Monday, January 28, 2013

My DIY Tufted King Headboard

Yes! I finally made my headboard!  

Last summer, the hubster and I decided to upgrade our bed. Thankfully because of a great sale, we were able to purchase a king size bed! (Which is awesome because now when the kiddo's sneak into the bed in the middle of the night, it's not so cramped in here.)  However, that meant that we had to get rid of our previous, well loved, and adorable headboard/footboard combo.  Thus began my quest for my next piece.  I decided that I would have to make a headboard once I saw how freaking expensive king size headboards are....I mean really!  I've been searching for a LONG time....if you follow me on Pinterest, you know.   

I was going to make a door headboard, but the catch is, the way my walls/windows/closets are placed, the best placement for the bed (in my opinion ofcourse) is angled in the corner. It just seemed like a wasted area behind. I don't know.  I really like the bed in the corner, but every tutorial I came across was for the headboard no matter what it is made from, to be mounted on or just simply leaned against the wall.  All is well and good, except that didn't work for me. Bummer.  And I was sick of the pillows constantly falling off the end of the bed. Time to get my own wheels going.... 

After exploring blog after blog, pin after pin, and sorting through all of the amazing ideas out there, I finally settled on making a tufted headboard.  I came across this blog (Little Green Notebook) that was highly recommended and had the clearest instructions.  

I can totally do this.  

Here's my journey: 
We were already tearing the room apart when I decided "Wait! I've got to get a before shot!" So my room doesn't always look like this! Eh....who am I kidding....
When I decided that I wanted to tuft a headboard, I needed a frame to mount it on since it's going to be in a corner.  I am always one for practical, additional storage, so I really wanted to make a trip to IKEA to buy another of this amazing shelving unit that I have for fabric storage.  It would be perfect! Except IKEA is 3 hours away and I don't have a truck.  We ended up going to Home Depot and purchasing 4 of these cubed storage units and bolting them together securely and then using several L brackets and bolts and all that to mount it securely to the bed. (In all honestly, I'm not sure how it got hooked onto the bed frame exactly since my DH did that part while I entertained the kids...that is AFTER they helped us build the cubes. Ha!) 

Okay. Now on to the really fun part!
My pictures and steps are hit and miss because I get into the zone and forget to take pictures.  Refer back to the blog I mentioned above for the missing pieces! 

I measured the bed (72" I think) and went to JoAnns and bought some:
3" thick green foam (I bought a few inches extra because I was afraid of mis-measuring), some cotton quilt batting, fabric, a long dolling needle, upholstry thread,  and a few buttons to cover.  I wanted it nice and tufted and cushy, so I wouldn't do anything less than 3" foam.  

I then sent the DH to Home Depot for staples for our staple gun and a piece of pegboard that matched the width and length of the piece of foam - and the associate there cut it just right!  

I collected my supplies for the first step:  The pegboard, the foam, a measuring tape, chalk, a sharpie, a paring knife, and some spray adhesive. 

1 - Find the center of the board and circle it with chalk. then measure out evenly to the spacing that you like.  I wanted a lot of tufting, so I did them sorta close as you can see.  
2 - Continue evenly spacing your circles out all over the pegboard visualizing where your buttons will be. 
3 - Lay your pegboard directly on top of the foam making sure it is squared up on all sides.  Then grab your marker and mark the foam at all of the circled holes and you should have marks left like pictured in picture 4

The next step is one I forgot to take pictures of and I definitely recommend bouncing over to the Little Green Notebook.  You're going to dig out the foam at the marker points to make a little hole making easier and prettier tufts.  I just kinda stuck the knife in, twisted it around, and pulled the foam out.  I realize now that I made mine a little too big because my buttons went in a lot further than what I would have preferred, but it's still really cool none-the-less. I think that if you are not doing multi-colored fabrics, but rather buttons of the same fabric as your headboard, the depth of the holes wouldn't be a big deal. I don't have a solution here. 

Once my holes were all cut out, I went outside (well, to the garage - it's a wet and cold winter in the northeast!) with the foam, pegboard, and spray adhesive and stuck my two pieces together being as sure as I could that I'm lining up the holes correctly.  (This part was the hardest for me and I have NO idea why.) 

Once it is dried according to the directions on the can, carry that puppy inside and wrap and staple down your cotton batting over top of the green foam. 

I then gathered my button making supplies and set to making all 43 covered buttons.  I actually made more since I was complicating beautifying things by making my buttons out of lots of different fabrics.  I had buttons leftover from a previous project, so thankfully I didn't have to buy a lot at JoAnns.  I recommend purchasing in bulk rather than buying small packages (that can really add up).

Finished buttons!! 

When finished, I laid out the buttons in the order that I wanted them.  I had to balance out three rows of 9 and two rows of eight buttons. It's trickier than you think! Thankfully I covered a few extra buttons just in case I needed a color that I had ran out of. 

Threading.  This was the most confusing thing for me to figure out!  Out of all the directions that I found online, there wasn't anything that told me exactly how to do it! I pieced pictures and words together and eventually figured it out.  I hope this is easier for you:

I am using Coats & Clark Upholstering thread.  It is made for this. It is heavy and sorta waxy and you need it. Don't skimp.  

