~The Complete How-To…~
As promised, I’m sharing a full tutorial for my DIY Tufted Headboard today. On Monday, I showed you the finished product. I’m sorry that I didn’t just go ahead and share the tutorial then, but Sunday was Mother’s Day and I just didn’t have the time to get it written up properly. Sometimes there are just not enough hours in the day…or at least it seems that way!
Anyways, today I’m going to share the steps and there are plenty of pictures to go with them…
This is my third DIY headboard and I’ll be honest when I say that I really like making them. My husband thinks I should take orders for them and sell them. For now, I’ll just share the how-to…
- 1/4″ to 1/2″ sheet of plywood, cut to size
- 2″ thick foam
- staple gun
- spray adhesive
- button cover kit and refills
- tapestry needle
- thick thread or cord
When choosing the size of plywood that you need, I suggest measuring your mattress. The king bed frame that I was using in my master bedroom measured 80″ wide. But, since my DIY headboard was going to be hung on the wall, I wanted it to sit evenly with the mattress. If it was wider than the mattress, you would see the excess headboard, and without legs it would look odd. Can you see how the headboard lines up with the mattress?
The mattress was 76″ wide, so I headed to Lowe’s for my plywood. Their plywood sheets are 8′ long, but they will cut it to size for you. Because I wanted to create my version of Pottery Barn’s Tall Lorraine headboard, I went with the 4′ x 8′ sheet and had it cut to measure 48″ x 76″. I also chose the 1/4″ thick piece of plywood for two reasons…the 1/4″ is not as heavy as the 1/2″ and the guy at Lowe’s let me have the piece for $15 because one end of the plywood was broken and splintered. That wasn’t a problem because it was getting trimmed. The splintered end was cut off. That saved me over $10.
I will say that my husband thought I should have went with the 1/2″ because it would have been sturdier. But, for me it’s not a problem because it’s on the wall and nothing is attached to it in any way. I think the 1/4″ is fine, but you should go with the thickness that you think would be best for you.
Once you have your plywood, it’s time to calculate the measurements of your buttons. I knew that I wanted 6 rows of buttons. I also wanted the rows of buttons to alternate between having 6 buttons and 5 buttons. The top row would have 6 buttons…the second row would have 5…the third would have 6…etc.
I hope I don’t confuse you on this next part…math is not my strong subject!
I didn’t want to work with odd numbers, so I grabbed the calculator and played with the numbers until I came up with this:
- At the top row, the first button would be 5 1/2″ down and 5 1/2″ over.
- Then each button would have 13″ between them.
- For the second row, the first button would be 12″ over and 6 1/2″ down from the first row.
- Then each button on the second row would have 13″ between them.
In other words, the 2nd, 4th and 6th rows would be exactly half way between the 1st, 3rd and 5th rows both up and down. Does that make sense?
I would suggest talking yourself through it and drawing it out on paper.
Once you have your measurements, mark the points on your plywood with an X. Measure twice to make sure they’re correct.
Drill a small hole at each X.
Next, you will adhere your 2″ foam on the other side of the plywood using spray adhesive. You can find your foam at JoAnn Fabric Stores. You can buy it by the yard or in packaged pieces. The day I went to JoAnn, the foam was 50%. If you’ve ever bought foam, you know that if it’s 50% off, you should get it! The foam is usually the most expensive part of this project.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have enough of the foam by the yard that day, so I had to buy the 22″ x 22″ squares and piece them together on the plywood. Not a problem at all. Just spray on the adhesive and lay on the foam pieces like a puzzle.
Depending on the design, you may want to actually fold the foam over the edges of the plywood. I wanted this headboard to have a nice square frame, so I chose to line the foam up with the edges of the plywood. I wanted the lines to be a little crisper. If you do choose to take the foam over the edge of the plywood, you would want to staple it on the back as well as using the spray adhesive on the front.
After the spray adhesive is dry, you will create some “holes” in the foam for the buttons. Using a sharp tool, poke through the foam, entering from the holes that were drilled on the back of the plywood. I used a meat thermometer…sometimes you have to use what you got!
After the holes have been poked through, use a knife to cut away a small section of the foam. This will allow you to push the buttons deeper, creating the tufts.
