Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How To... Make a tufted headboard

Remember last month when I mentioned that I told J I'd finish a project before starting another?  Well the new project I had in mind was an upholstered headboard for our bed.  Our bed is against a window, and the windowsill tends to dig into my back when I try to sit up in bed and read blogs.  J had an old wooden headboard hanging out in our overflow guest/storage room upstairs, so I decided to use that for the base.  I added the headboard to our bed for a couple weeks to get a feel for height, and studied up on how to make the transformation.

Let me stop here and say, if you want to tackle a project like this, you need to go read Jenny's tutorial at Little Green Notebook here (and the post she links to in that post).  I followed her directions pretty closely, and when I reached out with questions via email, she responded quickly and most helpfully!

So in pictures, here's what we did to take this (yes, it's turned on its side):
to this:

First, I cut down the legs to bring the headboard to about ten inches above the mattress.  Because we're in front of a window, I didn't want something taller.  If J had a footboard with this bedroom set, I probably would have used it, instead!

Then I sketched out some options to give J an idea of what I had in mind.  We decided to go with one row of buttons (so pretty basic tufting) with large buttons.  Here are the sketches I showed J (No, this one shouldn't be on it's side...) and after playing with some other options, we chose the one on the left below.

So then I cut the foam and laid out the project.  We used two kinds of foam:  3" foam for the main part of the headboard and 1" foam rolled into a 4 " roll to create the looked of a rolled headboard.  Those were pieced together like this so that it was a smooth transition:

I measured out where the buttons would go and marked the headboard and foam (um...with gel food coloring...my pen wouldn't work and I was doing this part in the kitchen...  Don't laugh.  It worked.)

Then I just drilled the holes in the headboard, attached the foam and wrapped everything in batting to further smooth the edges (a step I apparently managed not to photograph).

And then I went shopping.  I couldn't make up my mind, and ended up making multiple trips to multiple stores in an effort to find inspiration.  I ended up stumbling across a bolt of light blue duck fabric in the very back of JoAnns.  It goes well with the slightly modern (aka Ikea) masculine look we've got in this room.

I made buttons (well, J made most of them while we learned how to make covered buttons), carved out the holes in the foam per Jenny's instructions, and got to work.  I should tell you, this part was harder than I expected.  Not hard, mind you, just more than I thought.  I took it apart a couple times, and may still do that once more.  I can definitely see why having an assistant help out is a good idea.  Unfortunately, Zep just wasn't as helpful as, say, someone with opposable thumbs would have been.

I started with one of the center buttons (I have a total of eight) and then measured across to be sure I maintained somewhat even spacing.  
It looks like this in the back, and I completely followed Jenny's instructions here.  I'd also recommend doing the stapling flat against the ground (or employing more muscle when stapling).  I ended up hammering in each staple to hold the thread.

After I got all of the buttons in, it looked like this:

Then I started the process of pleating the extra fabric and stapling it in place.  Quite frankly, I think this is where I went wrong.  If I were to redo this (which may happen yet), I'd plot the points out on the fabric first and iron in the pleats before starting the tufting process.  Anyhow, here is how it looked after stapling the fabric across the bottom (yes, I trimmed the thread and added more staples before pretending I was done):

And then after wrestling for hours (days?) with the top.  As you can probably see, there isn't enough extra fabric to make great pleats over the top of the headboard.

After consulting facebook, I decided to go ahead and install the headboard and live with it for a while.  If I decide I hate it, or if it gets dirty, I'll take it apart and try out my pre-ironing project.  In the meantime, I really love it.  I've leaned against it several times in the last week and it works exactly as I'd hoped.  It's a touch taller than I'd planned, which is a bit of a problem with the blind, but not so much that I've been bothered.

So here we are--a finished, tufted, upholstered headboard!

Oh, and the white stripe across the headboard is my iphone charger.  It's convenient, and y'all know I don't stage my photos!

What projects have you tackled lately?  Since I finished this "new" project, now I have to finish an "old" project before starting another.  I think the built-ins in the library are up next for us!


Becky said...

Really, the built-ins??! I may pay money to see that done...and I daresay J would too ;)

Anonymous said...

VERY nicely done, punkin! Maybe you should button-tuft the built-ins?