Upholstered Headboard

One of my very first DIY projects was a padded headboard.  At the time I was a college student who had inherited my parent’s king size bed with no frame or headboard.  I hate not having a headboard, so I took my sister to Home Depot to purchase a piece of plywood and to Jo-Ann Fabrics to get some batting and fabric.  Between my sister, mom and I, we managed to make this lovely thing in under an hour. 

It was functional, but it wasn’t much to look at!  After I got married, I was determined to find some new fabric for the incredibly heavy little guy.  I REALLY wanted a cute black and white pattern, but couldn’t quite find what I was looking for.  I ended up with a pattern that was way too small for the size of the headboard.

I lived with it for a couple months, but then it was time for something new.  My first mission was to get the wonderful hubby to cut my board into a much cuter shape.  He then had to drill holes so I could string my buttons through.  I measured out all the holes first, he drilled second.  Now you could technically drill as many holes as you want and have lots and lots of buttons.  I, however, am cheap and buttons aren’t.  So I went with as few buttons as possible to still make it look good, which ended up being 24.  We drilled the holes quite small, but if I were to do this project again I would definitely drill bigger holes.  Otherwise they are really hard to find through all the batting and foam with your needle.  I don’t know the exact size, just make sure they are smaller than the buttons and you should be good. 

After the plywood was all prepped, it was time to add the foam.  I went with a 2-inch foam from Jo-Ann’s.  They always have sales and I was able to get it for 50% off at the time.  I would NEVER suggest paying full price for foam since it is about $30 for a yard of 2-inch foam.  I didn’t do any price comparing with other stores, so I have no idea if this is a good deal or not, but I do know that you have to wait for it to be 50% off, because it happens.  Just make sure to buy enough to cover the width of your mattress!

I used a spray adhesive to glue the foam onto the board.  It worked surprisingly well and the foam did not fall off.  I wasn’t too concerned since I planned on stapling batting over the foam anyway.  I know the correct way to cut foam is with an electric knife, but unfortunately that was not one of the items on my wedding registry so I do not own one.  I used a bread knife instead.  It was messy, but it worked!  Once all my foam was glued on it was time to cut the holes out.  Now I’m sure there are some really great ways of doing this, but I do not know any so I made one up.  I started by poking a screw through the back of the board until it came out the foam on the front side.  Once again, this is a good reason to drill a bigger hole in the first place so maybe you will be able to find a better tool to stick through!  The screw made a little mark where I needed to make my hole.  You will want to make the hole a little larger than the button so the button will be able to rest inside nicely.  Sometimes, you really have to get crafty when doing your own projects, and that is exactly what I did to cut out the button holes.  I didn’t want to spend any money on a tool I would only use once, so I searched my house and came across my pineapple cutter.  It works great for cutting pineapple into perfect little slices, so I tried it out on the foam.  It happened to be the perfect size.  All I did was twist it in the foam and it cut out a nice little chunk that I was easily able to pull out with my fingers.  You just have to find whatever works!

After cutting out all the holes for the buttons, I was excited to finish my headboard.  Unfortunately, I had bought all the supplies except the buttons.  Oh well, that can be my last step, right?  WRONG!!  After stapling on all the batting and fabric, I realized that it is impossible to make deep tufts on fabric that is pulled tight.  Lesson learned.

So now here is how to do it the right way…

First I had to make the buttons.  It is actually really easy once you cut out all your fabric to just pop the buttons together.  The instructions on the package are very helpful and the hubby even enjoyed making one J.  

Now lay the batting then the fabric over the front of the headboard.  I think it would have really helped to prop the board up with some sawhorses or something, but I was home alone and there was no way I was moving that headboard anywhere by myself (even though it was about 95 degrees in our bedroom at the time WITH the air conditioning turned on).  So I propped the headboard against the wall and just moved it back and forth throughout the process.  I used a really large needle and some heavy duty string (but later found out that small ribbon actually worked better and was easier to staple on).  I started from the back with the ribbon threaded through the needle.  I stuck the needle through the tiny hole and came out the front to thread the ribbon through the button.  Then I went back through the hole (and tried to find it back since the ones we drilled were so small) and used the staple gun to secure the two ends of the ribbon.  The staple gun did not hold the ribbon tight enough, so I pounded on the staple with a hammer a few times and it worked like a charm.  One important thing to remember is the more batting, the deeper the tufts.  Batting is not very expensive (about $6 per yard) and you need to have it if you want tufts.  I found that when pulling the buttons tight, the tufts tend to form on their own.  I played with the fabric a little, but not much to make the diamond shape between buttons.

Twenty-three buttons later, it was time to staple on the fabric and the batting.  At this point I was able to finally pull everything tight.  Once it is all assembled, it is time to decide how to mount the headboard.  It can be hung on the wall or set on legs to make it higher.  I did not want it to be very high since it will be sitting in front of a window, so I just set the whole thing on the floor and it works great.

It took A LOT of time to make it, but I absolutely love how it turned out!  Plus, it is so comfortable to lean against at night.

Have a blessed day!

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