Monday, August 12, 2013

DIY Tufted Headboard

Living on Okinawa, in general our options for furniture that we like and is reasonably priced is fairly limited. This was not any different when it came to us deciding to get a headboard. When we first got married we relied heavily on hand-me-downs from coworkers, friends, and family which was a huge gift for two broke barely-adults. Over the years we slowly passed along our hand-me-downs to others and opted to invest in specific pieces that we knew we could get decades long usage out of. We had yet to get a headboard since we did not really need one until we moved into our Okinawa house. It's an almost typical Japanese home with of course awkwardly placed windows. The bed rested against a wall with a huge window which lead to many occasions where our temporary curtains would fall onto us after getting caught under a pillow. 

Finding nothing that was not outrageously priced, we (read: I) decided to make a headboard (read: that Madison and my dad needed to make me a headboard). The headboard was going to have a crown molding frame which had to be handmade since crown molding is difficult to find out here and a fabric center. The project was halfway complete before it stalled and just never got completed--thanks guys. 

In 2012, I ended up back in San Diego and made my way to all the essential craft stores including hitting up the clearance racks at the fabric store, where I stumbled upon the most gorgeous micro chevron taupe fabric. It. Was. Perfect. I overly ambitiously bought up the remaining 3 yards. Cheesy as it is, the fabric is what inspired me. My mind was set, I was going to make a tufted headboard.

*This headboard is intended to be attached to an already existing metal bed frame.


- Plywood OR Pegboard
- Two 1.5 x 4 at least 33 inches long
- DIY Button making kits
- 3 yards of fabric 
- Batting and/or foam at least 10 inches wider and longer than your plywood
- Extra long, wide eye threading needle
- Extra thick (multi-thread) string
- 8 2-inch screws
- 4 4-inch bolts with
- Staple Gun
- Electric Drill
- Extra set of hands. 

Although it's possible to do this project alone it is a lot easier when you have a buddy holding down the fabric or helping string the buttons through. 

Follow the instructions on the buttons kits which you can get at any craft store or the 100 yen store. Make your buttons out of the main fabric. Simple enough.

When we made this, we could not find pegboard, not for as cheap as plywood was out here. In any case mark where you intend on placing your buttons so you know exactly how many buttons to make. Dixie insisted she be in this photo.
Drill holes into your plywood where you'll string your buttons. We opted to make two holes per button can't say whether it matters much but we definitely have not had an issue with buttons popping off or loosening and ripping through the batting and fabric.

The the width, length, and height of the headboard is entirely based on personal preference. Our headboard sticks out wider than the bed by about an inch on each side.

At this point do not forget to drill holes where you intend to attach your legs. To make sure that the board stays secure to the legs we opted to use four screws in each leg.

Cover one side with batting/foam. We had an old foam mattress pad that we had been saving to make a dog bed and used it for this as well. the foam/batting has to wrap around the edges and sides. If you want extra cushion, double up the center but do not double on the edges otherwise it might get too thick to staple through. Carefully pull your fabric taught enough that it gets rid of the wrinkles in the fabric but not to the point where the fabric has no give. Staple away! Once complete trim the extra fabric.

The hardest part in my opinion was the threading of the buttons. The fabric I chose was upholstery fabric with a thin layer of batting on the bottom side so it was very thick and it was extremely difficult to thread the needle through all the padding and the fabric. This is where an extra set of hands comes in very handy because on person can sit on one side of the board and the other can sit on the opposite side and you can thread the needle to each other. Tighten the string just tight enough to create a tuft but not to the point where there isn't some give.

Mark where your bolts should go and test that the bolts and leg will attach to your existing bed frame. Use scrap fabric to cover the bottom of the foot to protect your floors. If the legs attach to the frame without issue, take them off and screw them into the plywood and then attach the headboard to the bed frame.

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