1 - I used two arm lengths of thread for each button, that I folded in half and then in half again so that there would be four pieces of thread going through the button.  
2 - As hard as it was for me to remember every. single. time.... thread the button first.  
3 - Then even up the ends and thread through your big long needle.  I bought a dolling needle. It is about 5 inches long.  

This is how I had my board set up.  I used two chairs that had wide seats, and laid the board over it with the fabric centered.  It was easy for me to get over and under the board and flip it to staple and all of that - all by myself.  

No, the fabric is not centered here.  I wish it was so that I wouldn't end up having to do this ---------------------->

I was almost done with an entire row before I realized that I ran out of fabric on one end and had to take out all of the buttons I had just put in. 

Speaking of fabric, I bought 3 yards thinking that was plenty for a 72" was JUST enough.  I almost bought a lesser amount and I'm so glad that I didn't. 

But anyways....

1 - Find your first hole.  Everything I read said to start in the middle.  I had a flaw with my fabric that I had to make sure was in a certain spot of the headboard, so I started in the middle on the top row and it worked out really well.  (Also, instead of going in a straight line, I worked in diagonals, making a chevron shape all the way across the top.  Then I did the middle row, straight.  Then I did the bottom two rows in the chevron pattern same as the top.  I just felt like I could manipulate the fabric better since this linen really had no stretch at all.) I shoved my finger into the first hole, straight down to the pegboard to find the hole on the other side - giving me a better idea of what angle to aim my needle.
2 -  Manipulate the fabric in the hole, creating the diamond folds. (Granted, you can't do that on your first one, but after that, be sure the pay attention to the pull and tension of the fabric.  I had a couple that I had to take out and re-do because a button connected to them wouldn't work because I tufted too far or used too much fabric.  Not a big deal really.) 
3 - Thread your needle and button into the fingered mark and pull through tightly, but not too tightly, on the other side. 
4 - Once I had hold of the needle on the other side and the button pulled through to where I wanted it, I flipped the board up against the back of the chairs and stapled one way, then back the opposite way, then ended up making a star.  I don't know why, but I like it, and it's holding it, so it works. If it makes you feel better about not knotting it, take a hammer and gently tap the staples so they are flush with the board - I did.

And celebrate because there you have your first button!!

See how the buttons are being done in a chevron pattern? It helps with the fabric tension.
Some shots along the way...
Once I got the hang of it, I could put the buttons in in just a few minutes.  The longest part was threading the button and the needle since I could never remember to thread the button first and I'd always have to re-do it.  

Aren't they pretty?!  This picture is actually upside down.  The folds should face down so they don't catch dust and become pockets for fairies, trains, or army men.
I didn't get any photos of the process of finishing the edge.  Basically, you can either try to continue the diamond shape (which I did, and it was really tough.  I don't even have folds in some of my edge places where there should be), or you can just fold it up straight and staple it (which I think would also look really good and finished).  Then staple the heck out of it. 

I decided that since I would see the back of my headboard that I would use some scrap fabric to cover the staples, threads, and the edges of the fabric. 

With a level and some help, I mounted the tufted part of the headboard to the shelving part of the headboard with 6 L brackets - two on each edge, two in the middle.  This baby isn't going anywhere! 


I am so happy with how it turned out.  It was so much easier than I thought it would be.  It was also a lot cheaper than any headboard that I could buy in a store that would even compare to this - are there any?  

Oh yeah!  And check this out!  I have my very own 'dressing room' behind the bed!  And check out that storage!!  Since we did have to push the bed out in order to make this space behind, we opted to lose a dresser and I use this instead because this was just so much more of a better use of our space.

Thanks for looking!


  1. Oh wow, that's fantastic. I just love how you covered the buttons with different fabric, and how you've tufted it. Wonderful job! Found you on Project Inspire. I love this! Janelle

    1. Thank you, Janelle! That is so sweet! I was just looking at your blog and website and I'm definitely going to have to look some more! Your bags are so pretty and make me want to get out my sewing machine :)

  2. How tall is the headboard? i got foam from joanns and its only 24 inches wide. seems narrow and i already have my pegboard cut to 24 inches. wondering if i should get more foam and new pegboard to redo that.

    1. Well, it sorta depends on how you are mounting the headboard. Some of the tutorials I saw used a full 4' sheet of pegboard and used the bottom half of the board as a base (but my mattress is too high off the ground to do that, so I just did the width of the foam - 24"). If you are lucky enough to be able to put your bed against a wall, you can just hang your headboard from the wall so that it rests just about your mattress making it mattress height plus 24" tall. It will be really easy to hang from the wall since it is so light weight! I didn't have to make a frame with legs or anything to support mine since I used the bookcases. Here is a link to a blog where they made legs for theirs (but they just put it against the wall, so I don't see the need for the extra step since you can just hang it)

      I'm not sure I was any help! I can say that I thought it looked narrow too, but when I put it with the bed, it was actually pretty balanced.

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