Monday, April 23, 2012

How to Make a Tufted Headboard

Posted by Melissa Baumgart
As many of you know, I have been in the process of making a tufted headboard (or as my family calls it, our "hotel" bed.)  I found my inspiration from the website I posted before, and of course, adapted my way with many other tips from many internet sources.  I will walk you through my process, sparing you the sprinkling of curse words that accompanied the journey.  I'll let you know what to buy, what not to buy, how much it all cost me, what I did, and what I would do differently if I had to do it again.  I hope you enjoy, and if you take this project on yourself, please contact me for support; both technically and emotionally speaking.  You'll likely need it.

Materials for a king size tufted headboard:

Purchasing Tips and Cost:
  • I purchased the pegboard, spray adhesive and a new measuring tape at Home Depot. They will cut the board to your specific measurements, for free.  ($31)
  • I purchased the foam from Jo-Ann Fabric's.  I used a 40% off coupon because foam is very expensive.  I also bought the linen fabric I chose, the batting, the button kit and refills, the needles and the thread. Jo-Ann's always has lots of coupons and sales, I recommend not paying full price for much when shopping there.  ($122)
  • After I started the project, I had to go out and buy the staple gun, also at Home Depot.  So, if you don't have it already, just get it on the first trip. And don't forget the staples. ($33)


Mark your button spots on the pegboard.  This took some time to figure out.  I chose to use 35 buttons; 2 rows of 7, and 2 rows of 8.  You need to figure out a pattern of how many spots on the pegboard your buttons will be apart and then mark them with a circle around that hole.  Here is a photo of my plans I drew up for this part:
Notice, that although the pegboard is 40" tall, the foam is only 24",
so mark it using the measurements of the foam.  The bottom
portion of the pegboard is there so it can have continuity below
where your bed hits it.
Make the buttons.  It's fun and you quickly feel accomplished.  The directions on the box are very simple and easy to follow.  A couple times, I had to re-do one because my fabric was not centered, but still, it was easy enough.  I made 35 buttons.  

Mark and cut the button spots on the foam.  Align the foam with the top of the pegboard and simply mark a spot with a Sharpie through the holes in the pegboard.  Next, with a paring knife or utility knife, cut 1/2" wide hole in the foam so you can find the spots under the fabric when you are tufting.  I didn't cut my holes wide enough because I thought the buttons would disappear inside of them, but it turns out, a little wider is better.  Finding the spots once the fabric and batting is placed on top of the foam turned out to be one of the most difficult parts by the end of the project.

Adhere the foam to the pegboard.  In a well ventilated area, spray the pegboard on the area where the foam will be attached with the foam adhesive.  This will be about the top 2/3s (top 80" x 24") of the board.  Once that is completely covered, carefully place the foam on top, making sure it is flush with the board on all sides.  

Lay down your batting and fabric and start TUFTING!  Use a couple clips or clothespins to keep the fabric on place on each side.  Start in the middle and after getting your button and needle tied firmly to the thread, find your first hole and thread it through.  This can be a very difficult part of the process, at times it seems like you will never find the hole in the pegboard behind all that foam.  But you will, keep working through the pain that your thumbs will surely be in, after all that point the needle into pegboard.  And eventually you will see the needle coming through the other side.  When it does, rejoice, and then quickly get to stapling.

You need two people for this part.  This part is NOT DIY, you need help.    I used a couple chairs to prop the headboard up against and then as I leaned into the front of the headboard while pushing the button in as deep as I could, the other person behind the headboard pushed with all their might into the staple gun and did their best to get it in.  Sometimes it worked, lots of times it didn't.  Keep going.  

(*Or better yet, just use a piece of ply wood and take the time to drill the holes.  That is one thing I would do differently.  This is a BIG piece of advise that I would really suggest you follow.  Staples into pegboard is really difficult.  And by the end, the pegboard was bending and hard to work with, it even cracked at one point.  Scary, when you are at the very end, and really DO NOT want to do the whole thing again.*) 

Then do this tufting over and over and over again.  35 times.  Remember to rejoice each time, for it is quite an accomplishment.  And remember, this is DIY, not Restoration Hardware, each tuft might not be exactly the same depth.  I didn't get enough fabric (but the length I suggested to you in the materials will be enough), so mine really suffered in this department. By the end, on the outsides, the tufts really could not go in very deep because I was running out of fabric.