After all the holes have been created in the foam, you will wrap the entire front of the frame with batting. The batting will wrap around the edges, so this will add a little softness to the frame. Because it’s not very thick, the square frame will still be maintained.
You will lay it over the foam, wrap it over the edges of the plywood and staple it to the back.
For the fabric, I used a curtain panel by Threshold, from Target. It measured 54″ wide and 84″ long. I love the color and the texture! It was the exact look that I wanted for the headboard.
I did let out the hem to give me as much fabric as possible. When you create the tufts, you will be using more fabric than if you were simply wrapping the fabric straight across the frame.
I centered the fabric on the frame and secured it with a few staples in the center and sides. I needed the fabric to be stable while I worked on the tufts. FYI, you will do a lot of removing staples, re-stapling, removing staples, re-stapling. You’ll be doing that while you’re working with the fabric and creating the tufting. You’ll want to adjust the tightness, etc.
Before we get to the tufting, let’s talk buttons… You can create your own fabric covered buttons with a Button Cover Kit and refills. You can find them at any sewing store. They are a bit expensive. They average about $1 each. Considering I needed 33, that adds up fast. Luckily, I found them at Hancock’s Fabrics for 50% off!
The buttons are very easy to make and the kit comes with easy to follow instructions. I’ll let you reference them for the how-to on the buttons.
Once you have the buttons finished, you will want to thread each one with multiple strands of the heavy-duty thread. You want the thread to be strong because the buttons will be pulled tight against the foam. I actually threaded four 12″ strands through the button back. Then I threaded both ends of the thread through the tapestry needle. The more strands you use, the stronger the tuft and button will be on the headboard. It just seemed easier to work with when I used more strands of thread.
For each button, take your tapestry needle and insert it through the drilled hole in the back of the headboard to “poke” the fabric. This will show you where to actually insert the needle through the front of the headboard.
You will insert the threaded needle through the front of the fabric and then through the hole in the plywood. While holding the button in one hand, gently pull the tapestry needle through the hole, which will also pull the ends of the thread through the hole. Remove the needle and hold the thread in your hand.
It’s best to have an assistant at this point. If you don’t have someone who can help, you can get a little creative…
Have your helper take the handle of a hammer and push the button into the foam. You will then pull the thread and begin stapling the threads to the plywood. The only way to really get the button into the foam, for good tufts, is to have them pushed in tight. If you try to push with your hand or with just the threads, there is no way to get a tight tuft.
I’ll share how I had to do it when I was minus a helper…
I placed the hammer against the wall, pushed from the back with my shoulder and pulled…again…sometimes, you have to do what you have to do!
For the stapling of the threads you will want to pull up…staple…pull down…staple…pull up…staple…pull down…staple…
Continue to staple until the threads do not loosen when you let go of them.
You’ll end up with a lot of staples and you may have to remove some and re-staple if your tufts do not seem to be at the same depth. You’ll want to check your work as you go, making sure the tufts are looking how you wish.
After all your buttons are on and your tufts are set, you will then do your last stapling of the fabric around the frame. For the corners, you can fold them however you’d like. Because I wanted this headboard to have a clean square design, I pulled the top piece of fabric down and then the side.
Just to give the back a clean look, I covered the back of the frame with some left over drop cloth fabric that I had from another project. You could also use a sheet or any other fabric. This will also cover the staples and give your walls some extra protection from getting scratched.
To hang the headboard, I used one of my favorite products…
These french cleats can be found at Lowe’s. They come in two sizes. I chose the larger size because the headboard itself is so large. Each large Picture Hanging System holds up to 200 lbs, so no worries about it hanging on the wall.
One piece of the cleat is attached to the headboard and the other piece is attached to the wall. I attached the cleats on the headboard at 5″ down from the top. Again, you’ll want to use those math skills to get them equal and level. I enlisted my husband’s help with the calculations.
I wanted the bottom of the headboard to fall a little below the top of the mattress. When you look at the bed, without bedding, you don’t want to see the bottom of the headboard and especially no wall space. You want it to look as if the mattress is attached to the headboard.
The headboard hangs perfectly flat on the wall, centered between my two wall sconces. It’s at the perfect height and looks grand with its full 48 inches. A tall headboard is substantial and creates a beautiful focal point for the room.
Thanks so much for the positive feedback and I hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
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