- How wide and how tall do you want your headboard?
- How thick do you want your foam?
- Do you want arms/sides?
- How will your headboard stand up? (attach to wall/attach to bed frame/freestanding?)
- Tufting or no tufting?
- Any decorative trim?
- What kind of fabric do we want to use?
- We determined this based on 1) the size of our bed – since we have a Cal King we needed to make sure that it was wide enough with the arms and tall enough to give a good balance to the length of the bed (Cal King are longer than regular King beds); and 2) the size of our foam (how wide did 3″ foam come?)
- I wanted to use 3″ foam because I really loved the look of the deep tufting. We ordered 3″ x 40″ x 72″ foam from Amazon for about $50 (shipping was free when we ordered) and it was the best deal we could find at the time. Foam is expensive!
- I definitely wanted arms since I loved the headboard we had just made with arms.
- We decided to have it freestanding with the arms as the main support. This required making sure the arm boards would be hefty enough to support the weight.
- Tufting. Always tufting.
- Since we just did a nail head trim on the other headboard, I wanted to hold off on the trim for now. I can always add it later, but I want to let it sink in and make sure it wouldn’t be too much with the deep tufting.
- I decided on a Teal Microsuede from Online Fabric Store for a couple of reasons. 1) I wanted a velvety look and this was the best choice for upholstery that I could find. 2) The price was right at $9.75/yard (I ordered 5 yards). 3) Teal. Duh.
- 1x4s (3-4 @ 8ft)
- 1 sheet of pegboard or garage liner (as long as it has the holes – such a time saver for tufting!)
- Broom (to cut out the holes in the foam – trust me)
- 1×6 (2 @ 8ft)
- 2×6 (2 @ 8ft)
- Fabric (5 yards)
- Upholstery weight thread
- Button kit (5/8″)
- Large upholstery needle
- Random supplies like spatulas and old buttons (we’ll get to it later…)
- Staple gun (we have the manual, nothing fancy)
- A DIY partner (this is not a one person job)
STEP 4: PREPARE THE FOAM
Next we got the foam prepared for the tufting. Since the foam was so deep, we needed to cut out the holes where we wanted the tufting so we could get a nice deep tuft. To make sure the holes in the foam lined up with the holes on the pegboard we circled with a sharpie the holes on the pegboard. Let me tell you, the pegboard makes it SO EASY to map out the holes. The hard part was determining how far apart to make the tufting, how many rows of buttons we wanted and how many buttons per row we wanted. From there we just counted every 8 holes across on one row (the pegboard holes were about 1 inch apart) and then started four holes over on the next row and continued to keep the spacing 8 holes apart. This created the diamond pattern. From there we held up the foam where we wanted it to be placed and took the sharpie through the holes to mark on the foam. Does that make sense? Hopefully some pics will help… 🙂
On to the cutting… I started out using a knife, but after reading this post yet again, I went to the laundry room to hunt down my broom. Sure enough the end handle popped off to leave a nice hollow metal tube – the perfect size I needed for the tufting holes. THIS WAS SUCH A TIME SAVER! Genius! I flew through the holes after getting a hold of the broom. Hallelujah. Then we attached the foam to the frame with spray adhesive.
STEP 5: TUFTING
We started out with the middle row in order to make sure we had enough fabric to reach around the top and the bottom. We worked from there row by row up to the top and then down to the bottom. The very hardest thing about this entire project was the first tuft. Ohmygoodness. Zach and I went around and around on this and may have gotten in a mini fight about it. Ha! It was very frustrating figuring out how to do that first tuft – how to attach it to the back of the pegboard and how to string the thread and button through. I’m going to attempt to explain it, so bear with me!
We threaded the needle and kept it double weight through the button (left, below). Next, we took the end and threaded both pieces of the end back through the needle (right, below). We left about 2 inches on the ends to fold over. This made our thread four layers thick and gave our upholstery weight thread even stronger.
This was probably the hardest part of the whole tufting experience – figuring out how to start. We probably spent at least an hour
fighting discussing how we should start and what the best process to get the tufting done might be. We went around and around in circles and finally came up with a plan. We ended up starting with the middle row, middle button and worked our way out each side of the row from there.
From there, we worked each row up and then each row down. Out strategy was to use a rubber spatula (the end handle) to push down the fabric, making sure the fabric folded the way we wanted as we went (it mostly folds itself in the right direction, but does need some help along the way). After pushing the fabric down into the pre-cut foam holes, we pulled the threaded needle through from the front of the headboard to the back. Once the needle was through the back, we threaded it through an old button to get it to stick. This part was tricky – I ended up using the spatula again to push down the upholstered button from the front, then Zach tied off the button on the back. The key is not to pull too tight so the upholstered button wouldn’t cut through the fabric or pull the fabric too tight.
On the edges, we created lines with the fabric straight down and out and pulled tight to finish up the look.
STEP 6: ATTACHING THE ARMS
Nope, we aren’t done yet… 🙂 Hang with me! First, we figured out how tall we wanted the arms. The arms are the main support for the whole headboard, so they also needed to be strong. Zach attached a 1×6 and a 2×6 with some heavy duty screws. We lay out the fabric right-side-down and then put the wood arm on top. Here’s where it gets tricky… stay with me! We pre-drill holes for the heavy duty screws. We wanted to make sure that the screws would be going from the outside of the arm towards the inside, getting drilled into the tufted headboard. We drilled in the screws so they are deep enough without poking through the arm.
Next, we pulled the fabric tight and lined it up along the back of the arm first. Before wrapping the fabric around the entire arm, we screwed the arm into the main headboard. From there we just wrapped the arm and stapled the fabric to the back after doing some strategic folds on the top and bottom of the arm to make it look nice.
We cut off the excess fabric and we were done (finally)! It turned out great and I couldn’t be happier with the result! We achieved the look of a high end diamond tufted headboard for a fraction of the cost. I think in total, the project cost about $200-250. Not bad compared to other options that retail for $1,000+!