How To: DIY Tufted Headboard

Charissa's February Jumpstart Project 2009

Title: DIY Tufted Headboard
Name: Charissa
Time: 6 hours
Cost: $110

Charissa took on a big project and she rocked it! The results are wonderful and her directions make us feel like even we could pull it off... Jump below for all the details:

TOOLS & SUPPLIES:
1/2" Plywood
1x4" Lumber
Foam (at least 2" thick)
Polyester Batting Upholstery
Fabric
Upholstery Thread
Upholstery Needle
Button Kit and Buttons
Scissors
Spray Adhesive
Wood screws
Bolts

Staple Gun and 1/2" Staples
Tape measure
Drill Hammer
Optional but helpful: Rubber Mallet Electric Knife

STEPS:
Step 1: Take Measurements Width: Measure the width of your bed frame. The headboard should be about 1" or 2" larger in width than your mattress. Height: This is up to you. If you are planning on leaning against it while in bed make sure it is tall enough. Measure from the top of the mattress to the height you want the headboard to be. The legs should be about 2" above the floor and within 5" of the top of the headboard.

Step 2: Buy Your Supplies: You can buy plywood in large sheets. Have the hardware store cut it to size. (Most stores will do this for free.) The sheet probably won't lay exactly flat, but it isn't a big deal. Buy your 1x4's and have them cut as well. You may know of a better source for foam but I bought mine at JoAnn fabrics for 50% off. I had to buy two pieces because their foam only comes in one width and this accounted for about half the money spent on the project. When buying your batting and fabric, make sure you have enough to wrap around the front and secure to the back. (I wouldn't recommend a patterned fabric for your first try.)

Step 3: Put It All Together:
1. Find a clean, well-ventilated work area.
2. Determine how many buttons you will use and where you want them to go. (Just a heads up the tufting was by far the most time consuming part.) Mark the board and drill small holes. (Just small enough for the upholstery needle to pass through, this will help keep the buttons lined up.)
3. Lay the plywood down and spray one side with adhesive and adhere the foam. Cut off any excess foam so that it is exactly flush with the plywood. There should be no overlap. (This is where that electric knife comes in handy.)
4. Spray the foam with adhesive and hold one side of the batting while your friend holds the other side and pull taut. Place on top of foam. Make sure there is no puckering because it will show through the fabric.
5. Flip the plywood, foam and batting over and lay it flat on the ground. Wrap the batting around to the backside and staple in place.
6. Lay fabric on the floor wrong side facing up. Place plywood, batting side down, on top of fabric. Wrap fabric around to the back of the headboard, pull tightly and start stapling, working from the middle of each side outward. Trim any excess with scissors.
7. Use the button covering kit to cover your buttons. (Look online for tutorials.) This part is a pain. The smaller the button, the more difficult it is to cover them. (A rubber mallet will be helpful. I ruined my button maker with a hammer.)
8. Double thread your upholstery needle with upholstery thread and poke through one of your pre-drilled holes from the back to the front. Don't pull all the way through! Make sure to leave some thread hanging out of the back. Slide the button onto the thread and poke the needle back through the same hole. Push the button on the front of your headboard into the foam while your friend tightly secures the thread on the back with a bunch of staples. You will need a hammer to bang in the staples, so that the thread will stay secure. (There is probably a better way to secure the thread but this is how I did it.)
9. Continue along and tuft each of your holes, smoothing the fabric as you go.
10. Measure and attach 1x4's to the back of the headboard with screws. Place the headboard against the bed frame and bolt 1x4's (one on each side) to pre-existing holes in the bed frame.
11. Step back and admire your work.

RESOURCES:
If you have a Joann Fabrics in the area, this is the place to buy most of your supplies. I was able to get my fabric, foam, and batting for 50% off. Most of the other supplies can be bought with one of their 40% off coupons.

Give Charissa a THUMBS UP if you find this project helpful....

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Janel Laban is the Executive Editor of Apartment Therapy and has been working here, at the dreamiest of dream jobs, since March 2006.