Staple the fabric around the top and sides and bottom.  Lay the headboard face-down on the floor and staple the fabric over the back side of the pegboard.  The tighter you do all the tufting and stapling, and if you don't have enough fabric for leeway, you run the risk of button popping off.  Yes, this indeed happened to me.  It totally sucked.  So, keep it tight and clean, but not so much so that there is no room for a little stretch.
Then flip it over, and staple along the bottom of the foam, so that it looks finished on the front.  This was the easiest part.

Take a moment to really admire and appreciate what you have done.  You tufted an entire headboard!

Find the studs on your wall, measure carefully and attach the D-rings to the back of your headboard.  You need to make sure where you place the D-rings on the headboard is going to match the spots where it is best to hang something on your wall.  So, find some studs (I borrowed Amy's stud finder) and the after measuring use some hard-core arm power and screw the D-rings into the pegboard.  Next use some anchors and screws, and place the screws into you wall.

Hang your beautiful headboard!  and push your bed up against it.  I need to get some kind of adhesive to get the part of my headboard that is near the door of my room to be flush with the wall so you don't see the crappy, ugly back of the headboard.  Or, I have thought about attaching a narrow piece of painted plywood to the outer part of the headboard, to frame it, and thereby keeping it sturdy and flush to the wall.  The D-rings do not allow for the headboard to hang flush as is.  

I think it even looks good, all messy,
with a little one sleeping soundly.
And now, enjoy that you did this!  Don't worry about the tiny imperfections (one of my buttons has already come loose two days into being on the wall!), remember, this was not made in a factory and this might be the very first time you have done something like this.  And, if you are like me, you might very well HATE crafting.  So, please, allow yourself to be happy with the finished product, even though it is not perfect.  Life is not perfect.  Humans are not perfect.  Life is messy, so why can't we allow for a little bit of that in our surroundings as well?  Sometimes I wonder if we are obsessed with external perfection because we know we can never achieve internal perfection.

All that, and a headboard too.


Mwilliams said...

It turned out great! DIY projects aren't always cheaper or the most fun. But there is much pride to take after going through the journey and seeing the accomplished end product! Congrats

Melissa Baumgart said...

Thanks, M!! I love it! (now that it's finished) :)
And, it turns out it was a lot cheaper than buying a headboard would be. In Restoration Hardware there isn't one for under $2000!
Thanks for reading!

laurac said...

Dang girl!

Melissa Baumgart said...

Thanks, Laura!!!

Cassandra said...

I think it looks awesome!! Great job sticking with it through all the pain. It looks like the end product was worth it!

Melissa Baumgart said...

Thanks, Cassandra! Nice to see you back! I guess it was worth it, I even just told someone I would help them make one! Oh my, what am I getting myself into?

Cassandra said...

It's always easiest the second time, right? ;)

Chasity said...

I CAN NOT get the staples to go into the pegboard? How did you do it?

Melissa Baumgart said...

I KNOW! That part was so hard!!! I had to have help for sure, and at some point, got my husband to do the staple gun part of it. You need to have someone hold the pegboard very steady and then REALLY push very hard with the staple gun and just keep trying. I went through so many staples.
Good Luck and let me know how it goes!
You can post a picture at our FB page if you want

Bvrlypauge said...

I haven't made this yet, but wanted to say that the warm,
open way you so throughly describe everything needed to actu
ally complete the headboard along with your cozy,
open writing style makes this craft seem achievable
& interesting!
The overall best part of your description though,
is your cheerful positivity.
My 80+yr old Mom and I are going to
make it together!
You are very encouraging of each crafter,
letting the reader know
that you are just sure she or he can do it,
that you know they can make this!
It does matter very much, how just
about anything is presented! Thank you ��