Thursday, February 14, 2013

Upholstered Headboard {Tutorial}

My little sister got married recently and is busy finishing up her last year of law school, being a new wife to her sweet husband and trying to make their cozy apartment into a home. So, when she asked me to help her upholster this old, ugly headboard that she has had since college, of course I said yes (it's the kind of big sister I am). I have been wanting to upholster a headboard for my guest room for ages, but haven't worked up the nerve to tackle such a large project. I was little intimidated, truth be told.

Here's the thing: IT WAS EASY. Maybe not microwave-mac-and-cheese-easy, but definitely easier than I could have imagined. I kept waiting for the catch or for some step to trip us up. Never happened. Honestly, the hardest part of the whole thing was covering all those gosh-darn buttons (that was only part where we had the guys help).  I found this amazing tutorial over at Addicted 2 Decorating and it was seriously a God-send. We tweaked her instructions a bit for what we were doing and couldn't be happier with how everything turned out.



- Ugly headboard or piece of MDF cut to your preferred size
- 2" foam, enough to cover the headboard
- hi-loft polyester batting, enough to cover the headboard twice plus about a foot on each side (to wrap around the foam)
- spray adhesive
- Sharpie
- yard stick
- electric meat carving knife
- fabric, enough to cover the headboard plus about 12 inches on each side
- staple gun and staples
- buttons {We used 43 buttons for the queen sized headboard and used a size 3/8" button cover kit.}
- polyester drapery cord {found in the upholstery section of fabric stores}
- upholstery needle
- electric drill and 3/8" drill bit
- 1 3/8" hinge boring bit
- hammer

We started by flipping the headboard over, since the back of the headboard was smoother than the front.

 We glued the foam onto the headboard using spray adhesive. Be sure to do this in well ventilated area!

Upholstering is fun!

 Next, we got to break out the electric knife and trim off the excess foam, making the edges all even.

After trimming, we laid the headboard flat (on the tailgate of our truck) and measured the lines, which helped us determine where the buttons should go. The headboard measured 22" tall so we decided to measure down 7", 14" and 21" for the initial lines.


Next, we found the middle of all the lines and made an X (to mark the spot). Then, we measured 7" from the middle, marked it, measured 7" from that mark and so on.

Using a carpenter's square, we lined up the marks that were diagonal from each other and drew a line.

 By the end, your headboard will look like this:

Using the drill and the 3/8" drill bit, drill through the foam and the wood where the lines intersect. We found it easier to press down firmly, all the way to the wood, and then as fast as you can, drill down. If you go too slow, the foam will catch on the drill.

We decided not to put buttons on the very bottom of the headboard since it was so close to the edge.

Using the hinge boring bit, we widened the space around each hole in the foam. This is so the button will lie deeper into the foam, creating a more tufted look. Be sure to pull all the extra foam out of the hole!

At this point, we decided to cover our buttons. We simply followed the directions on the package. The only problem we encountered was the fabric. My sister had selected a really soft suede-like fabric for the headboard and it was really thick so we were having problems getting the buttons to cover. Luckily, our men stepped in and brought out a handi-clamp to help force the buttons together. A little unconventional but it worked like a charm.

After all the buttons were covered, we cut all the cording, making each piece 12" long. To attach the cording to the buttons, we started with a double knot.

Slip the cording through the button loop and tie a single knot around the double knot and pull tight.

Do this for all the buttons.

After the buttons are prepped, we laid the headboard over two sawhorses. Then we draped the two layers of polyester batting and the fabric over the foam. Make sure the amount that hangs over the edge is even all around.

Starting with the middle row and the middle button, we started the tufting process with the buttons. We found it was easy with two people. Since it was hard to tell exactly where the holes were, due to the thick batting, I would poke up through the bottom hole and my sister would feel around for it and then know where to stick the needle.

I was able to pull the needle and cord through and then pull on the cord until the button was deep enough into the fabric. Then, using the staple gun, I secured the cord using one staple. More often than not, I would have to use the hammer to make sure the staple was firmly attached.

Cutest little assistant ever!

We did all the buttons in the horizontal rows first. We had to go back and pull some of the buttons a little tighter since we were a little afraid at first to pull TOO hard.

After completing the first two rows, we went back and did the rest of the buttons, again starting in the middle and working our way out.

After we finished all the tufting, we turned the headboard over and laid it flat on the ground (on top of a blanket to protect it) and secured all the cording down using the staple gun.

We used no less than five staples per cord to make sure they were extra secure.

And then we went back and hammered all the staples in to make sure they were super extra secure.

The next step was the wrap the batting around the top of the headboard and secure it with (you guessed it!) more staples.

After that we, trimmed off the excess batting to make it easier to wrap the fabric around the top which was the next step. We stood the headboard up, leaning it on the sawhorses.We got a little carried away and forgot to take pictures of this particular step (bad blogger! bad!) but it was really very simple. We did have to create two folds over the second to the last button on the top row to take up the extra fabric but the folds actually formed themselves and we only had to staple them down.

We moved to the sides and folded the batting over, stapled it down, and then trimmed it.

You can see the fold that the second to last button formed along the top of the headboard.

We folded the fabric over, tucking the sides underneath the top fabric then stapled everything in place and trimmed the extra fabric.

Once both sides were finished, we flipped the headboard over again and laid it on the sawhorses so we could tackle the bottom. Since my sister wanted to keep the legs so she could reattach it to the frame of her bed, we cut up the batting to the bottom of the headboard.

Then, we flipped the headboard over again and stapled the batting down.

Turning the headboard over, we cut a triangle shaped piece out of the fabric.

Then we folded the fabric under...

and wrapped the sides around to the back and stapled it down.

After the bottom was all wrapped up, we laid the headboard back down on the blanket and stapled down all the edges.


And here it is, set up in my sister's house.

 We both loved how it turned out and my little sister's house is slowly turning into home. Now I can't wait to make one of my own!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, WOW! You are a much braver woman than I, and a very good sister, too! AMAZING job!! Looks professional!