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Tufted Headboard

This is one of those projects that has been in the planning stages for. eh. ver. Two years ago after I reupholstered my sofas, I decided that this would be my next BIG project. But I needed some time to recover from the Great Upholstering of 2014. Last summer, I set out trying to find fabric. I knew exactly what I wanted--which actually makes it harder to shop--and I wasn't finding it. Finally a few weeks ago, I saw a fabric on eBay that looked right (in the photos...yikes). I crossed my fingers and clicked the "buy now" button. And, lo, when it arrived, It. Was. Beautiful!

Hello Gorgeous!

Mid-grey, silvery velvet with a lot of play from the light. I loved it. I was obsessed with it. It was perfect. I was terrified to cut it.

I was working loosely off of this tutorial, but I like to aggregate information about projects like this so there were quite a few DIY blogs I consulted. Weirdly, none of them listed what size buttons they used. Curse word!

I stood in the button aisle at JoAnn for a very long time before deciding on 7/8" buttons. (In my heart I wanted 1" but that's not a thing. It was either 7/8 or 1 1/4. This was a hard decision, you guys!) But 7/8" was the choice. Hear that, other headboard-makers? Seven-eighths! Some blogs did suggest having an upholstery shop make the buttons rather than using a button kit but I just put glue inside my button kit buttons and hoped for the best.

I calculated 36 buttons, but just made all the buttons from the 3 kits that I bought, which is 42 buttons total. Now I have some extras, just in case. Plus, I totally got in the button making zone.

This bowl is weirdly satisfying to put your hand into

Then I ordered the foam. It turns out that it's actually cheaper to buy a twin size mattress pad of 3" thick foam than just a piece of by-the-yard foam, so that's what I got. Plus enough batting the cover the whole thing. I cut the foam down to 60" wide using a razor blade. There are neater ways to do this probably, but once it's done, you'll never see this foam again, so it's fine.

I've gone back and forth about exactly how tall the headboard should be. But once the foam was cut to width, I realized I could just stick it above my bed and really visualize how high it would be. So I tossed it up on the bed and then cut a few more inches off the top.

Then I went to Lowe's and got some plywood cut to the size of the foam piece. I drew a grid on the back with sharpie--lines 5" apart and then marked the button placement. I drilled holes in the ply at each button mark.

Then I put the foam on the front of the plywood--I used some spray adhesive around the edges to keep it in place, but I'm not sure it actually did anything. After the foam was placed, I wrapped the batting around it and stapled it to the ply. At this point, I realized the batting was a liiiiitle narrow and I had to stretch it carefully. I, of course, learned this AFTER I stretched too hard and tore one edge. Whoops.

Now it was time to start the real work. I draped the fabric over the headboard and started attaching buttons starting at the center-most button. I started each button by stapling the end of a piece of upholstery twine to the back of the ply, near the drilled hole...

...then using a long upholstery needle to thread the twine through to the front.

I pulled the upholstery needle all the way out and then stuck it back in the hole with the twine--it was a bit of a crapshoot to get it to go back through the hole in the plywood. Sometimes I got it on the first try...sometimes it took many, many more tries.

Then I put a button on the twine, threaded the needle and pulled it through to the back.

Then I pressed the button into the foam and pulled the twine taut on the back so that I could staple it into place. To finish, I put a knot in the twine to keep it from slipping through the staples.

Then I just kept working my way out from the center, adjusting the tufts as I added each button.

When the whole thing was buttoned up, I affixed it to the wall above the bed using French cleat hangers and tidied up the pillows. And now I will never leave my bed again. Bye!


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