a movie.  It's much like knitting, if you know what I mean.  The other essential tool that I purchased was an upholstery needle.  I wasn't really sure which size would work best to I opted to get a kit.  I found the 6" and 8" needles to work the best.  You need something long enough to feed through the board, foam, batting and fabric.  Don't forget the upholstery thread either.

I really wish I had taken photos along the way, but I didn't.  Sorry!

Once the buttons were all covered, we laid the OSB (otherwise known as the headboard) on two saw horses.  We covered the board with the foam attached with a double layer of high-loft batting, which you can get at Joann Fabrics.  So, just lay the batting right on top of the foam.  Make sure your batting is wide and long enough to staple it to the back side of the headboard when the time comes to do so!  Next lay the fabric over the batting, making sure to straighten out any wrinkles.  I actually ironed my fabric prior to placing it atop the batting. 

I followed the instructions on threading the needle and of course feeding it down through the fabric. I cut a relatively long piece of thread, doubled it up, and then fed it through the eye on the back of the button.  I then tied it so the knot fell right on the eye of the button.    My hubby laid on the floor between the two saw horses and used another upholstery needle to stick it up through the pre-drilled holes and then through the batting and fabric, so I would then know where to feed my threaded needle down through.  It worked wonderfully.  Every now and again I would have to fish around to find the pre-drilled hole, but it took out a lot of the guess work. 

Once I fed the needle and thread down through, my hubby grabbed the end of the needle (well not the pointy, sharp part), and continued to pull it all the way through to the back.  He then slipped the thread off the needle, and then began stapling.  You have to staple once, then make a zig-zag pattern, stapling each time you do a zig-zag.  This just prevents your thread from slipping out of the staples.  If you have an electric stapler/nail gun, that would work the best.  We actually had a bit of trouble, as our electric staple gun didn't like working upright.  It would shoot a lot of bad staples or jam.

Some blogs suggested you do the buttons on the down rows first, and then go back and work horizontally, but I'm not convinced that is necessary.  Though, one thing I did learn (the hard way) is you don't want to push the buttons down hard and deep, as you are stapling the thread to the backside, as you will have no extra fabric to make the pleats that you need in order to give it that deep tufted look.  Just gently press down on the buttons as the thread is being stapled on the back, and as you start to work on the diagonals (which is where the magic of the button tufting becomes evident), make sure you form those pleats before adhering the next button.  Make sure, as well, that all of your pleats are going in the same direction!  Once this was done, 35 times it looked great!

The last and final step was to pull the batting and fabric taut around all edges of the headboard.  Keep in mind, you need to make pleats on the outside edges where ever there is a button.  You can choose to do one straight pleat coming out of the button to over the side and then secure the fabric to the back with a staple or two, or you can make two diagonal pleats coming out of the button and then wrap the fabric around to the back and staple it.  It's totally whatever is your preference! 

You must then go all the way around the headboard pulling the fabric taut and stapling that and the batting to the back of the headboard.  We stapled the heck out of it, so to ensure it wasn't going anywhere.  The curves on the top of the headboard can be a bit tricky, as the fabric tends to want to bunch up there, but we just cut any extra fabric that was in the way, or cut slits in the fabric to make it easier for us to staple it down without any bunching.  The end result was beautiful.

For some reason everytime I took a picture of the headboard it came out blurry, no matter what setting I had it on.  Sorry about that, but you get a visual now.  I just bought Pottery Barn's Amelia Quilt and Shams in Porcelain Blue off Ebay, and will post pictures of the completed look when I get a chance.