Thursday, 31 January 2013

DIY Upholstered Headboard Tutorial

As promised here is my how to for the upholstered headboard I made this week! 

Building Materials & Tools:
old headboard
foam mattress topper (I used a twin, measure your headboard and get the appropraite size you need)
electric knife or bread knife
spray adhesive
fabric of your choice (just make sure it is heavy enough for upholstery)
staple gun and staples
nail head trim (the ones I got from the hardware store were called upholstery tacks)
strip of duct tape

flush mount wall hangers
cordless drill
measuring tape

Step 1:

Lay your headboard down front side up and lay your foam on top.  I used my bread knife (but I've heard electric knifes work well too) to cut out the shape of the headboard, following along the edge.
I wanted nailhead trim which can be difficult to nail in through foam (if it's too thick you won't even be able to get them to stay in) and my headboard has a nice rounded, thick edge that I knew would look fine without the foam, so I actually cut my foam a few inches smaller than the headboard.

You could also trace the headboard and cut it out along your trace line.  You might end up with more even edges than I did.  (I'm tend to be a bit of a short cuts person when I do projects for myelf) 
Step 2:
My headboard had depressed areas.  To level it out I filled in those areas with the scraps of foam I had left over.
Once they were filled in I used spray adhesive to attach the large piece directly to the headboard, which also did the job of  keeping the "filler" pieces in place.  I just sprayed it on the wood and laid the foam on top, then pressed the foam down firmly and let it dry for a few minutes.

Step 3:

Once the foam was dried enough I knew it wouldn't fall off I laid out the material, pattern side down, on the floor and laid the headboard, foam side down, on top of it.  Make sure the fabric is as smooth as possible under the headboard.

My fabric had a pattern so I had to center the headboard on the fabric both side to side and top to bottom so in the end the pattern would be even.   If you had solid material all you should have to worry about is having enough material on each side that you can pull it around to the back and staple it down.
(centered on the fabric)
Once it's where you want it you can start cutting.  If you wanted you could measure it all out and draw an outline and cut along that but as long as you make sure you're leaving yourself with plenty to pull around and staple down you can just eyeball it.  It doesn't have to be perfect!

Step 4:

Next get out your stapler (heavy duty, not just your paper stapler :D in case you're new to the upholstery thing) and starting in the middle of the top pull your fabric over and pull it snug before you staple it down.  Next go the the middle of the bottom and pulling the fabric as tight as possible do the same.  The key to a professional look is pulling your fabric as tight as possible before stapling it down, so you need the staple on the bottom to hold the fabric in place and give you something to pull against. 

Working from the center of the top work your way to the outside pulling firmly and stapling every two or three inches (or even less along curved areas) to help keep it as flat and snug as possible.  Around curves and dips there were times where I had to cut small v's into the edge of the material to get around them.
Because of the shape of my headboard I went from the center all the way down to the bottom corner on one side then from the center down to the other.  Last I did the bottom workng from the center out.

Again, I stress, make sure you are pulling the material as snug as possible every time before you staple it down.  It gets to be hard on the arms but worth it!

Lift it up and check out your handiwork so far!
Step 5:
I only had access to a few boxes of nail head trim so I ended up having to space mine out to make it all the way around the edge.  That meant I had to measure betweent the tacks as well as from the edge, to make sure they were evenly spaced and followed the edge evenly too.  If you had more than I did you could do them side by side the whole way around. 
Since I was spacing mine I started in the middle of the top and worked my way out so they would be centered.  They say to use a rubber mallet to protect the nails finish but I heard they were really difficult to do with a rubber mallet and sticking a piece of duct tape on your hammer head would help protect the finish but would be easier to work with.  I thought it worked well.
The back of the package had a little measuring tape on it that ended up being handy.  Nailhead trim can be a little hard to keep straight when eye balling so just use a ruler or by a nailhead setting tool if you can find one.  You can also buy strips where there are faux nailheads and only every fifth one is a real nailhead.  I've never tried it and I'm not sure what it would be like for going around curves but would probably save a lot of work on straight edges.


Step 6:

I'm going to admit now that I have not yet done this step, lol!  My local hardare store didn't have the flushmount hardware I needed and I haven't had a chance to get to a Home Depot and get one.  This is what they look like.

One gets screwed to your headboard and the other to the wall (into a stud if possible).  They fit into one another so your headboard can hang on the wall without leaving a big gap behind it.  Besides a bit of measuring, I don't think this will be a difficult step but I'll update you when I've done it.

Headboard - $20
Foam - $15
Fabric - $22
Nailhead trim - $6
Total - $63

I already had everything else I needed (except I still need to buy the mounting hardware but I think I've read they're about $8, I'll update when I have them)

Far less expensive than any of the other upholstered headboards I've seen, starting around the $150 -$200 area, and only took about 3 hours!

Hope this inspires you to do your own!

Need some help making your bedroom a restful escape?  I'd love to hear from you!

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