Killy & Oliver's Handmade Tufted Headboard

Killy & Oliver's Handmade Tufted Headboard

Janel Laban
Jul 6, 2010

Killy sent us in the step by step story on this great-looking headboard. She is a regular Apartment Therapy reader and says that she found Charissa's Headboard How-To helpful while planning her own project. Here is the scoop, in her own words: My husband (Oliver) and I recently made a tufted headboard for our bedroom. We live in a small one bedroom (under 400 square feet) apartment in South Harlem (New York City) and most store-bought headboards are too thick and the legs they come with add too much depth…

So, we decided make one that attached directly to the wall. It has dramatically changed the look and feel of the room - we love it!

We had considered creating a more decorative shape for the headboard, but decided to stick with a simple rectangle for our first attempt at upholstery (and it cut costs a bit). We figured tufting would add an element of complexity, as well. We originally thought we would spruce up the room with a patterned fabric, and while the options were endless at the various shops in the garment district, none of them screamed, "this is it," until we happened on rolls of burlap at Mood Fabrics, for $4 a yard. BINGO! Our bedroom already had a beachy feel to it, and burlap would be a fun and affordable alternative to a more traditional fabric headboard. Because the fabric was so well-priced, we were able to spend a little more on the rope-covered buttons for tufting, which we also found at Mood - we got nine for $4 each.

We had local cabinetmaker Roman Kolbusz (rkcustomfurniture{at}yahoo{dot}com) cut a piece of mdf down to size for us and deliver it to our apartment. This is something we would have done ourselves, had we the means to get a big piece of material home without a vehicle (even a $60+ cab ride wouldn't have helped in this situation!) and space for a skill saw and sawhorses in order to cut said material into a 54"x30" rectangle. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why New York City Home Depots do not cut material down. They would make a killing, since most people don't have space to do their own cutting!

Anyway, Roman was kind enough to put cleats on the back of the board, which would make hanging the headboard later a cinch. We marked where the buttons would go and pre-drilled holes prior to beginning the upholstering process. We bought 2" thick foam and two yards of quilt batting from Daytona Trimming. We took the foam and mdf up to our building's shared roof deck in order to spray mount the foam to the board without inhaling intense fumes and/or making our entire apartment a sticky mess. Then we carted the materials back downstairs to our apartment and pulled the batting over the foam and staple-gunned it on. After securing the batting, we stapled on a piece of heavy-starched cotton lining to prevent the fuzzy batting from poking through the open weaves of the burlap.

After stapling on the burlap, and cleaning up the back of the board a bit, we began the tufting process. We used four pieces of upholstery thread, pulled the buttons as tight as we could and secured them to the back of the board by tying them around short wood screws. We mounted it to the wall, and I styled the room a bit for photos. We are so happy with the final result!

Thanks, Killy!

Killy is an interior designer and her husband is a graphic designer/artist who run a small company together - Frisson - and blog about it at The Studiolo. Check out both of their links:
The Studiolo

Images: Killy Sheer Paradis/Frisson

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