Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tufted Headboard

Probably the one thing that I get the most comments on is the tufted headboard in my bedroom.  I really liked the headboard that I already had in there, but it kind of seemed like it was too much dark brown because the dresser and the nightstand were also the same color.  All of it together made the room appear smaller.  Plus it didn't quiiiiite fit with the look that I was going for in there:


I started collecting supplies for the project weeks in advance.  In case you didn't know, foam is VERY expensive...the thicker it is, the more $$ you're going to have to fork over.  The 2'' thick stuff that I got is originally $35/yard (and 24'' wide).  I waited until it was 50% off at Joann's, and then used an additional 10% off coupon, so it was fairly reasonable.  The white fabric that covers the headboard was actually fabric that is used for lining curtains I think.  It is the really wide fabric (64''?) that you find in the upholstery section of the store, and it was also 50% when I got it (so it was only $6/yard or something like that).  Other supplies that were used:  quilt batting, plywood, button covers, staple gun (heavy duty), long upholstery needles, thick thread, a jig saw (to cut the plywood if you don't want a square shaped headboard), and a drill.  If you do crafty stuff on a regular basis, I highly recommend  signing up to get coupons from all of the major craft stores around you...I have saved sooo much money that way. 

The thickness of the plywood that you get depends on whether or not you're going to attach the headboard to the bedframe itself, or hang the headboard on the wall.  Since I was going to be attaching it to the bedframe, I opted for thicker plywood (3/4'' - 1'').  I cut the wood to shape (length/width), and then brought it to the bedframe to sketch out where I would need to drill holes for the screws to attach it to the bed.  To cut the notches out of the top of the wood, I sketched them on wrapping paper first, and then used the paper as the guide.  This ensured that both curves on either side of the headboard were equally shaped. 

The spaces of the holes for the tufts were dictated by how many button covers I had, and how it looked when I layed everything out.  I spaced the rows out using long pieces of masking tape on the plywood that I drew on with a marker; this allowed me to adjust the height between the rows slightly without having the remeasure each mark every time I stepped back and decided that it looked a little funny.  After I had the hole placements layed out, I drilled the holes using a large drill bit.  I didn't bother taking the masking tape off. 

After I had the wood cut and drilled to my satisfaction, I brought it back inside and layed it out on the dining room table.  I layed the foam down on the wood, and cut it to size using a razor blade.  The foam should be exactly the size of the plywood.  It should NOT hang over the edges.  Then, I used an old curtain rod to cut holes in the foam so that I could still see the holes that I had drilled for tufts.  You know how the curtain rod slides out into two pieces?  Slide the one side out from the other.  One of the edges should be pretty sharp...put it on the foam and push down and rotate in circles at the same time.  After a few rotations, you should be able to lift up and see that you have cut a perfect circle in the foam right over your pre-drilled hole. 

After I was done cutting the circles in the foam, I layed out several layers (2-3) of batting over the top of the foam, and wrapped it around the edges of the wood and stapled it on the back of the plywood. 

You will also need to cut the batting over the holes that you have already made.  I did this with scissors, and made little "x" cuts in the batting over the foam holes.  The reason why you bother with the holes in the foam and the batting is that you want your covered buttons to be able to "sink" down in and give the headboard the nice tufted look, and it can't do that if there is a whole bunch of foam and batting in the way!  


Next I laid out my fabric.  I wrapped it around the edges of the headboard and put a few staples in there to hold it loosely.  Keep in mind that as you tuft, the buttons will sink down and require some extra fabric.  If you stretch everything tight to begin with, you won't have a lot of extra fabric, and it may make your tufts look shallow, or prevent them from being able to sink down in. 

Next, I grabbed a longer upholstery needle and threaded it up.  You are going to want THICK thread, or else it will break.  I bought some thread that is used for embroidery, and then tripled it up through the needle.  I pushed the needle through the back side of the plywood and then tried my best to get it through the foam and batting holes that I had already cut.  I stapled the loose end of the thread using a couple of staples.  Since the plywood was pretty hard, the staples didn't exactly want to go in there very easily, but I needed them to hold the thread because I was going to be pulling on it in a few minutes.  After I got the needle poking through the top of the headboard, I threaded one of my pre-made buttons, and then poked the need back through the layers.  I pushed down on the button as I was pulling the needle and thread back through layers.  This helped to ensure that the buttons went nice and deep into the foam, and also put less stress on the thread.  After getting the needle through the plywood hole, I stapled the thread multiple times in a zig-zag fashion.  (see above picture!)  I trimmed the thread and then repeated the process about 25 more times! 


After I was done tufting, I wrapped the fabric around to the back of the headboard and stapled it in place. 

Tips: Start in the center of the headboard and work your way outward as you tuft.  That way you know that you'll have plenty of fabric for each tuft and won't run out!  If you're making a full headbaord, you don't need to tuft the section that hides below the mattress.  I also sprayed some Scotch Guard on the headboard before I put it up...the hubby is an auto mechanic, and I didn't want to take any chances since all he has to do it LOOK at something white, and it gets dirty! 


Overall, it took me about 8 hours to do a full-sized headboard. I could definitely do it faster now that I've already done it once.  And of course, it always goes faster if you have someone helping you!   It also cost me less than $100 in supplies, which is way cheaper than trying to buy one from a store, because you're going to pay at LEAST $300, and it might not even be the shape/fabric/style that you want.  A lot of ones that I've seen don't have deep tufts, and I really wanted something that had some character to it!


Woo! I LOVE the end result.  I think that it really gives the room some character and almost a whimsy look. 

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