It all started when my mom said “I’ll buy you that sewing machine you’ve been wanting if you make me a tufted headboard like yours”. I agreed. I must be crazy because I really got the short end of the stick on this deal, but I’m always up for a new project and she’s my mommy bird. I had to.
Here’s how it turned out!
Here’s how my headboard turned out… her inspiration (our room isn’t decorated yet, so no judging)…
My headboard is about 12″ taller and has nailhead trim. She doesn’t really like nailhead trim so we left it off hers… less work for me so I didn’t complain about it. I didn’t have enough photos of the process of making our own headboard since it was B.W. (before Waffle) so I held out for my mom’s headboard. The steps were the same (except for the nailhead trim.)
Basic measurements and supplies for my mom’s headboard:
- quilt batting
- foam (we used convoluted mattress pads layered up)
- hardware for “hanging” the headboard (if you make the wings, it won’t actually be hanging. The wings will be supporting the weight but the hardware will just secure it to the wall.)
- (4) 5-6″ L-brackets
- stainless steel T-square
- utility knife
- pneumatic stapler and staples
- hot glue gun
- 3/4″ plywood for the headboard back and the wings
- 2″ x 2″ x 1/4″ wood for the “caps” (you’ll need one per button)
- wire clothes hanger
- button cover kits
- embroidery floss
- upholstery needles (around 5″ long)
Under $175!!! Take that $2,545 + $125 shipping, king-size Restoration Hardware headboard!
Build the Wings (2.25″ x 7″ x 54″):
Build the headboard back (76.5″ x 28″):
- Trim the wood
- Measure for the button placement
- Drill holes where the buttons will go
Make the Buttons:
We used a couple Dritz button cover kits and made 29 buttons. (The kit explains how to make them.)
Yay a button! (Ps, this is my sister, Lindsay.)
They’re so cute you could eat them. But don’t!
Next, we laid the foam in place. We used foam mattress toppers from Walmart and layered them. (Foam is expensive!) We had to temporarily tape it down so the layers didn’t shimmy out of place.
Then we flipped the board over and used a wire hanger to poke through the button holes in the wood to pierce the foam. When you do this, mark the hole with a sharpie before pulling the hanger out. The hole will be so small that you won’t be able to see it otherwise.
Then we traced the button size around each hole that we pierced into the foam. Then we removed the foam all the way down to the wood in those little spots so the buttons had a space to nest into when we start tufting.
This photo shows me working, and Lindsay pretending to work. The tape measure was totally unnecessary in this step. Thanks for your help, Linds…
I can’t begin to tell you how staticy the foam was. I’d put it in the trash and it would literally bounce back out and stick to me again as if I was placing the wrong sides of magnets together. We should have taken a video because we were in tears laughing about it.
Then we set the board up on two chairs, one on each end to hold the headboard up off the ground enough for us to crawl under it. We removed the tape, layered one piece of batting over the foam, and then the fabric on top. We left about a 18″ of extra fabric and batting on each side of the wood so that we had enough slack to do the tufting and to wrap the edges when we were done tufting.
We strung the buttons using embroidery floss (doubled up), and using a decorator’s needle (or upholstery needle about 5″ long) we searched for the button holes in the foam and the wood pulling the thread through to the back side.
Then we used small pieces of wood about 2″ x 2″ (which we called “caps”) to hold the button strings in place. I pushed the button down from the top side, while the Lindsay pulled the string taught from below and glued the cap over the hole in the wood securing the string in place.
I made sure that the fabric was pleated in a diamond pattern as each button was secured in place. Be sure that your fabric is kept square with the wood throughout this whole process. It’s very easy to shift the fabric, which could leave you with too little fabric to wrap around the edges when you’re all done.
After all the buttons were securely in place, I wrapped the edges of the fabric around to the back and stapled it in place with a pneumatic stapler. I made sure to follow along with the pleating as we did with the tufting.
We added those long pieces of wood on the back because we had planned to use french cleats to attach the headboard to the wall, but had we screwed the hardware straight to the back of the headboard, the depth of the wooden “caps” would have prevented the cleats from connecting with each other. Buuutttt…. we ended up having to use different hardware because of the awkward installation process. My mom’s wall is shorter because of a slanted ceiling/wall so we weren’t able to pick up the headboard and slide it into place like we did for my headboard at home.
Attach the L-Brackets:
Travis chiseled out a space in the wings for the L-brackets to sit flush in. If you don’t do this part, the brackets will show through the fabric as lumps… and we don’t want lumps.
Cover the Wings:
I layered two pieces of batting and then the fabric, then I flipped it over (fabric on the bottom). Make sure the fabric and batting extends past the wings enough so that the ends can fold up and be stapled on the back (the topside in the photo below).
I pulled the fabric tight as I wrapped it around the wings so the edges would have a pronounced square shape. I also cut out notches in the fabric for the L-brackets.
Attach the wings:
This is my brother, Chris by the way…
We actually didn’t attach it to the wall yet because my mom is going to be repainting her bedroom this week. We redecorated her bedroom this weekend and the yellow just isn’t working anymore. I’m guessing we’ll go with a light brownish color. Once it’s painted, I’ll update the post with the results.
See the slanted walls I mentioned earlier… tricky tricky with the hardware.
Confessions of a DIY tufter:
Let me be honest with your for a hot second. The difficulty level of this project may not be for everyone. I’d call it a 7 or an 8 on the “waffle scale”. My sister is not a DIYer and she complained… A LOT. The tufting and pleating was a big pain in the butt. Our fingers and backs were sore and our patience was gone after who knows how long. It gets easier once you get the hang of it, but it’s tricky. This was my third tufted headboard attempt and I’ve learned a lot, but most of it was practice. Our first attempt was easy because it was a queen-size headboard without wings. Then our current bedroom headboard at the top of the post was trickier because it had wings and it was longer and taller. We tufted the whole thing and we didn’t have enough fabric left over to wrap it around to the back and staple so we had to redo it!!! Trav nearly had a cow. But the second go around of tufting went much faster and it looked nicer too. So my mom’s headboard went much smoother. Practice makes perfect and this is really one of those kinds of projects.
Ok, so that wasn’t quite a “hot second”, but I had to get that off my chest. So… I hope you still give this project a shot, but don’t give up. You can do it. I believe in you😉